The Dramatic Significance in William Shakespeare's Hamlet
Ans. Hamlet is the most complex but also the most entertaining of all
Shakespeare's plays. It deals with the central character Hamlet a
young man who is of an intellectual thoughtful and philosophical
nature. The play is about how this young man is asked to do an action
that is beyond him. The ghost of his beloved father appears to him and
enjoins him the sacred task of avenging his murder. This is an action
that the morally good Hamlet finds difficult to do.
The opening scene in almost all of Shakespeare's plays includes minor
insignificant characters whose purpose is to set the tone of the play,
to introduce some of the main themes, and to prepare us for the
entrance of the protagonist. The scene with its darkness the bitterly
cold night the stillness and silence with the "not a mouse stirring"
sets an eerie tone which catches the attention of the audience.
The imagery of sickness and disease which runs though out the play is
introduced when Fransisco complains of being "sick at heart" thus the
theme order and disorder and the idea that "time is out joint" is
subtly introduced. The scene also provides a sense of mystery, tension
and fear which captures the audiences attention. We are not
immediately told who or what has been responsible for the tension, but
Marcellus only says "what, has this thing appeared again tonight?"
Horatio has been invited by the two guards men since he is a scholar
and a sceptic and therefore would provide a reasonable explanation for
"this dreaded sight" and "this apparition"the appearance of the ghost
is a warning of something "strange eruption in the state" and the
audience is forewarned that all is not right in the state of Denmark.
The ghost is none other than King Hamlet. "It is in the same figure
like the king that is dead"
The appearance of the ghost shocks all of them especially Horatio. He
has lost his skepticism. He interprets the ghost's appearance as a bad
omen for Denmark. The ghost does not speak to Horatio which indicates
that his purpose and object is not to meet Horatio. Horatio recognizes
the ghost in the same armour that he wore "when he the ambitious
Norway combated". The reference to the death of old Fortinbras of
Norway at the hand of the old king Hamlet of Demark is important.
Horatio mentions this as the "combat" in which our valiant Hamlet fore
saw this side of our known world esteemed him "did slay this
Fortinbras." This background is important because it introduces the
important notion of a son avenging his father's death.
The movement of the ghost is described in two ways. He is called
"majestical" and immediately after Horatio says that it started "like
a guilty thing". This establishes the ambiguous nature of the ghost.
We cannot be sure if the ghost is...