Discuss the effect of the opening scenes of the text (Act one scenes one and two) of Hamlet.

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Introduction

Discuss the effect of the opening scenes of the text (Act one scenes one and two) The opening scenes of Hamlet tell us a lot about the play. This is done through the use of language, literary devices, pace, structure and historical, social and cultural references. I will be discussing how scenes one and two of act 1 affect the audience and their preconception of the rest of play. The first scene of many Shakespeare plays sets the scene. In "Romeo and Juliet" there was a monolog that described some of the background story behind the contents of the play, and in Hamlet the first scene sets the audience up for seconds scene, were the story actually starts. This scene, instead of supplying us with a lot of background information, gives the audience narrative elements that makes us more want to read on.

Middle

This scene also shows us that the dead Kings son is Hamlet. "Let us impart what we have seen tonight Unto young Hamlet" This tells us that Hamlet at the moment should be the King. The second scene also does a lot for the setting, but also develops the plot and the characters. The King plays a major part in the second scene, and we get a big incite into his character. He opens the scene with a speech to those present at his court. It shows us that the present King was the old Kings brother, not his son. "Through yet of Hamlet our brother's death" This shows us that the Kings death is known, and Hamlet is aware of it. This now begs the question why isn't Hamlet the King.

Conclusion

The King describes her: Th' imperial jointress to this warlike state". This declares to his court that the Queens influence, is as greatly valued as the Kings advisors, she has joint power. This can draw instant comparisons with Lady Macbeth form "Macbeth". Both desire power and both hold a considerable sway over there husbands. Scene two is where are protagonist first speaks. From what he says, he still feels the loss of his father. When he refers to Hamlet as "my cousin" and my "son" (another side of an incestuous relationship), Hamlet reacts. "A little more than kin, and less than kind." This response tells the audience that Hamlet sees himself as nothing like his uncle (father in law) and this may create tension between the two later in the play. Hamlets feelings at this time are greater explored later in the scene, in his soliloquy. This also shows the audience the full extent of Hamlets 'melon collie'.

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