Essay by cutiececiliaHigh School, 12th gradeD-, July 2005

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Hamlet Brutal Truth

Disillusionment. Depression. Despair. These are the burning emotions

churning in young Hamlet's soul as he attempts to come to terms with his

father's death and his mother's incestuous, illicit marriage. While

Hamlet tries to pick up the pieces of his shattered idealism, he

consciously embarks on a quest to seek the truth hidden in Elsinore;

this, in stark contrast to Claudius' fervent attempts to obscure the

truth of murder. Deception versus truth; illusion versus reality. In the

play, Prince Hamlet is constantly having to differentiate amongst them.

However, there is always an exception to the rule, and in this case, the

exception lies in Act 2, Scene 2, where an "honest" conversation (sans

the gilded trappings of deceit) takes place between Hamlet and

Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern. Via the use of prose and figurative

language, Shakespeare utilizes the passage to illustrate Hamlet's view

of the cosmos and mankind.

Throughout the play, the themes of illusion and mendaciousness have

been carefully developed. The entire royal Danish court is ensnared in a

web 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 71-3

The many falsehoods and deceptions uttered in Hamlet are expressed

through 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 the

pretenses of illusion are discarded in Act 2, Scene 2, the language is

written in direct prose.

Addressing Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern, Hamlet pleads with them to

deliver up honest speech about the intent of their arrival:

"[offer up] Anything but to...