Hamlet William Shakespeare
Publication l Written 1600 or 1601 l Probably l First first performed in July 1602 published in printed form in 1603 l Larger print edition in 1604.
Johann Gutenberg l Johannes Gensfleisch zur Laden zum Gutenberg (c. 1398 – February 3, 1468) l German goldsmith and inventor l Invented movable type printing in Europe (ca. 1450). l The Gutenberg Bible, also known as the 42 -line bible, high aesthetic and technical quality.
Setting l Denmark in the late medieval period.
The Story l Danish l Uncle prince murders the prince's father, l marries l and his mother, claims the throne.
Hamlet l The Prince of Denmark, l the protagonist. l the son of Queen Gertrude l And the late King Hamlet l the nephew of the present king, Claudius.
Hamlet continued l melancholy, bitter, and cynical, l disgust for his mother's sexuality. l reflective and thoughtful l indecisive and hesitant l prone to rash and impulsive acts l studied at the University of Wittenberg
Claudius l The King of Denmark l Hamlet's uncle l the play's antagonist. l calculating, ambitious l sexual appetites and lust for power l but shows signs of guilt and human feeling l love for Gertrude seems sincere.
Gertrude l The Queen of Denmark l Hamlet's mother l recently married to Claudius. l Gertrude loves Hamlet deeply l she is a shallow, weak woman l seeks affection and status l more than moral rectitude or truth.
l Ham. O that this too solid flesh would melt, Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew! Or that the Everlasting had not fix'd His canon 'gainst self-slaughter! O God! How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable Seem to me all the uses of this world! Fie on't! O fie! 'tis an unweeded garden, That grows to seed; things rank and gross in nature Possess it merely. That it should come to this! But two months dead!--nay, not so much, not two: So excellent a king; that was, to this,
l Hyperion to a satyr; so loving to my mother, That he might not beteem the winds of heaven Visit her face too roughly. Heaven and earth! Must I remember? Why, she would hang on him As if increase of appetite had grown By what it fed on: and yet, within a month, -Let me not think on't, --Frailty, thy name is woman!-A little month; or ere those shoes were old With which she followed my poor father's body Like Niobe, all tears; --why she, even she, --
l O God! a beast that wants discourse of reason, Would have mourn'd longer, --married with mine uncle, My father's brother; but no more like my father Than I to Hercules: within a month; Ere yet the salt of most unrighteous tears Had left the flushing in her galled eyes, She married: -- O, most wicked speed, to post With such dexterity to incestuous sheets! It is not, nor it cannot come to good; But break my heart, --for I must hold my tongue!
Polonius l The Lord Chamberlain l a pompous, conniving old man. l Polonius is the father of Laertes and Ophelia.
Horatio l Hamlet's close friend l Students at University of Wittenberg. l Horatio is loyal. l Horatio remains alive to tell Hamlet's story.
Ophelia l Polonius's daughter l beautiful young woman l in love with Hamlet. l Ophelia is a sweet, innocent young girl l obeys her father and her brother, Laertes. l Maidenly unitl death, singing songs about flowers.
Laertes l l l Polonius's son Ophelia's brother Most of the play in France. Passionate and quick to action Laertes is a foil for the reflective Hamlet.
Fortinbras l l l The young Prince of Norway father the king (also named Fortinbras) killed by Hamlet's father (also named Hamlet). Fortinbras wishes to attack Denmark to avenge his father's honor another foil for Prince Hamlet.
The Ghost l The specter of Hamlet's recently deceased father. l The ghost, claims to have been murdered by Claudius, l calls upon Hamlet to avenge him. l Angel or devil l never definitively resolved.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern l bumbling courtiers l former friends of Hamlet from Wittenberg l summoned by Claudius to discover Hamlet's strange behavior. l Look for type of characterization: static, flat, etc.
Themes l Themes: l Fundamental l often universal ideas
Theme of Certainty/Uncertainty to Hamlet l the action continually postponed l a misleading fiend? l reliable knowledge about its own death l or is the ghost itself deluded? l Unique
More Questions l Guilty by watching? l the afterlife? l uncertainties our lives are built upon l evaluate one another's actions.
Theme of Action l l l Related to theme of certainty. need for certainty emotional, ethical, and psychological factors.
Acting Recklessly l Possible to act in a controlled, purposeful way. l Hamlet prefers to do it blindly, recklessly, and violently.
Acting Foolishly l Claudius action ends in his conscience being tormented. . . Dies. l Laertes resolves no distraction, but is Claudius’s pawn.
Theme of Death l Hamlet obsessed with death l Considers death from all angles.
Aftermath of Death l spiritual aftermath of death--ghost l the physical remainders of the dead-Yorick's skull l themes of spirituality, truth, and uncertainty l Death would bring truth in an ambiguous world.
Revenge to Death l Connection of death to revenge
Suicide l To be or not to be, whether. . . l morally legitimate? l longs for death to end suffering l fears eternal suffering in hell– Catholic prohibition of suicide.
“To be or not to be” l To be, or not to be: that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep; No more; and by a sleep to say we end The heartache and the thousand natural shocks That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation Devoutly to be wish'd.
l To die, to sleep; To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub; For in that sleep of death what dreams may come When we have shuffled off this mortal coil, Must give us pause: there's the respect That makes calamity of so long life; For who would bear the whips and scorns of time, The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely, The pangs of despised love, the law's delay, The insolence of office and the spurns That patient merit of the unworthy takes, When he himself might his quietus make With a bare bodkin? who would fardels bear,
l To grunt and sweat under a weary life, But that the dread of something after death, The undiscover'd country from whose bourn No traveller returns, puzzles the will And makes us rather bear those ills we have Than fly to others that we know not of? Thus conscience does make cowards of us all; And thus the native hue of resolution Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought, And enterprises of great pith and moment With this regard their currents turn awry, And lose the name of action. - Soft you now! The fair Ophelia! Nymph, in thy orisons Be all my sins remember'd.
Motifs l Motifs are recurring structures, contrasts, or literary devices that can help to develop and inform the text's major themes.
Motif of Misogyny l Greek misogynia, from misein to hate + gynē woman. l cynical, even neurotic, about women l connection between female sexuality and moral corruption.
“Frailty, thy name is woman” l Ophelia and Gertrude. l Ophelia to go to a nunnery rather than experience the corruptions of sexuality and exclaims of Gertrude, "Frailty, thy name is woman"
Motif of Ears and Hearing l Words for truth or deceit
Use of Words l l images of ears and hearing, Claudius's murder of the king Hamlet's claim to Horatio that "I have words to speak in thine ear will make thee dumb". "the whole ear of Denmark" is "Rankly abused…. ".
Symbols l Symbols are objects, characters, figures, or colors used to represent abstract ideas or concepts.
Regicide l Etymology: l Latin reg-, rex king + English -cide — more at royal l Date: l circa 1548
Yorick’s Skull l Hamlet discovers in the graveyard in the first scene of Act V.
Different Aspects of Death Inevitability l disintegration of the body. l "get you to my lady's chamber, and tell her, let her paint an inch thick, to this favor she must come"—no one can avoid death. l He also traces the skull's mouth and says, "Here hung those lips that I have kissed I know not how oft, “--physical consequences of death. l
Decay of the Human Body l noting that Polonius will be eaten by worms, l that even kings are eaten by worms l dust from the decayed body of Alexander the Great might be used to stop a hole in a beer barrel.