Hamlet and the Impact on the Audience

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Hamlet Essay

Many of the plays written by Shakespeare in his time were performed to influence his audience and provoke thought and debate the social, cultural and economic events that were taking place at that time. Shakespeare’s Hamlet, in particular, was a reflection of the events happening during the Elizabethan era. In this essay, the focus is mainly on Act IV scene IV and the speech of Hamlet and the essay focuses on answering the question of the effect Hamlet had on the audience in the Elizabethan era, specifically culturally, socially, and economically. It is the purpose of this essay to demonstrate that due to the religious turmoil of the Elizabethan era, Hamlet’s reference to God in Act IV was significant to show that people of this era had the same god, whether Catholic or Protestant. Furthermore, due to the culture at the time of studying humours, the melancholic character and psychology of Hamlet would have been of great interest to the audience. Lastly, being under the constant threat of war from the neighbouring countries of Spain and France, the audience would have related to the message of war in the play. Are you a Catholic or a Protestant? Being either a Catholic or a Protestant, is not important today but was of great importance in Shakespeare’s time and depending on whether they had a Catholic or Protestant ruler, people’s perspective on religion changed. For example, during the Elizabethan era and in Shakespeare’s time, Queen Elizabeth the first was a protestant and so England was under the Protestant rule. 1 Through the play, in Act IV Scene IV, Hamlet mentions that: “[God] made us with such large discourse,

Looking before and after, gave us not
That capability and godlike reason to fust in us unus’d” (Line 36-38 Act IV Scene IV)

This quote shows that God created people for a reason and to let his people have the ability to have power within them. During the Elizabethan era, Queen Elizabeth banned all religious plays...
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