(Hamlet) Religion

  • Created by: NHow02
  • Created on: 28-05-19 09:33
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  • Religion
    • Claudius
      • 'bow, stubborn knees' (Act 3, Scene 3)
        • Command 'bow' suggests he's incapable of genuinely good behavior
          • His words are a facade because he fears Hell
          • Reference to Wittenberg = Shakespeare rejected Catholic indulgences
      • 'incestuous sheets'
        • Sinister sibilance creates a perverse effect
          • Also suggests a secretive affair-like relationship (underlying corruption)
          • Leviticus (rules on incest could determine who was able to inherit property or even become king)
    • Revenge
      • 'To cut his throat i'th'church'
        • Hamlet hesitated to kill Claudius in prayer
          • Critics found Hamlet's thoughts bloody, yet Laertes' actions are worse
          • Hyppolyte Taine: 'the story of moral poisoning'
        • Machiavellian- 'The Prince' in 1532 (one had to be 'ruthless' to be the best ruler)
    • Death
      • 'There is special providence in the fall of a sparrow'
        • Biblical reference: symbol for God’s infinite control & care
          • Hamlet accepts death peacefully
        • 'providence' = God's intervention (natural order)
        • Small bird suggests insignificance(omen of death)
      • 'weedy trophies'
        • Oxymoron suggests as a highborn lady she is partially exempt from a suicide's funeral
          • Suicide was seen as a sin as your life was not your own, but belonged to God
        • Suggests her virginity is her only virtue, as flowers symbolise fertility
          • Ophelia's 'trophies' are corrupted by society and her means of survival destroyed
        • 'unweeded garden'
          • Bible teaches that women are subordinate and to blame for the fall of man
            • References the Garden of Eden (but overgrown)
    • Ghosts
      • 'my father's spirit'
        • Quick to accept it as his father (needs guidance)
          • Pronoun takes responsibility of father's soul
        • Catholic idea of purgatory (Hamlet also trapped by revenge)
          • Earl of Southampton& father known as Catholic
          • Swinburne: "the strong conflux of contending forces."
        • Protestant audience would have been more wary (devil in disguise)
          • Swinburne: "the strong conflux of contending forces."


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