Characterisation of Hamlet

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Literature Tutorial Discussion- Shakespeare's Hamlet

What techniques have been used to construct the character of Hamlet?

Shakespeare used various conventions and techniques to structure the world renowned play Hamlet. Techniques can be divided into two major categories, that is; Verbal and Non-Verbal elements.

Dialogue plays a major role in helping to build a character. Characters can be revealed through what others say about them as well as through their own words. Hamlet reveals himself through soliloquies, asides, monologues and the conversations he participates in with other people.

In Hamlet's first soliloquy, the audience's opinions of Hamlet are changed, as they are made aware of the circumstances affecting his attitude, behaviour and mood. Throughout the soliloquy, Hamlet uses strong imagery to conjure images relating to his depressive emotions and hopeless thoughts of desperation. He proclaimed "How weary, stale, flat and unprofitable seem to me all the uses of this world." Line 133. He could no longer see the purpose of life; he felt as though he had no reason to live. He used a metaphor to compare and contrast his late father to his uncle, who had taken the throne as king and married his mother. "Hyperion to a satyr," Line 140. His resent towards Claudius was expressed in the metaphor as he labelled him a satyr, an ugly and lecherous creature. He then went on to announce the disgust with which he regarded his mother. "Frailty thy name is woman," Line 146. In his annoyance and frustration he generalised all women as weak. Every line of the soliloquy revealed further details of events prior to the current situation. Hamlet's disturbance, fury and shock at his mother having married his uncle were expressed throughout and he despised himself because he was the son of an unfaithful mother. The fact that he had to be silent increased his inner turmoil and frustration. Many aspects of his emotional state and inner conflict were revealed to the...
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