Hamlet & Divine Right

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How does Shakespeare deal with the divine right of kings in Hamlet? What does this say about the power or ability of individuals or states to achieve justice in this world? to work against a monarchy? Who is a just ruler?. Many famous authors write novels that have a central theme which revolve around the contemporary social issues of their time. F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote about the rejection of the American dream in The Great Gatsby. Harper Lee wrote about the existence of social inequality in To Kill a Mocking Bird. In Hamlet, William Shakespeare indirectly discusses the ability for an individual to question monarchial power and absolutism during the 1600’s. He does this by writing a story about a prince, Hamlet, who questioned the political system in Denmark during that time. In this essay, I will be discussing how Shakespeare utilizes characterization of the kings in Hamlet, to describe how divine right was utilized during that era, and how this mirrors the thinking of individuals, on whether or not to question the power of the monarchy during that time. In Act I Scene I of the play, the readers are immediately given a lot of detail about their beloved King Hamlet, who has recently passed away during the war in Norway. He appears in front of two watchmen in Elsinore Castle as a diseased man wearing the armor he used during battle in Norway. He emerges in front of them in the middle of the night and doesn’t speak. King Hamlet’s appearance immediately drives hesitation and freight to the watchmen. This appearance of a dead king could be interpreted by the readers as a sign that implies that something isn’t right in the land of Denmark, that “in what particular thought to work I know not, But in the gross and Scope of mine opinion, This bodes some strange eruption to our state.” In addition, this appearance of the dead king is also what
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