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In the opening two scenes of the play explore how Shakespeare puts you inside the mind and heart of Hamlet himself.

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Introduction

Katie Costaras 'Hamlet' In the opening two scenes of the play explore how Shakespeare puts you inside the mind and heart of Hamlet himself. The opening scenes of a play are always vitally important. They must grasp the attention of the reader, arouse interest and expectation. In Hamlet, the play's beginning is extremely effective, as there is a dramatic purpose to the first and second scene, and this will help us to explore how Shakespeare puts us inside the mind and heart of Hamlet himself. The first scene is dominated by the appearance and reappearance of a Ghost to night watchmen. We are informed that the Ghost is that of Hamlet's father, the late King of Denmark. The night watchmen ask Horatio, Hamlet's friend, to investigate the Ghost's appearance in the hope that he, as a learned man, will have an explanation for the apparition. Horatio witnesses the presence of the Ghost, and decides to relate the event to Hamlet. After the first scene, the reader expectantly awaits Horatio's encounter with Hamlet and events that may unfold in scene two. Shakespeare's effectiveness in enabling the reader to become in harmony with the mind and heart of Hamlet is achieved by the clever use of language. One method of achieving this is by the use of the "aside" and this occurs the first time Hamlet is introduced into the play. ...read more.

Middle

Hamlet's mother, in a conversation to her son, reveals her thoughts on what she feels is distressing him, but does not realise what is truly at the heart of Hamlet's bitterness. ' Do not for ever with thy vailed lids Seek for thy noble father in the dust.' Hamlet's mother thinks that his father's death is the cause of his pain and suffering. She feels that it is for this reason that he is upset, but does not realise her own part in his unhappiness. Another way in which the reader becomes involved with Hamlet's thoughts and feelings, is through his soliloquy. The soliloquy is a way of letting the reader know what a character is thinking and enables them to get inside the head of the character. In scene two, Hamlet's soliloquy communicates his disgust and loathing towards his mother. On his own, Hamlet begins to ponder over recent events, and displays his resentment and anger towards the world. The reader is not sure whether these are simply Hamlet's thoughts, or whether he is talking out loud to himself to make sense of all that has gone on. However, whether or not the soliloquy is of his thoughts or his words, it is a powerful outpouring of his emotions that allows the reader to get into the heart of what is troubling him. ...read more.

Conclusion

In response to this news, Hamlet says: 'For God's love, let me hear!' Hamlet, already of a distraught mind, becomes even more restless at the news of his father's ghostly appearance. The news of the ghost 'troubles' Hamlet, as he realises that the ghost of his father must have unfinished business, as he has not been quietly laid to rest. Hamlet throws many questions at Horatio, in order to confirm that the ghost is in fact that of his father. Hamlet is understandably deeply troubled by these events, and after much deliberation, comes to the conclusion that 'foul play' may have been involved in his father's death. In the first soliloquy, Hamlet has no suspicions relating to the circumstances of his father's death. Although he is upset at the marriage of his mother to Claudius, he is not inclined to accuse anyone of 'foul play', and does not doubt that his father's death was anything but a natural occurrence. Now we are aware that Hamlet is undergoing a transformation and we can surmise what may happen in future scenes of the play. From the opening two scenes of the play, we have clearly seen by what means Shakespeare has put us inside the mind and heart of Hamlet himself. This has been achieved by the use of an intriguing plot; imaginative language techniques of the soliloquy and the aside; characters who have related to Hamlet himself, and contributed information about him; what Hamlet says and does himself and how he relates to others throughout the scene. ...read more.

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