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Unformatted text preview: Jun-Hao Rosalyn Shih Shakespeare I Prof. Julie Crawford October 6 th , 2008 Interpretations of the Word Common and Their Tell-Tale Differences The many applications of the word common in Act I Scene 2 shows how the characters of Hamlet use language to challenge, manipulate and control each other. The use of a word that connotes unity and universality ironically exposes conflict and disharmony. Even more, the handling of language signals telling clues as to how the characters manipulate their surrounding problems. In the court, Gertrude uses the word common to convey the indiscriminate nature of death. Thou knowst tis common (1.2.72), she chides Hamlet and his unnecessary display of grief over his lost father. Common is used to insist that death [belongs] to all mankind alike ( OED a .1b). Gertrude points out that all lives must come to an end, passing through nature to eternity (1.2.73). To her, Hamlet must cease his mourning because death is merely a transitional eternity (1....
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