"To Be Or Not To Be".

1191 words - 5 pages

Theme: Hamlet is one of the most celebrated tragediesfilled with several different themes and isfull of varying imagery.I. IntroductionII. ThemesA. DeceptionB. RevengeC. Appearance vs. realityD. Ambition and powerE. Disease and poisonIII. DeathIV. ImageryA. MetaphorsB. SimilesC. ImagesV. Conclusion."To Be or Not To Be.'Hamlet is one of Shakespeare's most celebrated tragedies. Written in 1602 during the English civil war, it was first believed a lost tragedy by an unknown English author, found in a collection of stories. It was first written as poetry. The actual Castle Elsinore was not built until after the play was written. The text indicates the time and place through dialogue. The play focuses on the central conflict of "to be or not to be." In Act II, Hamlet says to Gertrude, "A bloody deed, dear mother as bad as kill a king and marry his brother." Contrary to popular belief, the real tragedy of the play is not Hamlet's himself, but that of Polonius's family, whose deaths were not a result of their own sin, but are manipulated by Hamlet and Claudius.The themes present in this play are concentrated in two major issues: the murder of Hamlet's father and the marriage of Gertrude to Hamlet's uncle. The themes of deception, revenge, ambition, politics and power, disease and poison will be discussed in the order given.The first is deception. Claudius essentially deceives all of Elsinore. He pretends to care for Gertrude, her son, and his deceased brother, but he really marries Gertrude to acquire the throne. He presents himself to others with the people's best interest at heart. Hamlet uses a little deception of his own when he aims his revenge plot (another theme) at Claudius. He employs a thespian troupe, "Players", to act out a skit that is intended to make Claudius reveal his guilt. Hamlet thinks of this idea after his father's ghost makes one of several appearances. The first was to Marcellus on a night watch. The unnatural presence of the ghost hints that something is wrong. According to Marcellus "something is rotten in the state of Denmark," after he sees Hamlet following the ghost. The ghost demands retribution for his cruel death. Hamlet knows he must avenge his father's death but is reluctant to act on this knowledge. The ghost says, "revenge this most foul and unnatural murder." He has promised to prove his love and duty to his father's memory. Hamlet's reluctance to act on his knowledge of the evil crime that has been done stems from his father's ghost. He is not sure whether to believe what is before his eyes or if he has imagined the whole thing because he is upset over his father's death. Here comes the next theme of appearance versus reality or of the supernatural versus macabre. The ghost returns just to give Hamlet's superego just cause to kill Claudius.The next theme is ambition and power. The thought of gaining power and the throne tempted Claudius to kill Hamlet's father. This is considered breaking moral bonds since he...

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