Context reflects values in hamlet

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Context reflects values

Context is a clear reflection of the values of any era, especially in Shakespeare's canonical play Hamlet. The events and characters in Hamlet embodies the historical context of shifting religions and political uncertainty that lead to a society imploding. Composed in the 1600s, the murder of a king and the encroachment of foreign power would have had particular resonance for the audience as there was an innate failed invasion of Britain by Spain and an attempted assassination in the Court of Queen Elizabeth I. Additionally, the character Hamlet in this Elizabethan era represents the uncertainty of Christian values and the Renaissance need for restoring the ordained hierarchy.

Hamlet was composed in a time of great political uncertainty in English history in which the Queen Elizabeth I had withstood an assassination attempt, a foiled uprising and a failed invasion by Spain. The events of Hamlet , in which a King is murdered and a country ultimately forfeited to foreign power, would have had particular resonance for an Elizabethan audience.

This disorder can be seen through the garden imagery woven through the play: "unweeded garden in two months dead". The disorder of the country is also seen through the incongruity of Gertrude and Claudius's reunion: "Funeral bak't meals are coldly furnished forth the marriage tables"

The period in which Shakespeare wrote was one of explosive growth in knowledge. The Renaissance has seen a revival of Classical learning (reflected in references to Vigil in Hamlet), world exploration was challenged and revolutionising peoples' conceptions of the universe with Ptolemaic heliocentric (sun-centered) model. Though Hamlet is an appropriation of a story told by Saxo Grammaticus, the 'Revenge Tragedy' prototype of Thomas Kyd and the Senecan Tragedy, Shakespeare transcends other tragedies by creating a protagonist that is more complex as Hamlet is a...