Scene I:1

After encountering the ghost of his deceased father Hamlet gains a new view of Claudius. He finds that the new king, his uncle, murdered his father, King Hamlet. Claudius is more than just a committee of incest. The ghost reveals this information to Hamlet first in lines 38 and 39 of the scene, “The serpent that did sting thy father’s life Now wears his crown,” (Shakespeare, 34).

After examining the ghost’s description of the murder the following images and themes can be found to represent key events and symbols in Hamlet:

Angelic (pg. 35, line 55): Gertrude is described by King Hamlet’s ghost to be a radiant angel, thus forbidding Hamlet to ever hurt her in his plot of revenge.

Demonic (pg. 35, lines 10-13): King Hamlet is a ghost, sentenced to walk the earth and in hell for a “certain term”. This is central to the novel as Hamlet ultimately commits certain crimes in order to set his father’s spirit free.

Sleep (pg. 36, line74-75): sleep symbolizes death, “Thus was I, sleeping, by a brother’s hand of life, crown, of queen, at once dispatched.”

Garden (pg. 34, line 36): the garden is a leitmotif which is representative of Denmark. “Tis give out that, sleeping in my orchard...”

Poison (pg. 35, line 62): “With juice of cursed hebenon…” King Hamlet was poisoned by his brother, Claudius.

Milk (pg. 35, line 69): “And curd, like eager droppings into milk…” King Hamlet died a horrible death, with all of the blood in his body coagulating, ultimately causing a stroke.

Blood: symbolizes the river of life. King Hamlet’s life was cut short because his river of life ceased to flow properly throughout his veins.

Serpent’s bite (pg.34, line 38 and 39): Claudius is the serpent whose bite lead to the king’s death. “The serpent that did sting thy father’s life Now wears his crown.”

In response to the ghost’s story Hamlet swears to the ghost that he will take revenge against Claudius for the death of King Hamlet. On page 34, lines 29-31, the protagonist begins this promise, “Haste me to know’t, that I, with wings as swift As mediation or the thoughts of love, May sweep to my revenge.” After the encounter with the ghost, Hamlet’s first response if to write, revealing that the character is an organized kind of person.

Upon examining the scene upon which Hamlet returns to his friends he is unbalanced and unnatural with them. He trusts that they can keep a secret and proceeds to tell them that, “There’s ne’er a villain dwelling in all Denmark, But he’s an errant knave.” Hamlet stops short of revealing Claudius’s crime and so turns his sentence into a joking truism. Shortly after this, he continues this repartee by telling them that they should expect a change in his behavior, but one by choice to act with unnatural lunacy. “How strange or odd soe’er I bear myself, As I perchance hereafter shall think meet To put an antic disposition on, That you, at such times seeing me…” The time is out of joint and Hamlet is well.

·        Scene II:

Laertes portrays his family as polite and very formal compared to Hamlet and his family, as seen through Claudius. The King is being rather rude to Laertes and somewhat sarcastic stating “you cannot speak of reason to the Dane, and lose your voice”, while Laertes is politely asking his consent to leave. Hamlet’s family is thus portrayed as egotistic.

To assert his kingship Claudius acts fatherly, employs fear, and creates a façade of wisdom.

Hamlet plays on words using double entendres. For example, he uses kin and kind, both similar sounding words, to mock Claudius’ fatherly façade. Later he uses sun in the place of son to do the same. He uses “common” as a double entendre to show that Gertrude’s recent un-queenly acts and as sarcasms mocking her intelligence and gullible nature. These are all examples of high comedy and puns.

They both think Hamlet is just stubborn and impatient. The King also suggests that Hamlet’s grief is unholy and vulgar and uses sarcasm to portray Hamlet as a child – “simple” and “unschooled”, trying to emasculate him.

The overall themes of Hamlet’s soliloquy are death, corruption, and unresolved. It deals with Hamlet’s father, his death, and the lude acts of his mother. It resolves with Hamlet deciding to hold his tongue and wait out the corrupt actions of the castle. Themes of distrust and inaction, with no sense of duty or family obligation accompany the dialogue.

The tone of Hamlet’s conversation with Horatio is rather relaxed and free from any real negativity since it is balanced by comedic relief. Hamlet uses puns and sarcastic high comedy as well as repartee.

Horatio is trying to emphasize that the ghost he and the guards witnessed was that of King Hamlet.

Hamlet makes his friends promise not to tell anyone else about the ghost, because he does not want there to be any suspicion in the castle and he does not want to attract Claudius’ attention.

·        Scene III:

He cautions her against falling in love with Hamlet, who is, according to Laertes, too far above her by birth to be able to love her honorably. Since Hamlet is responsible not only for his own feelings but for his position in the state, it may be impossible for him to marry her. Ophelia agrees to keep Laertes' advice as a "watchman" close to her heart but urges him not to give her advice that he does not practice himself. Laertes reassures her that he will take care of himself.

He tells Laertes that he must hurry to his ship but then delays him by giving him a great deal of advice about how to behave with integrity and practicality. Polonius admonishes Laertes to keep his thoughts to himself, restrain himself from acting on rash desires, and treat people with familiarity but not with vulgarity. He advises him to hold on to his old friends but be slow to embrace new friends; to be slow to quarrel but to fight boldly if the need arises; to listen more than he talks; to dress richly but not gaudily; to refrain from borrowing or lending money; and, finally, to be true to himself above all things.

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The advice is valid.  The speech seems to be planned.  It reveals that Polonius (though be hypocritical) is trying to prevent his son from making the same mistakes he made.

Polonius and Laertes have different reasons for opposing Ophelia's interest in Hamlet.

Polonius' reason is mainly for Ophelia's safety. Polonius asks her about her relationship with Hamlet. She tells him that Hamlet claims to love her. Polonius sternly echoes Laertes' advice, and forbids Ophelia to associate with Hamlet anymore. He tells her that Hamlet has deceived her in swearing his love, and that she should see through his false ...

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