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Hamlet Explication Project
Transcript of Hamlet Explication Project
Isabel Krause Hamlet Explication Putting the Scene in Context Paraphrased Passage Remorseful Literary Terms Tone of the Passage Syntax Relation to Larger Work "But, O, what form of prayer can serve my turn?"
(lines 16-17) Act III Scene III Passage Summary Mood of the Passage Imagery and Sounds Diction Effect of the Passage
on the Reader Questions?
Anyone...Anyone? King Claudius reflects on selfish actions
Realizes that he is not truly sorry
Gives excuses, but fails
Questions power of prayer, decides to pray anyways 1) What if this cursed hand/ Were thicker than itself with brother's blood
2)Bow, stubborn knees
3) Be soft as sinews of the newborn babe Hyperbole Definition:
Extreme exaggeration used to over-dramatize an incident and thus emphasize a certain point. Example:
"O, my offence is rank it smells to heaven…" Function: Sets tone of passage
Establishes a connection Allusion Alliteration Apostrophe Definition:
Literary device used to imply a connection between two events,
things, or places; creates a comparison between two occurrences
that heightens the dramatization of the plot and likens the
actual event to the one being implied. Example:
"It hath the primal eldest curse upon't, A brother's murder. Pray can I not." Function: Cain and Able
Compares more than just the murder-the men
Reflects Claudius's character in one image Definition:
Constant repetition of an initial sound or set of sounds for rhetorical effect. The repetition of the sound is used to emphasize the meaning of the words. Example:
"My crown, mine own ambition and my queen." Function: Sounds emphasize Claudius's satisfaction
Emphasize significance of phrase
Phrase sticks out in reader's mind
Materialism discovered Definition:
The act of addressing someone or something that is not physically present, dramatizing a scene by personifying a noun or characteristic. Example:
"Help, angels! Make assay!" Function: Last attempt
Admits needed help
Shows bent pride Internal Conflict Definition:
A conflict that results within the mind of a character. These conflicts arise from a character attempting to make a 'correct' decision. Thus the reader is able to see the character's divided mind, aiding the reader in further understanding the character's actions. Example:
"My stronger guilt defeats my strong intent..." Function: Motivation and Guilt-two sides of war
Murderer-yes...but emotional murderer-dramatic
Ethos and pathos Fast to slow paced passage-> Tension Change in POV- Claudius always associated 'bad' guy Still rooting for Hamlet, but passage makes Claudius dynamic and reveals much Suspension, suspension, suspension;Hamlet? Procrastinate or act? Original Paraphrase Functions as a climatic break Builds Claudius's character- dynamic, respect Still criminal, but deeper Themes: Guilt
Internal Struggle Connection with Hamlet O, my offence is rank it smells to heaven; 1
It hath the primal eldest curse upon’t,
A brother’s murder. Pray can I not,
Though inclination be as sharp as will:
My stronger guilt defeats my strong intent; 5
And, like a man to double business bound,
I stand in pause where I shall first begin,
And both neglect. What if this cursed hand
Were thicker than itself with brother’s blood,
Is there not rain enough in the sweet heavens 10 Oh my sin is so awful God can smell it. 1
It is as the oldest sin committed by Cain,
Brother killing brother. I cannot pray
Although my want is as intense as my will
Guilt is stronger than both. 5
And like someone torn between two desires
I hesitate to choose one, and both
Remain unchosen. What does it
Matter if my brother's blood stains my hands?
Won't God's pardon wipe them 10 To wash it white as snow? Whereto serves mercy
But to confront the visage of offence?
And what's in prayer but this twofold force,
To be forstalled ere we come to fall,
Or pardon'd being down? Then I'll look up; 15
My fault is past. But, O, what form of prayer
Can serve my turn? 'Forgive me my foul murder'?
That cannot be; since I am still possess'd
Of those effects for which I did the murder,
My crown, mine own ambition and my queen. 20 Clean and pure as a dove? Doesn't mercy exist
To pardon criminals of their crimes?
And why is prayer used if not for two purposes,
To prevent us from committing a sin
Or to forgive us if we have erred? Time to pray. 15
I have already sinned. But, how exactly do I phrase
My prayer, "Please excuse that awful murder?"
That won't work, because I still have and enjoy
The spoils I obtained from my sin:
The throne, my greed, and my wife 20 May one be pardon'd and retain the offence?
In the corrupted currents of this world
Offence’s gilded hand may shove by justice,
And oft ’tis seen the wicked prize itself
Buys out the law: But ’tis not so above; 25
There is no shuffling, there the action lies
In his true nature; and we ourselves compell'd,
Even to the teeth and forehead of our faults,
To give in evidence. What then? What rests?
Try what repentance can: what can it not? 30 Can one be forgiven and still keep his spoils?
In this tainted and stained world
Crime often eludes Righteousness
And it frequently happens that those same spoils
Are what dupe Justice. But that can't be in Heaven. 25
There's no way to avoid the Law. All crimes are
Seen for what they are, and sinners are forced
To confront even their smallest sins and accept
Their just punishments. So what? What to do?
I might as well try to repent, it won't hurt. 30 Yet what can it when one can not repent?
O wretched state! O bosom black as death!
O limed soul, that, struggling to be free,
Art more engaged! Help, angels! Make assay!
Bow, stubborn knees; and, heart with strings of steel,
Be soft as sinews of the newborn babe! 36
All may be well. (kneels) But my sin is so bad it won't help either.
Oh what awful incidents! Oh corrupted heart!
Oh uneasy spirit that, trying to break free from sin,
Becomes ever more entangled in it. Assist me Angels!
Kneel, inflexible knees and impassive heart,
Be as flexible as the tendons of an infant child. 36
Maybe things will turn out for the better. (kneels) "May one be pardon'd and retain the offence?"
(line 21) "Though inclination be as sharp as will:
My stronger guilt defeats my strong intent"
(lines 4 and 5) "But, O, what form of prayer
Can serve my turn? 'Forgive me my foul murder'?" (line 17) "O wretched state! O bosom black as death!
O limed soul" (lines 32 and 33) "Offence's gilded hand may shove by justice
And oft 'tis seen the wicked prize itself
Buys out the law" (line 23-25) Parallel structure
Exclamation points Question followed by rhetorical question word choice emphasis circulates back to tone and mood Sympathetic Apprehensive "May one be pardon'd and retain the offence?"
(line 21) Hopeful "Bow, stubborn knees"(line 35) Difficult Words Difficult Words II Hath - has (line 2)
Whereto - to what purpose, place, or end (line 11)
Visage - face; usually in respect to facial features; appearance (line 12)
Forestalled - to prevent; hinder (line 14)
Ere - before (line 14)
Turn - situation; problem (line 17) Possess'd - to have in
Possession; have acquired (line 18)
Gilded - lined with gold (line 23)
Limed - covered; dirty with sin (line 33)
Assay - to examine or analyze (line 34)
Sinews - tendon; often the source of strength or power (line 36) different words similar meaning (pardon - forgive;
offence - attributes of the crime) draws out or shortens meaning (gilded - lined with gold) powerful words attention grabbers mood changers Punctuation Strong emphasis Question marks; single quotation marks "But O, what form of prayer can serve my turn?" (lines 16 and 17) Contemplative Expressing prolonged thought Contrite; expressing sorrow for sins Cynical Self-Loathing Doubtful; sardonic Extreme dislike of oneself "What if this cursed hand... 'Forgive me my foul murder'?"
(lines 8-17) "In the corrupted currents... Yet what can it if one cannot repent?" (lines 22-31) "Bow stubborn knees... All may be well." (lines 35-37) Compassionate Anxious Feeling or inspiring optimism Murder & marriage
Ghost reveals treachery
Hamlet procrastinates revenge
'Murder of Gonzago' performed to reveal Claudius's guilt
Claudius runs away from the scene to pray "O, my offence is rank it smells to heaven..." emphasis