Analysis of and the role of an extract of Act I scene IV in Shakespeare's "Hamlet"

Essay by EvilgodeHigh School, 12th grade June 2006

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The extract, which is the ending of the first act, sets the scene for the three next acts. It is the moment when the introduction ends and the main action of the play, the building up of tension aimed towards the tragic ending, begins. This scene carries a lot of importance as it is the scene which determines in a nutshell what is going to happen for the rest of the play. It shows another side of Hamlet's personality and gives the audience a vague hint as to what the morals of the play are.

The extract reveals Hamlet to be a competent young man who gets things done instead of endlessly procrastinating about whether or not he should carry out his duty. He swears to the ghost that he will never forget or cease to take his quest seriously, that he will carry it out as soon as he possibly can.

Hamlet seems to take the entire affair as if his life depended on it, as he makes the other characters in the scene swear by his sword that they will never repeat what he is going to tell them. This was at the time an unbreakable oath. On the other hand, he appears to be a dramatic type of person. He says more than he needs to, and beats around the bush instead of getting straight to the point, as can be seen when he sermons Horatio and Marcellus. This is reminiscent of Polonius' character, of saying what could be said in one sentence in a paragraph. He seems to be infatuated with the idea, still in shock from the news that he received from the ghost. The shock would be all the more profound as he was depressed before the scene in question, it comes as...