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GCSE: Hamlet

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  • Marked by Teachers essays 11
  • Peer Reviewed essays 9
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  1. Marked by a teacher

    What is the importance of the Soliloquies in Hamlet? Do they show any development of his character?

    4 star(s)

    This is how dreadful Hamlet's psychological state is in the beginning of the play. Hamlet finds the vision of suicide tempting: 'Or that the Everlasting had not fixed his Canon 'gainst self-slaughter' Act 1-2-131/132 Here Hamlet wishes God had not disallowed suicide as he desires to commit it. I believe the audience at this stage would truly believe Hamlet is a feeble character as he is supposed to be a Prince, who are traditionally seen as brave. This could prove that Hamlet is frail but we must view Hamlet under ethical light; he is held up by Christian conscience which is why he decides against suicide as a cure for his desolation.

    • Word count: 2366
  2. Marked by a teacher

    How do Hamlet's Soliloquies reveal his Changing thoughts and Moods throughout the play?

    4 star(s)

    "O, this too too solid flesh would melt........his canon 'gainst self-slaughter." Hamlet continues to tell 'us', the audience, about how he is irritated (or you could even say maddened) with life and how purposeless everything in this world seems to be. "...weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable Seems to me all the uses of this world!" As well as how the world is corrupt. He expresses this by comparing his immediate world to a garden overrun, polluted by foul-smelling weeds. "....'tis an unweeded garden that grows to seed; things rank and gross in nature posses it merely."

    • Word count: 2737
  3. Analyse the ways in which Shakespeare uses the dramatic monologue to trace the development of Hamlets character

    This use of an extended metaphor by Shakespeare could also mean that Hamlet wishes his body was made of snow or ice and so he could physically disappear. Hamlet appears to be feeling in a manic, desperate, despondent state of mind in this soliloquy, as is shown when Hamlet says, 'Or that the Everlasting had not fix'd His canon 'gainst self-slaughter!' The fact that suicide was even being considered as an option by Hamlet signifies the dark place that he is in following the recent events of the play, as suicide was considered a sin in the late Elizabethan era when the play is set.

    • Word count: 2096
  4. Hamlet is torn between his conscience which tells him that murderous retribution is morally wrong, and his emotional need for revenge. Discuss, showing to what extent you agree with this view.

    Freud describes how "in extended grief, mourners cannot separate themselves from the lost object". [1] Stephen Greenblatt explains that "it is not implausible that it took years for the trauma of his son's death fully to erupt in Shakespeare's work or that it was triggered by an accidental conjunction of names" [2] As in Stratford during that time the records show that Hamlet and Hamnet were interchangeable names. The story of Hamlet, its references to the loss of a father and purgatory can be directly associated with the death of Hamnet.

    • Word count: 2193
  5. Explore the themes and techniques of the Nunnery scene in Hamlet

    So when we get to the Nunnery scene, Hamlet is already annoyed and some believe that he is not in a good mental state. When he sees Ophelia, after his soliloquy, says "Nymph in thy orisons. Be all my sins remembered" (Act 3, scene 1). This is a peculiar line as one can say that this is deceit from Hamlet himself. What he says suggests that he has no recollection of Ophelia, though it can also be said that Hamlet is sending her a grave message feigning madness.

    • Word count: 2656
  6. "How does Shakespeare represent the development of Hamlet's revenge during the first three acts of the Play?"

    This isolation is compounded by the fact that his mother has married within a few months of her "bereavement." This betrayal that Hamlet feels leads him to suspect that she may have had a hand in her husband's death. Distrust is placed on Claudius by Hamlet and this becomes apparent after Claudius has delivered his speech in I i when Hamlet is exceedingly impervious to his ideas. Hamlet refuses to be called Claudius's son and in response to his declaration of unity Hamlet replies, "Little more than kin and less than kind." This quote is a pun describing how Hamlet feels that they are not of the same "kin" and of an entirely different "kind".

    • Word count: 2109
  7. Analyse and evaluate Shakespeare(TM)s use of soliloquy in presenting the developing character of Hamlet.

    Soliloquies give the audience a chance to connect with the character as it gives the audience a chance to see the character unleashing their inner thoughts. This will lead to the audience being aware of the true identity of the character making it easier for them to comprehend and understand the true depths of both the story and character. Soliloquies are a vital tool used in "Hamlet" to understand the true insight on Hamlet's character. Hamlet freely expresses his inner thoughts through soliloquies, this is the only real time the audience are aware of Hamlet's feelings.

    • Word count: 2079
  8. Hamlet essay on his character

    At this point the audience can see that King Lear was unable to see Cordeila's true love for him, and as the result of this he banishes her from the kingdom saying"........for we have no such daughter, nor shall ever see that face of her again." King Lear disowns Cordelia as she has refused to express her love for him in front of the Court. Here Shakespeare shows the audience that King Lear's eyes and mind are only open to seeing things that are on the surface which are artificial.

    • Word count: 2479
  9. How does Hamlet and Ophelia's relationship evolves throughout the play of 'Hamlet'?

    This indicates that his main objective in visiting Ophelia is to use Ophelia to convince others that his insanity was not due to any mysterious unknown cause, i.e. Old Hamlet's murder but to his disappointment of Ophelia returning his gifts and letters and refusing to see him. Ophelia's purpose in this scene seems to be to back up the idea that Hamlet never loved Ophelia at all, but merely used her. If so, then Hamlet is as guilty of deceptiveness as are those he judges.

    • Word count: 2478
  10. With reference to key lines and speeches in the play, discuss interpretations of the character of Gertrude, and the different ways she could be perceived by an audience, then justify your own reading of the character.

    The use of the word 'adulterate' can be read to assume that Gertrude was Claudius' lover before the King's death. This would make Gertrude a much more loathsome character than she is, however throughout the rest of the play there is no mention of this adultery, and therefore not enough evidence for this interpretation to be taking too seriously. The definition of the word 'adulterate' is to make impure by addition, and the Ghost is saying that Claudius has made his "most seeming-virtuous queen" impure.

    • Word count: 2211
  11. Hamlet Act 3 scene 4

    After this scene she becomes aware that Hamlet isn't mad and starts trusting him as opposed to Claudius. This is exactly how Shakespeare has presented women throughout the play: they are easy to convince, very meek and become submissive to the men (as we can see Ophelia and her response to her father and brother). They are depicted as weak and inferior in comparison to the male figures, who control their lives. After the closet scene Gertrude keeps faith to her son and lies to her husband Claudius for Hamlet saying he killed Polonius in his madness: `And in his

    • Word count: 2604
  12. By close examination of three soliloquies, discuss Hamlet's changing state of mind

    Despite mentioning that by procrastinating, his thoughts 'turn awry, and lose the name of action', he fails to confront this flaw. By the third soliloquy, he resolves to be more decisive, however he seems to be uttering empty words; it is only right at the end, some time after the soliloquy, that he decides to act. This is too late anyway, however, as he has already been stabbed by the poisoned rapier; he is already condemned to death; only in the face of certain death does he act directly and kill his scheming uncle, without first attempting a futile analysis.

    • Word count: 2760
  13. Ophelia in William Shakespeare's Hamlet

    Shakespeare has written Ophelia as the prominent female in the play. Is this because she has a closer relationship with Hamlet or because there are two sides to Ophelia, a happy lively side and a dark sinister point which becomes more dominant later in the play? Ophelia is a character who has been viewed differently by audiences from different ages. A modern audience would view her as weak and timid in comparison to today's women. She obeys the males and fulfils what she believes to be her duty. A Victorian audience would view her as an ideal woman; they would see her as idealistic, beautiful and would see her as a role model.

    • Word count: 2808
  14. Comparing Hamlet with Fortinbras

    A poisonous snake supposedly killed Hamlet's father, King Hamlet, but this is just a deception, created by Hamlet's uncle, Claudius who, in reality, murdered King Hamlet. Claudius then married King Hamlet's widow, Queen Gertrude and became the new king of Denmark. Meanwhile, in Norway, Fortinbras' uncle also became king. This shows significant correlation between Hamlet and Fortinbras; both princes were overlooked as the positions of kings by-passed them. A difference between the families of Hamlet and Fortinbras is the importance of the role of Hamlet's mother.

    • Word count: 2219
  15. Why is 'Hamlet' seen as such a unique play even though it is part of the English revenge tradition in drama?

    As a result of the King being killed Claudius was crowned king of Denmark. Hamlet was irate that the Queen could love King Hamlet's brother so soon after her husband was murdered. In the opening scene (Act 1 Scene 1) Francisco, Horatio, Barnardo and Marcellus are all sentries and where all on watch. Barnardo claims that he has seen a ghost and so does Marcellus. Barnardo and Marcellus are determined to persuade Horatio that they have seen a ghost so they sit him down and tell him their story and then the ghost appears before all of them.

    • Word count: 2523
  16. With close reference to language examine how fitting a close Act 5 scene ii forms to the play. Act 5 scene ii forms a fitting and appropriate ending to the play 'Hamlet' because

    says "There's a divinity that shapes our ends, Rough-hew them how we will-" He says he will now wait for his chance to kill Claudius. He now defies "augury" because he doesn't want to allow himself to plan his future. The misgivings he has before the fencing match are appropriate for the tragic ending of the play. They give the audience a preview of the consequences of the duel. He now makes it clear that he wanted to be the King of Denmark after his fathers death as he says of Claudius; "Popp'd in between th'election and my hopes, / Thrown out his angle for my proper life" {65-66}.

    • Word count: 2681
  17. It could be said that Hamlet is not a play of inaction, but a play of providence and fate. Shakespeare seems to purposefully initiate action through inaction to show how certain events act as a catalyst for the eventful finale

    Some critics go so far as to suggest that Shakespeare intended to show the tragedy of a weak-willed man, called upon to commit an act for which he is not properly equipped. These critics believe that Hamlet is a tragedy of weakness and absence of will. I would disagree, however, that Hamlet displays an absence of will. On the contrary, Hamlet constantly dwells on the information his father, the ghost, has provided him, and the audience get an insight into Hamlet's will to get revenge and seek truth: And so 'a goes to heaven; and so am I reveng'd.

    • Word count: 2088
  18. Compare and contrast the treatment of the play Hamlet by the directors Franco Zeffirelli and Kenneth Branagh, concentrating on the last scene from the words "The readiness is all" to "The rest is silence."

    Hamlet gets back to find it is Ophelia's funeral and he grieves for her. The plot created by Claudius and Laertes involves a fencing match and a poisoned blade, which is where we find ourselves at the beginning of the scene. Hamlets frame of mind before the fight is also unstable. He is still grieving for his father and is now grieving for Ophelia as well. He is angry with Claudius for his fathers murder and is still upset with his mother over her hasty re-marriage. Combined with the guilt for the grief he has caused Laertes, Hamlet is going mad and has become almost totally unbalanced.

    • Word count: 2730
  19. How effectively does Shakespeare introduce the characters and themes of 'Hamlet'?

    As one critic, T.S. Elliot, remarks in his book 'On Poetry and Poets', "the opening scene of 'Hamlet' is as well constructed as that of any play ever written...". Immediately, from the opening of the play, Shakespeare establishes a mood of anxiety and dread by using fragments of conversation, for example, 'Nay, answer me, stand and unfold yourself' and 'Long live the King!' The verses do not flow and their broken rhythms generate an atmosphere of unease, apprehension and confusion; this, and the fact that the play begins with the question 'Who's there?'

    • Word count: 2835

    Francis Bacon, an Elizabethan philosopher condemned revenge as 'a kind of wild justice'. (York Notes). He argued 'it does offend the law [and] putteth the law out of office' (York Notes). The Christian Church insisted that vengeance was God's business not man's. However, Helen Gardner writes in "The Historical Approach to "Hamlet". That in 1584, Queen Elizabeth's respected chief minister Burghly, who was a law-abiding and God-fearing man like all other men, endorsed the Bond of Association which was signed by thousands of people in England, swearing to "take the uttermost revenge" on any who had a hand in or who would benefit some advantage from the assassination of Elizabeth.

    • Word count: 2707
  21. "Hamlet is so much more than a traditional revenge tragedy"

    Therefore, it is easy to draw parallels between The Spanish Tragedy and Hamlet, for instance the use of a ghost seeking revenge. In The Spanish Tragedy, the ghost of Don Andrea begins the play by retelling the story of how he was 'slain,' and how the gods have sent him back with Revenge to avenge his death. Therefore, Kyd uses the ghost to introduce the main theme of revenge and set out the basic plot of the play. Don Andrea does not spur Hieronimo, the main protagonist in the play, to revenge, he merely watches in the background, whereas in Hamlet, the appearance of his father's ghost begins his quest for revenge.

    • Word count: 2137
  22. Comment on the dramatic significance of any three scenes in Hamlet?

    Horatio has been invited by the two guards men since he is a scholar and a sceptic and therefore would provide a reasonable explanation for "this dreaded sight" and "this apparition"the appearance of the ghost is a warning of something "strange eruption in the state" and the audience is forewarned that all is not right in the state of Denmark. The ghost is none other than King Hamlet. "It is in the same figure like the king that is dead" The appearance of the ghost shocks all of them especially Horatio.

    • Word count: 2540
  23. To what degree to do you consider Hamlet to be mad? How do you think your 21st century interpretation might differ from an Elizabethan prospective?

    At the beginning of the play, Hamlet is seen wearing dark robes and acting in a general melancholic way. The queen instructs him to, "...cast thy knighted colour off," Hamlet, also describes himself as wearing 'an inky cloak' and 'customary suits of solemn black'. It is clear from the description of his clothes that he is severely depressed at the death of his father. This is linked to the characteristic melancholic manner that the Elizabethan audience would have looked upon and identified as being mad. When Horatio first mentions the sighting of the ghost, he says, "My lord I think I saw him yesternight."

    • Word count: 2089
  24. Hamlet - In what way is Act 5 Scene 2 a fitting climax to the play?

    A vast tragedy, negating any attempt at a single interpretation, Hamlet is before anything else the drama of a man who does not hesitate to confront his own imperfections and who refuses illusions and idealized appearances. A spooky touch is used in Hamlet by the role of King Hamlet's ghost. Three other Shakespeare plays have ghosts as characters: Julius Caesar (Brutus is visited by the ghost of Caesar), Macbeth (Banquo's ghost interrupts Macbeth's banquet) and Richard III (the king is haunted by the ghosts of his victims).

    • Word count: 2559
  25. How are the tensions which were a part of Elizabethan society shown through Shakespeare's portrayal of Hamlet's attitudes to what critics have referred to as his 'dilemma'?

    With these rivals come alliances and deception, resulting from corruption within the court, which similarly were present in European politics of the Elizabethan era. Hamlet is under prepared when thrown unaware into such a mass of political warfare that he immediately retreats into passiveness, which lengthens his course of action in the resolving of his dilemma. Hamlet reveals that he regards himself 'A little more than kin, and less than kind', confronting Claudius with the statement, 'I am too much i' the sun'.

    • Word count: 2264

Conclusion analysis

Good conclusions usually refer back to the question or title and address it directly - for example by using key words from the title.
How well do you think these conclusions address the title or question? Answering these questions should help you find out.

  1. Do they use key words from the title or question?
  2. Do they answer the question directly?
  3. Can you work out the question or title just by reading the conclusion?
  • Compare the way in which Shakespeare presents Hamlet's 'antic disposition' to the way Ophelia's madness is presented to us in Act IV.

    "Having analysed the way in which Shakespeare presents Hamlets antic disposition and Ophelia's madness, I have been able to reveal some similarities and differences in the presentation. In my opinion, there is a very clear contrast between Hamlet and Ophelia. I have acquired this judgment due to the fact that Hamlet had a reason to feign madness, whereas Ophelia had no reason to be mad in craft, so her insanity was genuine and born involuntarily, while Hamlet intentionally manifested his false lunacy. This contrast allows the audience to have a better understanding of the fact that Hamlet is not really mad, but Ophelia is. Emile Khan - 1 -"

  • With reference to key lines and speeches in the play, discuss interpretations of the character of Gertrude, and the different ways she could be perceived by an audience, then justify your own reading of the character.

    "In conclusion, there are many interpretations of the character of Gertrude, the caring affectionate mother, or the sexual adulteress. Personally I think that Gertrude is one of the most complex and appealing characters in the play. Her unwavering devotion to her son despite his obvious disgust at her is to be greatly admired, and she accepts that his madness is partly due to her marriage to his father's brother. Her intelligence is not remarkable, but she shows an amazing aptitude for almost manipulating those around her to protect herself, and those who she cares deeply about. Gertrude's sexual nature is unmistakable throughout the play, this may be her weakness, but she is an emotionally strong woman, who is not malicious but kind hearted and simply wishes everyone that she loves, to be happy and amiable to each other. Rosie Hill"

  • Discuss the dramatic significance of act one scene one of hamlet.

    "In conclusion Shakespeare uses a range of devices to stress the different themes and the dominance of the ghost. Such as imagery with the contrast of the ghost and nature, characters for exposition and creating mood and the use of language to aid these elements. These factors make the opening of Hamlet very tense and educational for an audience as they become aware of the situation with relative depth and still are aware of the strong sense of foreboding."

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