Hamlet Analysis

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Hamlet Analysis
Compare language features and language change in Hamlet’s soliloquy
Hamlet is a 16th century play written by William Shakespeare. The story is about a young man named Hamlet whose father has passed away and his mother has liaisons with Hamlet’s uncle, his father’s brother. The soliloquy describes Hamlet’s feelings and emotions while he is going through a very difficult time.
During the course of the soliloquy there are many examples of features of language change. For example, ‘that this too too solid flesh would melt’. Back when Hamlet was wrote (1500’s) this grammar was correct and the use of repetition was used very frequently. However, this would now be considered grammatically incorrect. The use of a contraction also highlights language change in this soliloquy. ‘fix’d’ is used as a contraction and nowadays the word ‘fixed’ is used instead of this. This is an example of how language has developed since Early Modern English.
There are a quite a few references to religion during the soliloquy. An example of this is the reference to Hercules used. ‘Than I to Hercules.’ Hercules in the Greek religion is the son of Zeus, who is the leader of all the gods. Hamlet is basically saying here that his father was a very good man and he is comparing his father to that of the almighty Zeus as he admired and looked up to him. He is also comparing his family to the Gods as he could be referencing the power they hold in the real world is similar to that of the Gods in the world they live in. The Middle English period contained only 1 regular noun inflection which was the -s ending. This is different to Late Modern English were there are many different inflections. The use of an apostrophe in the genitive singular was optional in the sixteenth century. This has been used often in the soliloquy and it is evident that there was no agreed form of spelling here as the apostrophe is optional and not as many grammatical rules consisted then compared to now.

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