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How does Shakespeare set the scene in Act l Scene l of "Hamlet"?

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How does Shakespeare set the scene in Act l Scene l of "Hamlet"? In this essay I will examine and evaluate the ways in which Shakespeare sets the scene of Hamlet, in Act l Scene l. I will be exploring the different techniques used to successfully create a specific atmosphere and explain the significance of certain words and phrases used by the characters. In looking closely at the action and dialogue I hope to develop an understanding of the major themes and ideas of the drama. Shakespeare establishes an atmosphere of suspense and foreboding in Act l Scene I. The scene takes place in front of the castle at Elsinore. ...read more.


By opening the play with such a tense mood the audience is instantly drawn into the mystery of the plot, Shakespeare creates an ambience of excitement. This is enhanced when Horatio asks: "What, has this thing appear'd again tonight?" The ambiguity of the "thing" in question helps to maintain and develop the uncertainty already present. The following references to the ghost also have a degree of uncertainty and help keep us in suspense: "this dreadful sight"....."this apparition". In this first scene, we are given insight into the plot of the rest of the play. Talking about the ghost Horatio says, "This bodes some strange eruption to our state," suggesting a war may be imminent and that omens are taken seriously in their society. ...read more.


This is shown as they try to persuade him to believe of the existence of the ghost, despite Horatio's opinion that the two previous sightings may have been mere 'fantasy'. He is presented to us a trustworthy and figure and one who bases his thoughts on reason: when he sees the ghost he declares, "Before my God, I might not this believe Without the sensible and true avouch Of mine own eyes" and the theme of reality and fantasy, or the confusion between 'seemimg' and 'being' is presented to Shakespeare's audience. Horatio is shown to be noble and commanding in that he is the first to confront the ghost despite it "harrow[ing him] with fear". Undeterred he shouts: "Speak, speak! I charge thee, speak!" It is through Horatio that we are introduced to Hamlet but do not yet meet him. ...read more.

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