Act 2 the rise and development of conflict o act 3

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Act 2: The Rise and Development of Conflict o Act 3: The Crisis o Act 4: The Decline (Denouement) This is where fortunes are changed and Shakespeare subverts our expectations of characters o Act 5: The Catastrophe - Shakespeare uses the 5 act structure to maintain the complexity of ideas within the play - Paul A. Cantor states that: “ The logic behind this structure is to maintain a balance or proportion between the first and second parts of the play and to avoid making the resolution seem too easy.” - Shakespeare’s turn of fates in Act 4 keeps us guessing and exacerbates the level of depth in characterisation and plot - Shakespeare was able to cleverly subvert the 5 Act Structure, offering a more complex investigation of medieval forms of the moral play A PLAY THAT REFLECTS THE HUMAN EXPERIENCE 3
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- Shakespeare was able to adapt Aristotle’s ideas and expound the dramatist’s sympathy and admiration for a character who is faced with insurmountable odds - He is the noble avenger faced with the impossible task of ridding Denmark of its usurper without tarnishing his reputation o The interplay between human experience and catharsis at the end leads us to question whether revenge is an act or something that defines the individual MIMESIS - A term meaning imitation or representation - Mimesis as a representation of humanity and the human experience is used within the play - Hamlet represents many things such as the: Noble avenger Troubled procrastinator CATHARSIS - A term meaning the purging or relieving of emotional tensions - Effectively used in Hamlet as a clarification of the human experience – a resolution for the hero - However, Shakespeare’s portrayal of Hamlet’s catharsis is conveyed in the final death scene o It is a bit ambiguous: Did Hamlet really find a resolution through revenge? The level of depth that we can interpret Hamlet’s catharsis in relation to the human experience is a significant contributor to the textual integrity of the play CONTEXTUAL INFLUENCES - Shakespeare saw theatre as performing a role as a chronicle of the times o A commentary on current issues and, to an extent, an instructional piece for social change - His plays reflected and explored early modern values/ideas such as: The divine right of kingship The hierarchical nature of society 4
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Patriarchal dominance Christian Fundamentalism Honour and Warmongering Sin and Redemption HISTORICAL CONTEXT - England faced threats from the Holy Roman Empire as a result of Henry the 8 th ’s decision to break from Roman Catholicism and establish the Church of England o This tumultuous religious debacle is reflected in Hamlet’s religious and moral quandaries within the play CONFLICTING CONTEXTUAL VALUES MEDIEVAL VALUES - Medieval values are present in the play, including: Feudalism The Divine Right of Kings Filial duty and the role of the avenger The “natural order” Morality plays THE ELIZABETHAN ERA - The Elizabethan Era held beliefs such as:
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Christopher Reinemann
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