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GCSE: Hamlet

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  1. Hamlet - looking at the history of the play, the genre, Shakespeare himself and the globe theatre in which so many of Shakespeare's plays were preformed.

    Although we have no record of Shakespeare attending the school, due to the official position held by John Shakespeare it seems likely that he would have decided to educate young William at the school, which was under the care of Stratford's governing body. In 1582, at the age of 16, Shakespeare married Anne Hathaway. When Shakespeare married Hathaway he was still a minor, while she was twenty-six and already several months pregnant. Shakespeare had three children. The first child born was Susanna, christened on May 26, 1583, and twins arrived in January 1585.

    • Word count: 2327
  2. In the opening two scenes of the play explore how Shakespeare puts you inside the mind and heart of Hamlet himself.

    His aside follows the comment made by Claudius, who says, 'But now, my cousin Hamlet, and my son'. Hamlet takes offence to these words. He does not see his uncle as a father figure, and despises the fact that Claudius has snatched the title of King from him, and married his mother. Bitterly, Hamlet retorts to this comment by saying aside, ' little more than kin, and less than kind'. This aside allows the audience to delve inside Hamlet's mind, and find out his true feelings towards Claudius.

    • Word count: 2420
  3. How effectively does Shakespeare introduce the characters and themes of 'Hamlet'?

    The pun, playing on the word 'kind' meaning offspring, is displaying Hamlet's ready wit and intelligence. Hamlet is telling the audience that he feels bitter towards Claudius' claims and that he is not pleased with what Claudius is trying to do. He is therefore showing the reality behind the appearance that Claudius is attempting to create. Shakespeare introduces this theme very effectively, as it is not only portraying the feelings of the two main characters, but it is also clear and immediately sets up tension between the two and this theatrical device is very useful in keeping the audience captivated.

    • Word count: 2350
  4. How does a knowledge of the Elizabethan spectator's beliefs about ghosts help your understanding of Hamlet and the task he is set?

    the most part they were devils who took the image of departed relatives or friends to tempt the person whom it visits, to cause physical or spiritual harm upon them. The final major view was that in which ghosts only appeared to those who were depressed or sad, "in a word, apparitions are either the illusion of melancholic minds or flat knavery on the part of some rogue" however spirits did exist, they thought, as the bible had said it was so, but they believed that they could not take the form of an living or once-living being and therefore could not be seen.

    • Word count: 2055
  5. How is the ghost presented in Act One ofShakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’? What impact would it have had on its original audience?

    At the beginning of Act One Scene One Shakespeare has started off with minor characters because he doesn't want to have a huge impact on the audience and this also helps to build tension. If Shakespeare had started off with major characters then there wouldn't have been a build up of tension and therefore the impact on the audience wouldn't be as exciting or as realistic as if starting off with minor characters. Shakespeare describes the ghost's physical appearance before the ghost actually appears.

    • Word count: 2109
  6. Discuss the Ideas and Themes Indicated in the First Three Scenes of Hamlet that you Find Particularly Interesting.

    This emphasises the mutual friendship they entrust to each other. Through the rational conversations held between the two friends, the audience is able to identify the melancholy Hamlet is suffering is genuine rather than a state of madness. Through Horatio many truths are revealed about the young prince and what is to come in later in the play. The same rational line of thinking is also evident in the character of Horatio. He is perceptive enough to realise the Ghost's appearance spells disaster for Denmark, "A mote it is trouble the mind's eye."

    • Word count: 2040
  7. Examine critically the character of Hamlet as revealed through his soliloquies.

    "O, cursed spite, That I was ever born to set it right!" Hamlet is seen as a character that evolves in front of the audiences' eyes, as they realize that the Hamlet in the beginning of the play is not the same person at the end. In the beginning, Hamlet questions a lot and reflects upon his every move and action. But at the end of the play in the last scene, we see that Hamlet's procrastination and hesitation is all gone.

    • Word count: 2521
  8. Discuss with reference to language how the soliloquies reveal the character of Hamlet.

    Hamlet is a philosopher's price and a very sensible and remarkable human, but his vacillation leads to his tragedy. He is of a meditative, reflective and philosophical bent. He is so philosophical in his nature that all his decisions are subject to scrutiny. He is the scholar's prince but everyone calls him to be the man of action. That's the heart of his tragedy; being one person he cannot slip into different roles. He cannot be a man of action because he's too deeply philosophical.

    • Word count: 2859
  9. "Hamlet is better at talking about revenge, than he is at doing it." Consider the reasons for his delay.

    As way of detecting the truth, the Prince decides to put on a play, and have it performed almost as a re-enactment of the ghosts tale. The play, Hamlet claims "is the image of a murder done in Vienna", the foul act in this performance however is presented as a replica of Old Hamlet's story, where the murderer 'pours poison into the King's ears'. By doing this Hamlet hopes to receive a negative reception from the King, thus revealing the ugly burden on his conscience.

    • Word count: 2016
  10. Character of Hamlet.

    The story of Amleth is a story, which involved just the revenge of a son avenging his father's murder. In this story, Amleth 's uncle is the usurper and he kills Amleth's father and also wishes to kill Amleth to establish his unquestioned authority. Here Amleth directly knew that his uncle was guilty quite in contrast to Hamlet's case and Amleth's life was in great danger also in contrast to Hamlet's as his uncle Claudius was fond of his nephew.

    • Word count: 2717
  11. Hamlets dilemma - Why can't he act?

    Hamlet's indecisive manner is also stimulated by his belief that he will be sent to h**l if he murders his uncle. This further intensifies the ultimate dilemma he is faced with. I shall explore the nature of his dilemma and those various factors that influence Hamlet's indecisiveness throughout the play. But in order to understand the nature of Hamlet's indecisiveness throughout the play, I shall first explore his initial state of mind and his personal estrangement from the world. In the play, Hamlet is portrayed as being prone to melancholia.

    • Word count: 2004
  12. How does Shakespeare display Hamlets limitations as a conventional revenger? How do you as a member of a modern audience respond to Hamlet's dilemma and solutions?

    Shakespeare has accentuated his rage through the use of superlatives. Laertes has already decided what he must do, and was prepared to kill almost anyone in order to get revenge. This decisive reaction is in direct contrast to Hamlet's. Even though Hamlet's first response is positive: "Haste me to know't, that I, with wings as swift As meditation or the thoughts of love may sweep to my revenge" However this is not mirrored in his actions. In fact, his first decision, after hearing the ghost's revelation, was not to exact his immediate revenge but to feign madness; an excellent example of the procrastination that Coleridge refers to.

    • Word count: 2178
  13. Explore the concept of revenge in Shakespeare's Hamlet.

    Anticipation - this is where a planning of the revenge takes place. Confrontation - This occurs between the avenger and the proposed victim. Delay - The avenger has doubts as to whether or not he or she should carry out the murder. Completion - this is the finale, which often concludes with the death of the revenger. In Shakespeare's Hamlet there are two main plots, that is the main plot and the sub- plot. In the main plot of the play, Hamlet is commanded by the ghost of his father to seek revenge for his death.

    • Word count: 2057
  14. What is the dramatic importance of corruption and disease in Hamlet?

    He wants all he has worked for not to be ruined by his brother. During Act 1 Scene 3 (the Advice Scene), Polonius acts as a perfect father towards Laertes, 'Thou friends thou hast...grapple them to thy soul.' Polonius' advice here is that the friends Laertes has, he should grasp them close to his body. His behaviour is of a great father figure but in the following Act (2.1) it can be contrasted when he sends Reynaldo to spy on Laertes as he leaves for France, this is important as he corrupts Reynaldo to spy on his own son.

    • Word count: 2246
  15. Essay considering how Shakespeare portrays Hamlet's dilemma through the soliloquies.

    They involved trials and edventual death of an important person (the hero) which greatly affected a large number of people. Usually the hero commits a fatal flaw, and begins to often speak aloud on his own, 'narrating' the play almost. This suggests madness and indecision and is usually good for the tension and suspense. The plays usually follow a strong plot line containing revenge and regicide, father and son, murder and poison and family and madness. This intwined with the popular specific genre tradgedy from the Classical era and the way people without facts had to turn to belief in the late 1500's makes a very effective, probable play.

    • Word count: 2596
  16. How successful is Hamlet as a play about revenge? Consider both the modern and Elizabethan audience.

    Ultimately, the fact that Claudius is King will not protect him as he thinks it will. The Elizabethan audience would have shared Claudius's view as they believed in the Divine Right of Kings where the King was thought to have protection from God, because of his position. Hamlet does not share this view. He comes to the conclusion that position makes no difference in society, because death will eventually equal all of us. "A man may fish with the worm that hath eat of a King, and eat of the fish that hath fed of that worm" Hamlet's ideas on equality would have been confusing to an Elizabethan audience.

    • Word count: 2316
  17. What do Hamlet's soliloquies reveal about his state of mind and how do they relate to the audience?

    and 'How all occasions do inform against me.' (Act Four; Scene Four). The density of Hamlet's thought is extraordinary. Not a word is wasted; every syllable and each sound expresses the depth of his reflection and the intensity of his emotion. The soliloquies are in effect, the hidden plot of the play because, if one puts them side by side, one notices that the character of Hamlet goes through a development. In addition, Hamlet's soliloquies serve several other functions in the play. Firstly, they show how Hamlet is preoccupied with his role and stress that it is a 'role' - a part he has to play.

    • Word count: 2340
  18. Consider the three treatments of the Ghost Scene in Hamlet that you viewed. Which do you prefer and why? How would you produce the ghost scene?

    The lighting is very subtle, like the moonlight shining on the ramparts of the castle. A very good lighting effect is when Hamlet is listening to his father's spirit. On one side of his face it is very light, yet the other side is dark, and you can't see his features very well. There are not many special effects in this scene, and the ghost doesn't seem very supernatural. There are a lot of close up shots, which follow the conversation during the scene. The actors deliver the lines in a specific way. They use different facial expressions and gestures.

    • Word count: 2318
  19. “The relationship between Hamlet and Ophelia is doomed to failure because they are too similar.” Discuss.

    This suggests that Hamlet and Ophelia's relationship could be strong even through hard times and even though some characters try to split them up. But, with Ophelia's compliance to her father's wishes that she should not speak with Hamlet: "I shall obey, my Lord" (1.3.135), It seems that she is willing to deceive Hamlet, just to please her father. Hamlets visit to Ophelia in Act Two can be seen to imply two things about his character - that he is completely in love with Ophelia and that her refusal to his advances, under her fathers wishes, have driven him to appear mad.

    • Word count: 2170
  20. Explore the Ways the Theme of Death Develops and Changes in Hamlet and Doctor Faustus

    This certainty that Faustus shows deeply contrasts with Hamlet?s ambiguous views on the afterlife. Hamlet in Act 1 Scene ii, desires that this ?too too sullied flesh would melt, thaw and resolve itself into a dew!?. However, Hamlet doesn?t commit ?self-slaughter? because of the ?dread of something after death?. Shakespeare?s use of ?dread of something? gives the impression that Hamlet?s fear of death is due to his ignorance as to what follows. This lack of knowledge as to what is beyond is also why in Act 3 Scene i Hamlet says ?Thus conscience does make cowards of us all? as he worries about the weight on his conscience of killing King Claudius and the spiritual implications of doing so.

    • Word count: 2208
  21. Commentary on a poor example of an essay on Hamlet's madness.

    The style throughout this essay is both unorganized and unclear. The author is very vague with the statements that are made, by not providing the proof needed to support the points. The author is attempting to persuade the reader into believing that madness is Hamlet?s true feeling and that it is not an act. However, throughout the essay the author tends to contradict themselves by saying things such as: ?Hamlet is actually mad and is a little on the insane side at times?. The author starts off by saying that Hamlet is indefinitely mad due to the traumatic events, then proceeds to contradict that by saying that it is only at times.

    • Word count: 2370

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