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Role of Symbolism in Hamlet

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Introduction

?Compare and contrast the role of symbolism in at least two plays you have studied?. 1. Role of symbolism in the play Hamlet by William Shakespeare. Hamlet is one of the greatest tragedies written by the famous English author William Shakespeare, presumably in the early 1600?s. Hamlet, who is the protagonist of the play, is nephew to the present King of Denmark and son to the former and now deceased King. He experiences different complications throughout the play that tie to the ideas of love, death and betrayal. Throughout the play, we can notice important symbols such as Yorick?s skull, Hamlet?s costume change or poison. The symbols in Hamlet are significant to the play as they have a powerful effect on the protagonist, they add more depth to the plot, and represent a certain state of mind of the characters. One of the ways that symbolism is significant to the play Hamlet, is the powerful effect that it has on the protagonist. The symbolism behind Yorick?s skull and the graveyard brought Hamlet to certain realisations that he would not have come to before. When Hamlet dug up the skull of Yorick, a court jester that meant a lot to him in his childhood, he began to reflect upon death, and everything began to have a greater meaning to him. ...read more.

Middle

Poison is another symbol that adds depth to the plot. It symbolises betrayal, corruption, revenge and death which are one of the main themes of this play. When Hamlet learns from the Ghost that ??Upon my secure hour thy uncle stole with juice of cursed hebenon in a vial, and in the porches of my ears did pour?? (I.v.61-63), we understand the powerful representation and symbolism of poison. Claudius?s need for power completely corrupted him, and prompted him to murder his own brother by pouring poison into his ear. Later on in the play, Laertes and Claudius plan on using poison once again to kill young Hamlet, but in the end the poison leads to the death of Queen Gertrude, Laertes, King Claudius and Hamlet as well. The poison is a strong representation of betrayal and coarseness that firstly symbolises the decadence of the court as nearly the whole royal family is killed by it. The word ?poison? may also be understood on another level as we can say that Polonius ?poisons? the way that Ophelia feels about Hamlet and Gertrude ?poisons? the remembrance of Old Hamlet by marrying Claudius, his murderer. The fact that Hamlet?s father was killed in the garden that Hamlet so gravely describes, and the word ?poison? may have various meanings ...read more.

Conclusion

Each of the different flowers have a symbolic meaning, and there is a reason behind why she gives certain flowers to certain people. She tries to give rosemary to an invisible Hamlet, which is a symbol for remembrance. She gives them to Laertes instead and gives him pansies as well that represent thought of love. Ophelia gives Gertrude rue which is a symbol of regret, most probably to resemble the regret she should be feeling after remarrying so quickly after Old Hamlet?s death. Queen Gertrude and Claudius also receive daisies from Ophelia, which represent deceit and lies, as both of them betrayed Old Hamlet and lied to the public. Hamlet?s costume changes and the flowers given out by Ophelia as symbols, had the role in the play of reflecting the state of mind of the characters. The symbolism presented in Hamlet has different purposes such as having a powerful effect on the protagonist, adding layers and depth to the plot, and representing a certain state of mind of the characters. Without symbolism, the play would be very shallow and wouldn?t provoke the readers to think deeper and make connections, which is usually what engages a reader to a novel or a play. Hamlet, one of the greatest tragedies of William Shakespeare, wouldn?t be as absorbing and transcendent if not for the various forms of symbolism presented. ...read more.

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