How Affective Is Act 1 Scene 1 as an Introduction to the Play Hamlet?

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How Affective is Act 1 Scene 1 as an Introduction to the Play Hamlet? Straight from the opening of the play, Shakespeare manages to take hold of the audience with suspense and awe through the introduction of ghosts, allusions to regicide, talk of war, uncertainty of religion and death. Both the 17th Century and 21st Century audiences are already gripped, without Hamlet actually making an appearance. The story begins immediately with no drawn out introduction to the plot but a concise overview of the state of affairs in the court of Denmark and thus, captures the interest of the audience, Setting is partly responsible for the feeling of intrigue and uneasiness the audience is feeling throughout the first scene. The play opens high upon the battlements of a castle during night-time with a group of soldiers standing guard. Battlements are the line of defence of a castle and have a sense of vulnerability and exposure to them. It is a place mystique and an almost uncomfortable place to be. The silence is unsettling and foreboding and creates a sense that something is about to happen, something that should set the scene for the rest of the play but the audience can only speculate as to what until one of the soldiers tells them, this makes the audience hang onto every word that is said in the first scene, drawing them further into the play. The audience is instantly shocked in the first scene by a series of fast and sharp speeches exchanged between the soldiers, the uneasiness and nervousness of the sentries contributes to the effectiveness of the scene as an opening as it also makes the audience uneasy and nervous. The appearance of a ghost itself is largely responsible for the effectiveness of the scene as its entrance is abrupt, confusing and short. This would have a very real and frightening impact on the 17th Century
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