Author: William Shakespeare
Year of publication: 1603
Setting and time period: 16th century Denmark
* Hamlet- indecisive, isolates himself, plans his “antic disposition” * Claudius- murder of King Hamlet, Hamlet’s uncle and stepfather, guilty * Ophelia- Polonius’s daughter, Hamlet’s love, drowns Secondary Characters:
* Horatio- Hamlet’s friend
* Polonius- protective of Ophelia, believes Hamlet is affected by Ophelia’s love * Gertrude- Hamlet’s mother and the queen
* Laertes- Polonius’s son and Ophelia’s brother, wants to kill Hamlet after Ophelia dies Point of view and other notable techniques:
Most people believe that Hamlet was written in the 3rd person point of view. However, some literary critics argue that Shakespeare’s characters possess individuality too great to be bound under a fixed point of view. Like actual people, they act with intentions we cannot completely comprehend. This lack of fixed point of view allows the work to be up to interpretation, as it has been analyzed in a variety of ways.
Shakespeare embodies various structural, literary, and stylistic techniques in his play. He often switches between the use of blank verse and prose when dealing with his different characters. He also uses iambic pentameter throughout the play. Examples of this can be most easily found in Hamlet’s “To be or not to be” monologue in Act III. Favorite stylistic techniques of Shakespeare include soliloquy, particularly those uttered by Hamlet throughout the play (the “To be or not to be…” soliloquy remains one of the most famous in English literature). He also uses various allusions to both biblical and mythological references throughout Hamlet, including a reference to the Garden of Eden in the Ghost of Hamlet’s father’s graphic description of his murder. Imagery is another favorite technique of Shakespeare, as he uses his words to paint images of violence, chaos, beauty, and darkness....
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