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Moral and psychological atmosphere

Uploaded by Vanessa on Aug 30, 2001

From its opening, the tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, plunges us into a world of mystery, intrigue and plotting. It is dark, enigmatic and yet resplendent court of Elsinor that we saunter into, a court dominated at different times by two characters. With Hamlet trying to prove Claudius's guilt, and Claudius trying to pierce the secret of Hamlet's madness, and using Polonius, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, Ophelia, and finally Gertrude as his pawns. This makes the atmosphere more and more gloomy and tense

The play begins with the Changing of the guards on a cold winter's night at the castle of Elsinor. The men talk about ghost that they have seen, which is the dead king of Denmark. The scene is set on a dark cold night, causing the atmosphere to be gloomy, with tension that can be felt distinctively, foreshadowing of what is to come. This is the skill with which Shakespeare evokes a mood appropriate to this tragedy.

The prince Hamlet's first moral struggle is seen in the soliloquy. He wishes to end his life for this world has become " weary, stale, flat and unprofitable". It is not just the death of his beloved father and king which has reduced him to this state of despair but also the fact that his mother's hasty marriage to his uncle Claudius. He perceives this marriage as unrighteous and is religiously wrong. This accounts for his wish to commit suicide. However according to the bible it morally incorrect, it is forbidden by the sixth of the Ten Commandments in the Old Testament. The question to live or to end his life is seen in another scene. "To be or not to be" This suggests that Hamlet is always in the tussle of morality.

The atmosphere of the play is steeped in the odour of corruption as well as decay. These visible elements of corruption are reinforced by numerous words and images throughout the play. One of these is " something is rotten in the state of Denmark." This is said by Marcellus when he saw the ghost and aware of the cause of Old hamlet's death. This highlighted the theme of decay. Another example is when the Ghost compares Gertrude's sin to preying on garbage. In addition Hamlet warns Polonius of the way the sun breeds maggots in a dead dog.
" For if the sun breed maggots in a dead dog,

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Uploaded by:   Vanessa

Date:   08/30/2001

Category:   Hamlet

Length:   8 pages (1,818 words)

Views:   1462

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