Explore the ways Shakespeare creates tension in the opening two scenes of Hamlet

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Rebecca Mullins

Explore the ways Shakespeare creates tension in the opening two scenes

Shakespeare creates a lot of tension in the opening two scenes, by starting act one, scene one, with short sentences and questions, such as,  “Who’s there?” So the audience can tell that the characters are feeling edgy about something at the start. These short sentences carry on until line 20, it gets the audience involved from the start, you’re straight into the play, and there is no big introduction.

It begins the play at midnight when it is very cold, which it itself is very spooky and is like the witching hour “Tis now struck twelve.” “Tis bitter cold.”

The characters start to talk about a ghost that they’ve seen, and you can sense fear from them “touching this dreaded sight twice seen of us”

Once the ghost enters there is a lot of tension, especially as the ghost doesn’t speak, which makes it even more spooky. The ghost creates mystery for the audience. The ghost says nothing despite the valiant efforts on the parts of Horatio, Marcellus, and Bernardo. Suspense is created when the audience are ignorant as to the purpose of the ghost.

The tension carries on all the way through the first scene. With the audience being able to see the ghost, but not being able to hear it.

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In scene two there is a lot of tension going on between the family. Hamlet dislikes his mother and claudius.

Claudius is the first one to talk in the scene, trying to the get in there first and get the other characters on his side, by taking about his “dear brother’s death” though everyone can tell he’s a fake and he is putting it all on. He thanks everyone for the support, for this hard time “for all our thanks” hes trying his best to look calm.

Hamlet doesn’t act involved when the king is speaking, so the king ask ...

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