hamlet essay

Submitted By steve12352
Words: 747
Pages: 3

Authors have a number of techniques they use for building up a character for the reader or audience. The way a character speaks is one of these. Choose a character from Hamlet and discuss the ways in which this character is revealed to us through his or her speech.
Hamlet has fascinated audiences and readers for centuries, and the first thing to point out about him is that he is enigmatic. There is always more to him than meets the eye. When he speaks, he sounds as if there’s something important he’s not saying, maybe something even he is not aware of. The ability to write soliloquies and dialogues that create this effect is one of Shakespeare’s most impressive achievements. Hamlet breathes with the multiple dimensions of a living being, and everyone understands him in a personal way. In his first soliloquy Hamlet introduces a metaphor to which he will return during the play: ‘tis an unweeded garden/ That grows to seed, things rank and gross in nature/ Possess it merely’. In Hamlet’s eyes, the world is a dirty corrupt place, comparable to an unweeded garden. In Act 3, Scene 4, he says to Gertrude, ‘And do not spread the compost on the weeds/ To make them ranker’, suggesting that she can make things worse by continuing to behave corruptly with Claudius. The audience learns that he deeply disapproves of his mother’s remarriage to his uncle. ‘Something is rotten in the state of Denmark’ Hamlet sees it also in terms of corruption and rottenness stemming from his mother’s relationship with Claudius. Hamlet’s famous speech to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern in Act 2, Scene 2 is full of metaphorical language. The earth is a ‘sterile promontory’, a barren rocky point. The description of the air and sky is astonishing—‘this majestical roof fretted with golden fire’—but to Hamlet it is a ‘foul and pestilent congregation of vapours’ Man is described with the repetition of ‘how like’, as in ‘how like a God!’. The exclamation mark acknowledges the outrageous nature of the comparison with God. Finally, the audience learns that man is, to Hamlet, a ‘quintessence of dust’. The reference to ‘dust’ recalls ‘ashes to ashes, dust to dust’ and evokes death. Following King Hamlet’s death, Hamlet has come face to face with man’s mortality. Though it was customary to assign verse to aristocratic characters, Shakespeare gives Hamlet, the tragic hero a fair bit of prose. Hamlet almost always speaks to Horatio in verse. But he invariably speaks to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern in prose. The verse tends to give a dignity to Hamlet’s relationship with Horatio and the prose helps us understand that the banter that Hamlet exchanges with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern is, perhaps, familiarity without abiding friendship. Likewise, Hamlet is apt to address Claudius and Ophelia in prose—perhaps to suggest his ‘antic disposition’. But…