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Interpreting Hamlet as a personal or a political play

Personal examination of character and family relationships
Play that reflects on the political climate of Shakespeare's time or a comment on the problems in
society ­ power balances, corruption and inequality
It can be on both levels as Shakespeare would…

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o Falling of Hamlet's mental state, the fall of the kingdom, falling into evil
Ophelia's madness
o Caused by the so called women's weakness of the mind
o Ophelia takes over the role of Hamlet as the madman in court
o They are parallels of each other ­ Ophelia simply…

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o Duality and the merging of binary oppositions
o Two figures appear to be different but they are drawn to each other
Claudius and Hamlet
o Heaven and hell, high and low
o Reason and passion, god and beast, civilization and beast, good and evil, sin and
absolution, conception and…

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Corruption and decay
Disease and rotting bodies
Death and decay
Theatre and performance
Repeated use of theatre to reflect Shakespeare's own voice as a playwright who wants to
create change
Symbol of false pretence and deceit
Acting as ironically a true lasting representation of some aspect of society…

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o Madness as the corruption of the soul - Ophelia and Hamlet
o Corruption of the body and decay in death
Hamlet's cynicism
o Idea of a goal and targeting people/goals
o Idea of victimization
o Hamlet as an arrow - being sent away

Wordplay - doubling, repetition, antithecal…

Page 6

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Hamlet advocates for using words precisely and to actually create meaning

o Hamlet's soliloquies
Narrative and perspective into a particular character
Most soliloquies reveal the truth, Hamlet does not reveal, instead he questions
and explores
Even in his soliloquies he is reserved and silent, deciding against sharing with

Page 7

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Some are so powerful they can stand alone
Hamlet and the Murder of Gonzago/the mousetrap
This is linked to an important theme of 'playing' 'acting' and 'deceit
Representation of the 3 worlds in Hamlet
Hamlet's mind
Physical world of Denmark
Dramatic fiction and play
The play represents Hamlet's need to…


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