Hamlet and Shakespeare

Essay by javalin08College, UndergraduateA, May 2009

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Hamlet, a Tragic PlayFinding out just one theme of Hamlet has been an argument for a long time and many agree in saying that there isn't just one theme but many sub-themes that go on throughout the whole story. Hamlet sparks many images in reader's imagination, most dark and dreadful. The imagery of disease, corruption, and decay contributes to the theme of death, and decay. Death and decay show tragedy in plays. Jean-François Vernay says in his writing Literary Contexts in Plays: William Shakespeare's "Hamlet" "Death, apart from being a great leveller, is an all-pervasive theme which crops up as various expressions of the memento mori topos in "Hamlet." The aura of tragedy and death is present from the beginning to the end of the play; the only slight reprieve of the dark mood comes in the Gravediggers' scene, but even the comedy of this scene appears morbid. The play immediately starts out with this evil dark imagery and clearly plays out through the play and not limited to the last act when majority of the cast is struck by death.

(178)In the first scene, Shakespeare establishes an atmosphere of darkness and uneasiness. The gloom of the castle, the eerie midnight darkness, and the bitter cold all create a sense of dread. The change of guard takes place and the soldiers talk in fearful tones about the ghostly figure that they saw. The soldier on duty, Francisco, feels sick at heart and eagerly welcomes Bernardo, although he admits that the night remained quiet. Francisco's sickness cannot be merely caused by the coldness of the winter night. It gives imaginative expression to the rottenness in the state of Denmark. Shakespeare marvelously establishes the place and mood within the first twenty lines of the play. The ghost mysterious silence and quick departure...