Word Choice Used in Hamlet

Topics: Hamlet, Murder, Academy Award for Best Picture Pages: 2 (702 words) Published: November 12, 2012
Word Choice used through Shakespeare’s Ghost in Hamlet

Shakespeare’s use of language impressively exercises diction and imagery in this passage of Hamlet to help readers understand the contempt that Hamlet and the Ghost have for Claudius and Queen Gertrude. His dramatic sentences and word structure allow the readers to see into the minds of Hamlet and the Ghost, therefore giving insight to events and knowledge, which the rest of the characters in the play know nothing of. The Ghost describes scenes that neither Hamlet nor the reader has seen or read, so that this knowledge can be obtained. He speaks of [his] death and the adultery his wife has committed and then goes on to tell Hamlet to avenge his death.

The Ghost is most obviously Hamlet’s father, the former king of Denmark. He enters the scene and begins speaking to Hamlet about his death and how he died. He says it in a way that Hamlet will understand, without actually naming his murderer. He refers to his murderer as “the serpent that did sting thy father’s life” (1.3.9). It is obvious that this is Claudius because the Ghost later says it is the man who “now wears his crown” (1.3.10), and Claudius is the one who is ruling Denmark at this time. Hamlet then realizes this and confirms his suspicion by asking “my uncle?” (1.3.12), and the Ghost assures him that his assumption is correct. The reader has not actually read of the actual murder, but with Shakespeare’s scene between Hamlet and the ghost, they now know that it was, in fact, Claudius who murdered Hamlet’s father. Shakespeare uses imagery to describe the event in which the murder took place. He uses words such as “leprous distilment” (1.3.36) to describe the poison in which Claudius poured into the sleeping king’s ear. The description of the poisonous vial goes on to be illustrated as holding “such an enmity with blood of man” (1.3.37) explaining how it destroyed the king from the inside. The Ghost also remarks that he was killed “with all [his]...
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