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How effectively does Shakespeare introduce key themes and characters in Act 1 of hamlet?

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Introduction

How effectively does Shakespeare introduce key themes and characters in Act 1 of hamlet? The plot of the first act Hamlet's father old Hamlet has been dead a month, but Prince Hamlet's Mother Gertrude re marries to his uncle Claudius. Claudius becomes King and tries to be a father to Prince Hamlet which greatly upsets Hamlet as he is still mourning the death of his father. Ophelia the daughter of Polonius, counsellor to old King Hamlet falls in love with Prince Hamlet, however she is told by Polonius her father and her brother Laertes warn her off as they say she will never marry him as she is not a princess. During this time officers to the watch, Marcellus, Barnardo and Francisco have been watching on the battlement for any attack, but have reported to have encountered a ghost. The ghost appeared just as if he were old King Hamlet dressed in 'the very armour he had on when he th' ambitious Norway combated', 'In the same figure, like the king that's dead.' The officers to the watch urge Prince Hamlet to meet with the ghost as he does so it appears the ghost will only talk to Prince Hamlet. ...read more.

Middle

Hamlet begins to see his mother as a traitor for re marring so quickly after the death of his father and distances himself. Polonius was counsellor to the old King Hamlet and is an ordinary man with conformist values, he has two children, Ophelia his daughter, and Laertes his son. Ophelia is in love with Prince Hamlet and is quite a strong character but is controlled by the male members of her family. Laertes however, has strong aspirations of being well educated and going to university in France. It's the officers to the watch who discover the ghost of old Hamlet; they are Marcellus, Barnardo, and Francisco. Horatio hamlet's friend is a scholar and arrives on the scene to see the ghost. The theme throughout the play is most certainly revenge tragedy; within this theme there are certain traits which are evident and prominent. In revenge tragedies the avenger always dies and there is always a major event which is in this case the death of a father, husband, brother and King. The main characters in a revenge tragedy almost always end up dying, and death is a prominent theme as it is linked with tragedy in the theme. ...read more.

Conclusion

Prince Hamlet makes a comparison between his uncle and his father 'So excellent a king, that was to this Hyperion to a satyr, so loving to my mother' he also is talking about his mother's disloyalty and how his father was always loving to his mother. These key themes have helped to develop the plot and it's the combination of these themes which make it a revenge tragedy. With these themes emotions and patterns evolve, tension, upset, intrigue, falsehood and uncertainty, these all create a gripping storyline of which an audience can commit or relate emotionally with characters. In the play the revenge that takes place completes the story and in the style of revenge tragedy the avenger dies who is Prince Hamlet, and many of the main characters, nearly all. The true villain of the play Claudius dies in vain after his wife Gertrude this is justice within the play with him having killed the father of Prince Hamlet and potentially robbed him of his fathers crown, and for marrying his mother during the stages of grieving then to discover they were having an affair behind his fathers back. Hamlet the play is a perfect example of a revenge tragedy with dramatic twists, deaths - murders, love, betrayal and disloyalty. ...read more.

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