Hamlet Act 1 Scene 1

Essay by sneharHigh School, 11th gradeA, November 2014

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Hamlet, written by William Shakespeare opens with the conversation of two sentinels outside the gun platform of Elsinore Castle. Right in the beginning of a play, the confusion starts and there is strong foreshadowing of the violence that is to come. The first line of the play is Barnardo asking "Who's there?". This foreshadows the many questions that are yet to be asked later in the play- such as 'Is Hamlet faking his insanity or is he actually crazy?' and 'Is the ghost actually King Hamlet?".

A tense atmosphere is created from the start and there is a sense of foreboding. The import theme of indecisiveness is introduced. It is ironic when Barnardo says "Long live the king!" because the king is already dead, and many of the main characters die later in the play. Before Francisco leaves, he says he is "sick at heart", which shows the unrest in the kingdom and creates an image of sickness.

This introduces one of the main themes of the play, the theme of disease. When Barnardo asks Francisco if he's had "quiet guard", it shows that he was expecting something to happen. A tense atmosphere is built to prepare for the appearance of the ghost.

When Horatio and Marcellus enter, Marcellus asks if "this thing" had appeared again tonight. This builds suspense for the audience, and causes them to wonder what the "thing is. Is it actually a ghost, or what is it? This introduces the theme of appearance versus reality and the theme of uncertainty. The ghost appears, but it is actually there? And is it a ghost of the dead king or just an evil spirit? Horatio seems like a rationalist, and says "tis but our fantasy" and doesn't believe in the ghost. This uncertainty can be connected to...