Hamlet Act 1 Essay

3796 words - 15 pages

To Be or Not to Be is that an Action, Death, or Question? L'Antoinette Lemond Act one of Hamlet, we easily see that Hamlet goes through many turmoil. His father dies and his uncle takes the throne. Throughout act one, we can see different themes such as obsessions with death, certainty vs. uncertainty, and action vs. inaction. In the beginning of the play, certainty vs. uncertainty is immediately seen. Horatio, is not superstitious and does not believe in ghosts. Although, when he sees the ghost of Hamlet, he is speechless and shocked because he cannot believe this. Even though, we see that Horatio is superstitious, he explains that at dawn, evil spirits do not like the light. Would someone who isn't superstitious know of this? Then, when the ghost does not speak, Horatio tells Marcellus to strike it with his weapon. Now, would someone who is superstitious know that you cannot physically harm a spirit/ghost. So then we bring up a question, whether or not Horatio is indeed superstitious. " (Marcellus) Horatio says 'tis but our fantasy And will not let belief take hole of him Touching this dreaded sight twice seen of us. Therefore I have entreated him along With us to watch the minutes of this night, That, if again this apparition come, He may approve our eyes and speak to it. (Marcellus) Shall I strike it with my partisan? (Horatio) Do, if it will not stand. And then it started like a guilty thing Upon a fearful summons. I have heard The cock, that is the trumpet to the morn . . . and at his warning, Whether in sea or fire, in earth or air, Th'extravagant and erring spirit hies To his confine, and of the truth herein This present object made probation." (Hamlet, Act 1, Scene I, ll. 27-33,152-153,162-170)Hamlet also faces the theme certainty vs. uncertainty. Since Claudius is now king, Hamlet is confused of whether he should call him uncle or father, despite the fact he is pissed off because of this. Not only is Hamlet confused but so is Claudius because he calls him son and his cousin (nephew). "(King) Take thy fair hour, Laertes. Time be thine, And thy best graces spend it at thy will.- But now, my cousin Hamlet and my son- (Hamlet) A little more than kin and less than kind." (Hamlet, Act 1, Scene II,l1.63-66) When Laertes asks the King if he can leave to go back to school he asks for permission from his father, Polonius, who in return agree. Although Polonius agrees for him to leave for school, it does not seem as if he wants him to go back to school. It brings up the question if he wanted him to stay for protection, protection of his...

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