Fomative Essay on Act 1 Scene 2 of Hamlet

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Formative Essay

The extract from act 1, scene 2 is a speech from Claudius directed towards Hamlet concerning his behaviour and grieving of his father. The form of this extract is used to give us an impression of the type of character Claudius is. This is the first time we encounter Claudius and Hamlet together in the play so this speech from Claudius is an important part in the scene as it establishes their relationship and sets the tone between the two of them. Claudius’ speech to Hamlet is additionally important as it has numerous motives. It is largely a political motive; to establish his right as king as opposed to Hamlet, assert his power and dominance over Hamlet and displaying his wish for Hamlet to move on from his father’s death. The form used in this extract draws attention to the suspicious and manipulative nature of Claudius and gives the audience an insight to the unrest amongst the court and Claudius’ nature. This is most evident in his apparent intention to be fatherly and attentive to Hamlet’s feelings seen in lines such as, Tis sweet and commendable in your nature Hamlet, To give these mourning duties to your father, To show a caring nature towards Hamlet is a direct indication to Claudius’ intentions of this speech. It is a display of kindness not only to Hamlet but also to the court and Gertrude. However, by his attempts to appear intuitive to Hamlet’s feelings and to rouse Hamlet’s spirits, Claudius is securing his role as king. If his unorthodox possession of the throne is to go smoothly he must have Hamlet behind him and not reminding the kingdom of the suspicious events that have taken place and its loss as a nation by his sombre disposition. But his following advice and manner towards Hamlet seems far from sympathetic. Much of the language used is negative and is far from consoling such as labelling Hamlet and his attitude as ‘impious stubbornness’, ‘unmanly’, ‘unschooled’ and...
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