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The ghost's speech in Hamlet

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Hamlet: Extract 3. The extract commences with the usage of a caesura which reinforces the lack of time that the ghost of Hamlet has to spare till day breaks. The ghost then begins to use an anecdote, where offstage action is brought on stage. The ghost speaks of his "custom" of sleeping in the orchard during the afternoon; the word "custom" highlights the manipulative and conniving nature of Claudius. This manipulative brother "stole" which refers to the sin of theft; this is also an attribution to the Ten Commandments listed in the bible, which quoted "Thou shall not steal". Claudius stole Hamlet's life with "cursed" hebenon, which was noted to be potent when it mixes with the blood stream, and causes the blood to curdle. The ghost of Hamlet then uses the metaphor of describing the ears as a porch which is the natural extrusion of the body. The "leperous distilment" refers to the "cursed hebenon" which curdles blood, and leperous is an apt adjective as it describes the effect of the poisonous liquid. The effect is described as "enmity" with the blood of man, as if personifying the liquid as abhorrent to human blood. Hebenon's rapid action is compared to the swiftness of quicksilver or mercury as the metaphor of "the natural gates and alleys of the body" is used to makes the comparison effective as it effectively curdles blood. ...read more.


Hamlet then uses a tall command by leaving him virtually with no choice by saying "bear it not", what he shouldn't bear is noticed to be the same view point as his son. He can't see his wife and throne as the foundations of damned incest. This again alludes to the third intent of Claudius. But to startle the audience, King Hamlet's undying love is once again brought out, telling him not to contrive against his mother, "Leave her to Heaven." This yet again shows the religious nature of Hamlet, who will only let St. Peter at the gates of heaven judge his wife, as it is no mortal's right. King Hamlet then uses the metaphor of the "thorn that in her bosom lodge" which refers to the guilt ridden state that the rosy queen will be subjugated to. The passage of time is again brought through the words of the ghost, he says "Fare thee well" since daylight must be soon approaching, by using an example of the glowworm and how it's fire is soon being burnt out as the day light is soon approaching. King Hamlet then says "Adieu, adieu, adieu" to shows the speed at which he must soon depart. ...read more.


Hamlet then condemns women, by using the adjective "pernicious", which is harsh to describe the dangerous and untrustworthy nature of his mother and women in general. Hamlet then repeats the word "villain" to reemphasize the nature of the current king; he also uses the verb smiling to describe Claudius. The smiling criminal is one that Shakespeare oft refers to most well noticed in Macbeth where he writes "There's daggers in men's smiles". This intensifies the dramatic impact, as the smiling which is associated to joy, is now being portrayed as villainous. Hamlet then uses the word "may" as to whether there is a smiling villain in Denmark; this again shows doubt as to whether the ghost is actually his father or a poltergeist trying to beguile him. This is why later on through the play, Hamlet the man of words, is slow to react. He then addresses his uncle as kin, he quotes his father "Adieu, adieu, remember me." Except this is a more malicious way of vociferating the words of his father. Hamlet has sworn to avenge his inscrutable father. This extract enacts the major twist in the play, as Hamlet finds out the truth and all further actions by characters is partly dependent on this knowledge. The extract simultaneously develops the character of King Hamlet, Claudius, young Hamlet and Gertrude, by universally explaining the fallings of man. ...read more.

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