Hamlet: Individual and Society

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Topics: Hamlet
A text of timeless appeal is marked by effective construction of characters to support its main ideas. Discuss this statement making detailed references to the play. Hamlet, a text of timeless appeal, is largely driven not only by the sophisticated and intricate construction of its characters, but also by elements of structure and language which allow us to perceive and evaluate the fundamental ideas inherent within the play. The construction of Hamlet’s soliloquies, the constant presence of disease imagery and the overlapping revenge threads within the play assist in the creation of memorable, flawed characters that personify the themes of revenge and corruption. Furthermore, the interactions perpetuated by Hamlet, Claudius, Laertes and Gertrude serve to highlight the intensity of awareness in grappling with key dilemmas within those themes that resonate with audiences past and present. Thus Hamlet’s timeless appeal can be largely perceived through the presentation and actions of key characters within the play but remain linked to other aspects of the play which assists in its distinctiveness. The characterisation of Hamlet is the key centrepoint of the play’s timelessness due to the extended dramatisation of his inner moral dilemmas. Hamlet the character encapsulates the context in which he was created: namely, Jacobean England in the early 1600s where it was embroiled in social anxiety over the rise of the Renaissance in slow rejection of divinity and the Catholic Church. However, the Elizabethan conception of the natural order, symbolised by the divine superiority of the King, remained largely intact and the disturbance of this natural order would have catastrophic consequences for the play. Hamlet best expresses the nature of this disturbance through his first soliloquy in Act 1 Scene 2. He bemoans how the world had become “an unweeded garden/that grows to seed, things rank and gross in nature/possess it merely.” This metaphor establishes what would

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