Hamlet Essay

851 words - 3 pages

Hamlet Brutal TruthDisillusionment. Depression. Despair. These are the burning emotionschurning in young Hamlet's soul as he attempts to come to terms with hisfather's death and his mother's incestuous, illicit marriage. WhileHamlet tries to pick up the pieces of his shattered idealism, heconsciously embarks on a quest to seek the truth hidden in Elsinore;this, in stark contrast to Claudius' fervent attempts to obscure thetruth of murder. Deception versus truth; illusion versus reality. In theplay, Prince Hamlet is constantly having to differentiate amongst them.However, there is always an exception to the rule, and in this case, theexception lies in Act 2, Scene 2, where an "honest" conversation (sansthe gilded trappings of deceit) takes place between Hamlet andRosenkrantz and Guildenstern. Via the use of prose and figurativelanguage, Shakespeare utilizes the passage to illustrate Hamlet's viewof the cosmos and mankind.Throughout the play, the themes of illusion and mendaciousness havebeen carefully developed. The entire royal Danish court is ensnared in aweb of espionage, betrayal, and lies. Not a single man speaks his mind,nor addresses his purpose clearly. As Polonius puts it so perfectly:"And thus do we of wisdom and of reach^?By indirections find directions out"Act 2, Scene 2, Lines 71-3The many falsehoods and deceptions uttered in Hamlet are expressedthrough eloquent, formal, poetic language (iambic pentameter),tantamount to an art form. If deceit is a painted, ornate subject then,its foil of truth is simple and unvarnished. Accordingly, when thepretenses of illusion are discarded in Act 2, Scene 2, the language iswritten in direct prose.Addressing Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern, Hamlet pleads with them todeliver up honest speech about the intent of their arrival:"[offer up] Anything but to th' purpose."Act 2, Scene 2, Line 300In a gesture of extreme significance, in a quote complementary toPolonius' aforementioned one, Hamlet demands:"Be even and direct with me whether youwere sent for or no."Act 2, Scene 2, Lines 310-11Being the bumbling fools they are, Rosenkrantz and Guildensterndisclose their intentions and purposes to Hamlet, revealing the King andQueen's instructions. Thus does truth prevail in this passage. For thisreason, the whole passage is devoid of the "artful" poetic devices thatare used in the better portion of the play.The recurring motif of corruption also appears in the passage. Due tothe wicked internal proceedings in the state of Denmark (e.g. murder,incest), Shakespeare implies that the whole state is "soiled", which inturn has a direct negative consequence in the grand universal scheme ofthings. Imagery of warped and distasteful plants, in place of thetraditional "aesthetically correct" beautiful...

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