Hamlet Guide (incomplete resource)

Hamlet Guide (incomplete resource) - THE AUTHOR AND HIS...

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THE AUTHOR AND HIS TIMES FORM, STRUCTURE, and PLOT POINT OF VIEW (NARRATIVE PERSPECTIVE) CHARACTER SETTING THEMES THEME: A prevalent theme in Hamlet is the inevitability of mortality and it‘s effects on human actions. His musings on suicide, especially the "to be or not to be" speech, are legendary and continue to direct discussions of the value of life and the mystery of death. But Hamlet himself never commits suicide. It is Ophelia, who never mentions the possibility of taking her own life, who drowns herself out of some combination of madness and despair. Even aside from the suicides, death threads through the entirety of Hamlet , from the opening scene‘s confrontation with a dead man‘s ghost to the bloodbath of the final scene, which leaves almost every main character dead. Hamlet constantly contemplates death from many angles. He is both seduced and repelled by the idea of suicide, but, in the famous gravedigger scene, he is also fascinated by the physical reality of death. In a way, Hamlet can be viewed as extended dialogue between Hamlet and death. Another theme of Hamlet is the struggle between deducing appearance versus reality in an unstable world or atmosphere: Hamlet questions himself on the reality of his father‘s ghost, his friendship with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, Claudius‘ actions, and Ophelia‘s innocence in the whole ordeal. Likewise, King Claudius wonders whether or not Hamlet has really gone mad. This theme - the extreme difficulty of getting behind appearances to the truth about people and situations - is kept constant before the reader by the repetition of images based on clothes and paint or make-up, which are suggestive of covering up or concealing the truth. Consider, for example, Hamlet's words to his mother in Act I, scene ii: "Seems madam! Nay it is; I know not seems‘. ‘Tis not alone my inky cloak, good mother, Nor customary suits of solemn black That can denote me truly. .." And in his first soliloquy,
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This note was uploaded on 01/19/2012 for the course SCHOLARS 1111 taught by Professor Mason during the Spring '11 term at GWU.

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Hamlet Guide (incomplete resource) - THE AUTHOR AND HIS...

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