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Hamlet Prince Of Denmark Essay

2220 words - 9 pages

German philosopher, Karl Marx transformed the ways in which people analyze works of Literature. He claimed that people’s behaviour and judgment in society is determined by economic factors. Typical readers analyze literature from the text in which it’s presented, rather than analyzing for further meaning. The Marxist critical lens encourages the reader to pay attention to detail within the text, especially to the social power systems within the plot. Social class is based on the positions people hold in society, the arrangements of certain groups, and the hierarchy system, can greatly alter the outcome of a story. Reading text with a Marxist lens requires that a reader focuses on how characters interact with their environments, and the people around them. The various different classes, persecution, social inequality, racism are aspects to keep an eye on when doing a Marxist reading. The goals of a Marxist literary critic include assessing the social tendencies of the literary work, and comparing them to the social tendencies of today, and the specific time period in which it was written. The analyst must also recognize to what social class the author belongs and how that might affect the portrayals of certain characters. When analyzing Shakespeare’s most notable play Hamlet Prince of Denmark, the reader will being to understand the hierarchy system, the relationships between the characters, different classes and there social acceptations, as well as the political power struggle in Denmark, and Shakespeare’s personal social beliefs . These interactions between the social classes are what drive the conflicts and events in the play.
Within the first act of play the representation of the social classes begins to unfold. Shakespeare places his characters in one of three social classes: nobility, middle class, and working class. The nobility consists of members belonging to the royal family such as Hamlet, Claudius, Gertrude, and Fortinbras. Within the play, the nobility class are the decision makers of society, they hold all positions of power, and they rule over the other characters. The middle class consist of characters such as Laertes, Polonius, Ophelia, Horatio, Rosencrantz, and Guildenstern. These characters are below nobility, they are wealthy individuals, hold high positions in Government, and have strong ties with the member of the nobility. The middle class can sometimes influence decisions made by the nobility. The working class consists of characters such as Reynaldo, Francisco, Osric, Bernardo, Marcellus, and the grave diggers. These individuals are the lowest class in Denmark society; they survive by selling themselves for labour or entertainment. The working class has no political influence, and are not even recognized by the other two classes. This class structure is the foundation of Hamlet, the various character are fixed within their class, unable to move up the hierarchy system.
Throughout the play, Hamlet interacts with other...

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