• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The Opening of Hamlet is, at best, superfluous and little more than a distraction from the play. Alternatively, the opening scenes are masterfully written and central to what are the most important issues in the play. Which of these viewpoints do u agree

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

The Opening of Hamlet is, at best, superfluous and little more than a distraction from the play. Alternatively, the opening scenes are masterfully written and central to what are the most important issues in the play. Which of these viewpoints do u agree with? Discuss both in detail, suggesting what you think about the opening of Hamlet. In order to successfully answer the question we must firstly clarify the texts that will be used to make our analysis. In this case, the opening scene of Hamlet is integral to the question, so we will look into detail at the opening scene of the play. The opening of a play is generally constructed to outline the major themes existing in the play and to introduce characters. By referring to the opening as 'superfluous' we are trying to examine the usefulness of it and whether or not it is required at all. It can be suggested that the opening to Hamlet is a 'distraction' from the actual plot. By using Horatio to tell the story of "Fortinbras" and "valiant Hamlet", it is acceptable to say that Shakespeare was wasting time, as this has no actual relevance to the main story. ...read more.

Middle

The plain description of Hamlet is a signal to the audience or reader that he is attempting to assume the role in which only Fortinbras is fit to play, a structuralist may believe that this is the primary function of the opening scene. To reinforce the idea that Fortinbras is a fighter, Shakespeare uses the way in which Horatio tells the story to display Fortinbras as a vengeful war hero. An example of this is "But to recover of us by strong hand". Here, Horatio is telling us that young Fortinbras wants to take back from young Hamlet, what is meant to be his own. The use of the words "strong hand" builds on the idea that Fortinbras possesses a superior strength than that of Hamlet. Alternatively, others may view the idea of including these themes in the introduction as pointless, as they could carry the same impact later on in the play. Another purpose of the opening scene could have been the means to introduce the feeling of tension into the play. Tension is present in the script from the first line, "Who's there?" ...read more.

Conclusion

A war with the means to 'recover' what was taken from Fortinbras, is foretold in the line "So by his father lost. And this, I take it, is the main motive of our preparations". From this we can understand that they are preparing for a war, and this adds to the previous theme of tension and suspense. Alternatively, it can be suggested that Shakespeare could have introduced his sub-plot without using the opening scene to do so. This is down to the fact that the sub-plot shares the same themes as the main plot, and so could have been introduced later on in the play. In conclusion, it can be said that the entire opening scene could have been cut out from the play, without sabotaging or sacrificing the way in which the play is acted out, and without compromising the effectiveness of the major themes, such as usurpation and tension. It can also be suggested that act one scene two could have been a very appropriate opening to the play, as it carries all the same themes, with the addition of having all relevance to the main and sub-plots. ?? ?? ?? ?? Keshav Kapoor English- Hamlet Essay 1 23.09.2007 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Hamlet section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Hamlet essays

  1. Ophelia Essay

    Hamlet may be acting in the manner that he does because he is upset, angry and confused. But why does he take it out on his mother? Hamlet may have taken his anger out on his mother because he doesn't want to hurt Ophelia.

  2. Explore the ways Shakespeare creates tension in the opening two scenes

    Hamlet replies saying hes very happy "I am too much in the sun" but the audience and characters can both tell that he isn't so his mother wanting him to get over the death of his father says "cast thy nighted colour off" and that its only nature "all that lives must die."

  1. Evaluate the effectiveness of scene 1 in Hamlet, as an opening to the play

    Nonetheless, Horatio does play an important part later on in the play. He is one of Hamlet's best friends and is with Hamlet when he dies. Furthermore, he is also the character who informs Fortinbras of the story of Hamlet.

  2. Hamlet is a well-known tragedy written by William Shakespeare in the year 1600.

    This statement is backed up by the fact that she did not even wait two months to remarry with Claudius. He says also that it is because of the fact she is a woman that she has allowed this to happen: "frailty thy name is woman".

  1. Explore the ways Shakespeare creates tension in the opening two scenes of Hamlet

    Hamlet replies saying hes very happy "I am too much in the sun" but the audience and characters can both tell that he isn't so his mother wanting him to get over the death of his father says "cast thy nighted colour off" and that its only nature "all that lives must die."

  2. In the opening two scenes of the play explore how Shakespeare puts you inside ...

    This aside is very short, and although there are other characters in the scene, they are not aware of what the audience is told. These words give the audience more knowledge than characters on stage, and makes us feel like friends and confidantes.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work