Hamlet, Act 1 Scene 1

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One of the best known pieces of literature throughout the world, Hamlet is also granted a position of excellence as a work of art. One of the elements which makes this play one of such prestige is the manner in which the story unfolds. Throughout time, Shakespeare has been renowned for writing excellent superlative opening scenes for his plays. By reviewing Act 1, Scene 1 of Hamlet, the reader is able to establish a clear understanding of events to come. This scene effectively sets a strong mood for the events to come, gives important background information, and introduces the main characters. With the use of this information, it is simple to see how Shakespeare manages to create stories with such everlasting appeal. In Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 1 proves to be a vital element to understanding the play. One important task it serves is to determine the mood of the play. From the beginning of the scene, the reader is aware of the atmosphere of mistrust and uncertainty lingering in the air. When the reader is first introduced to the main characters outside the castle, they are suspiciously asking each other to identify themselves. Everyone seems to be on edge from the start, as if anticipating something. Another factor that reveals a mood of wariness and caution is how the night is dark, the air is chilling, and the characters speak of "the bitter cold," (p. 9, ln.8). This evokes a mood of foreboding and mystery. At one point, Fransisco ends his watch thankfully because, "he is sick at heart," (p.9, Ln. 10). Shortly after the atmosphere is created, the reader is introduced to the idea of a ghost, which sets a mood of dread and eerieness. The men speak of the ghost with great fear, and are very apprehensive to witness it again. Also introduced is the impression of death and the supernatural. Although it is assumed that the ghost is that of the late king, it is also presented that perhaps it is a demon, posing as the king. And if it is a ghost, why has it...
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