Shakespeare's Hamlet

Shakespeares Hamlet English 12 Universal Appeal of Hamlet It is we who are Hamlet (William Hazlitt, 1817). Definition of a Tragedy A play dealing with tragic events and having an unhappy ending, especially one concerning the downfall of the main character (www.oxfordenglishdictionaries.com)

Elements of Shakespearean Tragedy 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. The tragic hero is a good or noble man Hero acts against established laws/moral codes Hero acts with noble, or well-intended, motives, but often makes a false moral choice

Hero makes his decision to act because of deception and/or excessive noble pride Hero has a dramatic moment of choice Disaster (tragedy) overtakes the hero because of this choice Tragic Flaw Literary term that refers to a personality trait of a main character that leads to his/her downfall Hamartia another term for tragic flaw

Hamlets tragic flaw is his inabililty to act Tragic Hero a) Is a character of noble stature and has greatness. This is often translated into meaning he or she is a king or queen, and certainly classical and Shakespearean tragic heroes are nobility, but I think were better concentrating on the characters great intelligence or goodness, rather than simply

his or her social status. b) Experiences an ironic reversal through which he falls from this great height, from having it all to having nothing at all, which usually means being dead. (http://www.webpages.uidaho.edu/engl257/Classical/tragic_heroism.htm) Formula of a Revenge Play

Hero, usually informed by a ghost of an injury or crime that needs to be avenged Hero accepts the challenge of revenge and begins to plot it Hero confronts the villain and overcomes the obstacles that stand in the way of revenge Revenge is achieved in a bloody and horrifying way Includes a play within a play Protagonist pretends to be mentally ill to enact his revenge Plot Structure Act 1 Introduction (Birth)

Act 2 Rising Action (Growth) Act 3 Climax (Maturity) Act 4 Falling Action (Decline) Act 5 Denouement (Death)

Writing Style Written in a poetic form called blank verse, which are unrhymed lines of iambic pentameter Characters of noble birth usually speak in verse Exceptions: when Hamlet addresses commoners; when letters or documents are read; during scenes of comic relief; during scenes of madness Servants and members of lower classes speak in prose

Iambic Pentameter Iambic pentameter a line of verse that contains five iambs (ten syllables) Iamb two syllables, one unstressed syllable followed by one stressed syllable da DA da DA da DA da DA da DA ~ / ~ / ~ / ~ / ~ /

A little more than kin, and less than kind (1.2.66). Iambic Pentameter Examples O, that this too too sullied flesh would melt (1.2.131). Were thicker than itself with brothers blood (3.3.47). KING:

Part them; they are incensed. HAMLET: Nay, come, again. (5.2.315-316). Hamlet Ghost of King Hamlet Polonius Gertrude Laertes Horatio

Claudius Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Ophelia

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