Monday, November 5, 2012

Hamlet Act 1

In Act 1/Scene 1; the image of King Hamlet’s ghost possesses great meaning. Right away the description of the ghost implies to the audience that something is wrong; the way the ghost lingers around not saying a word. Marcellus mentions that the ghost would’ve spoken if it wasn’t for the cocks’ crew; “It was about to speak when the cock crew” (128) Shakespeare leaves us hanging; if it wasn’t for the cocks interruption what would the ghost have said? The presence of the ghost also gives a feeling that there’s unfinished business.

In scene 2; I couldn’t help but to get an eerie feeling about Claudius; I feel as though his speech was awkward in a sense? He tries to incorporate sorrow for his brother’s death yet claiming his excitement for marrying his wife? We see Claudius trying to father Hamlet but Hamlet simply turns him down; for his uncle took the throne instead. We also see Hamlet’s emotions come out when he says; 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!”
  (150-157) Expressing his resentment towards his mother. In this particular scene we get a sense of sadness, depression and corruption within the court. I can’t help but to feel sorry for Hamlet? I’d be annoyed too if my uncle took the throne and married my mother? Especially when my uncle is telling me to get over my father’s death and move on?

At the end of scene 4 we see the return of the ghost, bringing back the theme of spirituality and truth. We see that the whole truth is set free in scene 5 as well as the main plot. Since Claudius has committed a great sin, it must be punished in order to make things right. Hamlet becomes outraged and vows; “So, uncle, there you are. Now to my word: It is ‘Adieu, adieu, remember me’. I have sworn’t. “ (111-113). “There’s ne’er a villain dwelling in all Denmark.” (128). Hamlet then takes on his responsibility by ending the first act saying; “The time is out of joint. O cursed spite that ever I was born to set it right! Nay, come, let’s go together.” (190).


Amanda Wolfer said...

I agree with your post. I thought it was interesting how you related Hamlet's fathers ghost to spirituality and truth. It does seem that the ghost reveals a truth although only to Hamlet. He comes down only to speak to him and express to him his true identity while leaving the other guards in the dark to fear his presence. It also seems a bit strange to me too how Hamlet's fathers brother grieves the lost yet is excited to marry his wife. How was Hamlet's father killed? Does it have something to do with his brother? That question doesn't seem to be answered in Act 1. If I had to guess, I would say Hamlet's brother was in love with his wife and the only way he could have her was to kill his own brother. I am not sure if this is true! But hopefully throughout the play, the ghost will bring about truth!

Erika Pumilia said...

I think that the reason Claudius is so quick to marry Gertrude is more than just "love" for her. I mean he most likely does not love her. He is probably just marrying her for a similar reason Richard wanted to marry his niece Elizabeth, to keep the blood line pure and to secure his position. Marriage is all about politics in Shakespeare, sad but true!

Cyrus Mulready said...

I am fascinated by your idea that the Ghost leaves us with a cliffhanger following his disappearance. Into the morning, LiZ. This really could be extended to the first act as a whole, as the Ghost appears, disappears, then leaves a host of questions for the play to untangle. It's great to think about the dramatic function of this ghost, in other words, and how he is positioned in the play. Why might Shakespeare structure the play in this way?