Hamlet: Act 1 Assignment
1. In Hamlets speech on line 165 of Act 1, Scene 5, he makes his friends swear upon his sword that they will not reveal anything that they had seen or heard that night. In this scene the sword is a symbol much like the cross; if an individual was asked to swear upon a cross they are likely to keep that promise because they know that they are making a promise with God or with a greater power. He later goes on to make them insist that if they believe his actions are “strange or odd” they must not question his motives. The friends swear. 2. The image of hell was brought up numerous times throughout the first act of the play. The first image was brought about in Act 1, Scene 4, Line 41, when Hamlet is calling upon the ghost and asks if the ghost is from the “airs of Heaven or blasts from Hell”. In this line Hamlet is implying that the “airs” from heaven are soft and gentle where as the “blasts” from Hell are forceful and angry. Shakespeare talks about the winds as if the ghost were to present its self through a certain intensity; this intensity whether strong or soft would imply its derivation. The image of hell reoccurred on line 5 of Act 1, Scene 5, as the ghost explains to Hamlet that he must return to his home of “sulph’rous and tormenting flames”. Shakespeare uses the image of red, tantalizing flames to stress to the reader the intensity of hell. 3. The references to remembering were highlighted throughout the third and fifth scene of act one. On line 84 of Act 1, Scene 3, Laertes is biding Ophelia a farewell and asks her to “remember well\What [he had] said to [her]”. The act of remembering in this scene is directed towards Ophelia from her brother who is attempting to convince her that Hamlet is too old for her and that she should stay away. To remember, in Ophelia’s case, is important in protecting ones heart and is a contributing factor to the possible foreshadowing of Ophelia becoming over protective of opening up to love....
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