Hamlet - Act 1 Scene 1 (Quotes and Analysis)

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  • Hamlet - Act 1 Scene 1
    • "Who's there?"
      • Fransisco says to Barnardo
      • Foreshadows the question of identity and the feeling of chaos and disorder
      • Shows caution and tone of fear and uncertainty
    • "Stand and unfold yourself"
      • A metaphor
        • the command that Fransisco uses compares Barnardo to paper
          • As if he could be unfloded to reveal more of himself
        • Relfects how Hamlet as a character unfolds and deconstructs throughout the play
    • "'tis bitter cold and I am sick at heart"
      • Creating an atmosphere of fear
      • Personification, his heart is growing sick like the cold weather
        • Personifying the cold weather as being able to have feelings and emotions
    • "this thing", "tis but our fantasy", "dreaded sight", "apparition come"
      • Ambiguous figure
      • Conflicting  Imagery - fear of the unknown
    • "Tush, tush, 'twill not appear"
      • Horatio is a scholar and an intellect
      • Horatio's rationalism and scepticism
        • Questions knowledge and intellect of the characters so willing to believe in the reality of the ghost
    • "star that's westward from the pole", "t'illume that part of heaven", "burns"
      • Biblical imagery of the 'star'
        • Contradicts the ghost that is supposed to be dreaded
      • Seemingly heavenly journey contrasts the burning - purgatory /  burn away sins
    • "Thou art a scholar, speak to it horatio", "mark it Horatio", "question it Horatio"
      • Disturbance of status, mocking tone at Horatio's scepticism and his very lack of intellect and inability to connect with the ghost
      • Enjoyment of superiority over him, which is a rarity
    • "Is it not like the king?"
      • Loyalties to the dead king
      • Lack of recognition for Claudius
    • "Norway combated", "smote the sledded Polacks on the ice"
      • King Hamlet was a warrior king
      • The death of the king left Denmark weaker than when he was around
    • "Young Fortinbras, of unimproved mettle hot and full, hath in the skirts of Norway here and there "
      • Like father like son - expectations to live up to the name of their fathers
      • Young Fortinbras wants to avenge his father
        • Hence the war preparations
    • "It spread his arms"
      • Biblical Imagery
        • The depiction of the ghost reflects the crucifiction of Jesus
    • "Shall I strike at it with my partisan"
      • Foolishness
        • The fact that this comes from Marcellus, shows the intellectual class divisions


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