(Hamlet) Revenge/Justice

  • Created by: NHow02
  • Created on: 27-05-19 12:03
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  • Revenge/ Justice
    • Cycle
      • Hyperbole: 'fall ten times treble on that cursed head'
        • Presents a reflection of Hamlet (play acts as a mirror for Hamlet)
          • O'Toole: 'Death is the picture, not he frame'
        • Identifies as Malcontent (like Hamlet) - cycle of grief & revenge
      • 'sick at heart'/'that I might be the organ'
        • Claudius presents the 'body' of the state (leads others to corruption/ revenge)
          • Though blood revenge no longer had any legal place in society, many sympathised with it still
        • Opportunities for direct anatomical dissection were restricted
          • Personification of state structure (discovery of anatomy e.g. Vesalius)
    • Morals
      • 'To cut his throat i'th'church'
        • Machiavellian- 'The Prince' in 1532 (one had to be 'ruthless' to be the best ruler)
        • 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'
        • 'Revenge should have no bounds'
          • Claudius represents the hypocrisy of faith (lack of genuine devotion)
            • Shakespeare criticises the catholic use of indulgences
      • 'when we have shuffled off this mortal coil'
        • sibilance of 'shuffled' creates a reluctant effect
          • Revenge tragedy often ends with the hero's death
        • 'coil' creates an image of entrapment
        • Suicidal thoughts (a sin in Elizabethan times)
          • Confuses 'to die, to sleep - '
            • Hamlet is unable to take action due to his over-contemplation of death
            • Shakespeare challenges Kyd's Spanish Tragedy (inability to act)
    • Duty
      • 'my father's spirit'
        • Quick to accept it as his father (needs guidance)
          • Pronoun takes responsibility of father's soul
            • Protestant audience would have been more wary (devil in disguise)
        • Catholic idea of purgatory (Hamlet also trapped by revenge)
          • Hamlet's struggle reflects religious division (reformation & restoration)
          • Swinburne: "the strong conflux of contending forces."


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