Commentary On Act 1 Scene 5 Of Hamlet

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Act 1 Scene 5 opens with the ghost exposing to Hamlet, the protagonist that he is his father and asks him to avenge his “most foul, strange and unnatural murder”. He reveals to Hamlet that Claudius, his brother seduced his queen, an act of incest to him and then killed him by pouring the poison “Habenon” in his ear, while he lay sleeping in his orchard. The orchard, which is a microcosm of the Garden of Eden, is symbolic of the story of Adam and Eve, where, the malicious snake, (Claudius) manages to influence Eve, (Gertrude) and “kills” Adam (Old Hamlet), which builds up tension in the atmosphere. In this Scene, Shakespeare uses literary devices to build up tension. Themes such as appearance in reality, death, corruption, religion and power etc. play a huge role in this play. In Old Hamlet’s speech, Shakespeare presents the importance “of life, of crown, of queen” to Old Hamlet. The use of syntax conveys that Old Hamlet finds his life and crown more significant to him than his queen. Natural imagery is explored when describing Old Hamlet’s “blossom of [his] sins”. This can be interpreted that his sins are not imperative, compared to the “damnèd incest”, which goes against the bibles. Additionally plosive sound is portrayed, as “damnèd incest” as a hissing, snake-like, harsh sound to it. The “life” of Old Hamlet in the present is described as “horrible, oh horrible, most horrible”. This is significant of the incest, the murder, considering that he is the king and the king was always believed to be chosen by god himself or possibly the fact that he is in purgatory as he left “unhouseled, disappointed [and] unaneled”. Appearance of reality is explored as a theme when Gertrude’s incestuous sin is being discussed. Natural imagery is used again when Shakespeare, through Old Hamlet’s character decides to “leave [Gertrude] to heaven and to those thorns that
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