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

Extracts from this document...

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'.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree 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 University Degree Hamlet essays

  1. The Portrayal of Shakespeare's Hamlet in Cinema

    Technological developments came later to provide lighter more mobile equipment, but in this 1900 picture, there are more elements of stagecraft than cinematography apparent. The fact that such a widely renowned stage actress was prepared to participate in a filmed piece was a coup for the embryonic film industry and was used to publicise the cultural possibilities of cinema.

  2. Portrayal of women in 'Hamlet'

    Some productions of the play choose to merely hint at the incestuous desires in a much subtler manner. Attitudes towards women have altered dramatically since Elizabethan times. The treatment of women in 'Hamlet' may seem sexist now, but was nothing extraordinary in the 16th and 17th century.

  1. Can we write about the tragedy of Hamlet in any meaningful fashion

    experiences into the conventional patterns and idealistic roles of literary figures he has encountered in Wittenberg. His models of heaven and hell, his idea of the traditional revenge figure and villain all reflect this scholarship and thus they define Hamlet's attitude to his own situation.

  2. Examine the presentation of fathers in "Hamlet" with close reference to three key scenes.

    It is easier to understand why Hamlet reacts to him as he does. An older more principled order is being replaced by a corrupt one which must be removed if Denmark is to survive.

  1. In conclusion the attitudes towards women in the plays Hamlet, Troilus and Cressida and ...

    as critics they are not dangerous because they have no power.40 This shows the lack of power women have and their inferiority to men. Women and fools can be seen as similar because 'Both stand on the periphery of the serious world of men, assessing its wisdom from the perspective

  2. Consider the significance of the Hamlet's ghost to the play in relation to the ...

    The first act is full of references to the king's armour, which has a great impact on all those who see it; he is described as having a "martial stalk" and "portentous figure" a detail the characters seem to look upon astonished and bewildered.

  1. Contrast an Elizabethan and a modern audience's understanding of Hamlet's views".

    Gertrude is tender and motherly towards Hamlet through the entirety of the play, and her affections are often rebuked. Gertrude beckons her 'dear Hamlet' to sit beside her during 'The Mousetrap', to which he contorts 'here's metal more attractive'. This is a pun on metal meaning seat, and also 'mettle', meaning spirit.

  2. Compare and Contrast two of Hamlet's Soliloquies.

    One important change in Hamlet's character suggested by the language in these two soliloquies is the perceived (ostensible) spirituality of Hamlet. As opposed to his last soliloquy, Hamlet's first soliloquy insinuates a strong spiritual/religious conviction.

  • Over 180,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work

Marked by a teacher

This essay has been marked by one of our great teachers. You can read the full teachers notes when you download the essay.

Peer reviewed

This essay has been reviewed by one of our specialist student essay reviewing squad. Read the full review on the essay page.

Peer reviewed

This essay has been reviewed by one of our specialist student essay reviewing squad. Read the full review under the essay preview on this page.