Hamlet Critical Essay

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[Bevington presents an in-depth survey of the dramatic action and major themes of Hamlet The critic initially focuses on Hamlet's role in the play, examining his interactions with the other characters as well as his several soliloquies in an attempt to determine his "tragic flaw, " the diifect in atragic hero which leads to his downfall. fA soliloquy is aspeech delivered while the speaker is alone, devised to inform the reader of what the character is thinking or to provide essential information concerning other participants in the action.] Bevington also comments on the dramatic structure of Hamlet especially Shakespeare's balancing the tragedy with many foils. A foil refers to any literary character that through strong contrast accentuates the distinctive characteristics of another.] Perhaps the most obviousfoil to Hamlet is Laertes, who acts in haste upon hearing of his father's murder, while Hamlet himself delays his revenge. The critic also assesses the play's language, describing various instances of punning fakind of wordplay which manipulates two words with dijferent meanings based on their similarity of sound] which occur throughout the text Finally, Bevington discusses metaphors such as clothing, acting, and disease, which all contribute to the predominant image patterns in the play.] It is appropriate that for modern critics Hamlet should be Shakespeare's greatest dramatic enigma, for misunderstanding is the unavoidable condition of Hamlet's quest for certainties. Not only is he baffled by riddling visions and by commands seemingly incapable of fulfillment, but he is the victim of misinterpretation by those around him. Well may the dying Hamlet urge his friend Horatio to "report me and my cause aright To the unsatisfied" [V. ii. 340], for no one save Horatio has caught more than aglimpse of Hamlet's true situation. We as omniscient audience, hearing the inner thoughts of Claudius as well as of Hamlet and learning of Polonius' or Laertes' secret...
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