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Intro to Hamlet

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by

Helen Regan

on 3 September 2018

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Transcript of Intro to Hamlet

Themes and Ideas
Revenge Tragedy
Context
Hamlet is the first tragedy in Shakespeare's series of great tragedies which is believed to be published in between 1601 and 1603.
Essential Elements of a tragedy
In tragedies. we usually see the random interaction of external forces and human weakness. The result threatens the well-being of the individual or society.
Social, Cultural and intellectual contexts
Christianity:
Adaptations
An Introduction to Hamlet
Hamlet centers on the problems arising from love, death, and betrayal, without offering the audience a decisive and positive resolution
Shakespeare borrowed for his plays ideas and stories from earlier literary works. Possible sources for Hamlet include a twelfth-century Latin history of Denmark (Saxo Grammaticus) and Histoires Tragiques (François de Belleforest)
Corruption, disease, poison, death, family and false appearances play important roles in the philosophical questions that arise in Hamlet.
Revenge is a driving force of the plot. If nobody was seeking revenge, we would have no story.
There is a five-part structure:
1. A
revelation
is made to the chosen avenger by the victim of a murder, usually a ghost. The revelation consists of an account of a past event that needs to be avenged.
2. The avenger
plans
the revenge.
3. The avenger
confronts
the intended victim.
4. The avenger
partially executes
the plan.
5. The avenger
completes
the act of vengeance.
Tragic hero (TH)
A person of status
TH must be motivated by a serious course of action.
TH inevitably meets with grave physical/mental suffering
Fate is working against TH
Audience must identify with TH (pity/fear for them)
TH must recognise that there is divine purpose behind human activity
TH must face their destiny
Shakespearean tragedy depicts first the violation, and then the restoration, of order.
Purgatory ("with all my imperfections on my head")
Confession/prayer/contrition: Power of divine mercy
Suicide
Superstition:
Ghosts appearing - devil in disguise
Astrology: the planets and stars affect the human order.
Full transcript