William Shakespeare (1564 - 1616) is probably the most famous English playwright and poet whose life has been open to interpretation almost as much as his works. However, interpreting his works proves to be a very complicated and time-consuming process. Many scholars have devoted their entire lives to reading and understanding Shakespeare's works and educating others as to how to decipher the 16th century writer's enigmatic style of writing. Here is an attempt to do just that, in one of Shakespeare's most infamous tragic plays, Hamlet. Five passages below will be summarized, analyzed, and explained in an attempt to further enlighten the reader as to what exactly is occurring in each scene. What each passage reveals about the character, or the overall plot, and any thematic relevance will also be explicated. The scenes and lines are given before each synopsis and analysis; it may be helpful to have a copy of the play at hand while reading this composition.
Act 1: Scene 2 - Lines 129-159 (Hamlet):
Hamlet had just asked his uncle, the king, if he could return to the university in Wittenberg, but both the king and his mother quickly denied his request. Angered by this decision, but still desiring to respect his mother's wishes, Hamlet went off alone and mused over all of his troubles regarding his father's death, his uncle's acquisition of the throne, and his mother's hasty marriage to his uncle.
The first 9 lines of the speech are basically curses against Claudius' rejection of Hamlet's request to return to the university in Wittenberg. Because he had not been permitted to go, he went into a speech that served as ventilation for his anger and his angst toward his father's death, his mother's marriage to Claudius, and Claudius' decision to coerce Hamlet to stay in...