Hamlet Essay On Act I Essay Research

Hamlet: Essay On Act I Essay, Research Paper

Hamlet: Essay On Act I

Act one of HAMLET is an excellent introductory act. Shakespeare

establishes atmosphere, by introducing the major characters, the role of the

supernatural, the revenge plot, the love plot, and the contrast of the

Fortinbras plot, as well as Hamlet’s fiegned madness. Through his unique

writing style, Shakespeare sets us up for the rest of the story, and captures

the reader’s attention, making him want read more.

Shakespeare establishes the atmosphere of the play, in scene I. The

scene takes place in Elsinore, on a platform before the castle. The atmosphere

is one of dark battlements, and nervous sentries, which catches the audiences

attention right away. As the bell tolls twelve on a frosty night, a silent

ghost of the late King Hamlet apperars twice. This provides one of the high

points of the scene, along with this, Shakespeare presents the reader with

information, regarding the military preparations in Denmark. All of this

provides for a dark, mysterious atmosphere, where the reader is wanting to know

more. Shakesperare continues to establish atmosphere in scene III. In this

scene, atmosphere of a diferent kind is created. This scene is a family scene,

in which brotherly, and fatherly advice creates an atmosphere quite different

from that of the appearance of the ghost and the problems of Hamlet and his

relatives. This creates an atmosphere of love, and betrayall, whereby Ophelia

is forced to obey her father Polonious, and is told to be careful with Hamlet,

as he is a prince, and will not look to marry just anyone, such as herself.

Shakespeare continues to develop atmosphere throughout the act, and uses the

atmosphere to introduce some of the characters in the play.

Shakespeare introduces some of the major characters in the play, and

leaves lasting impressions of each on the reader. Bernardo, and Francisco are

introduced in the first scene, as officers watching their posts, but it is

Horetio that leaves the greatest impression, as he is described as a well

educated scholar, and seems to have great importance to the development of the

play. In scene II, Claudious, the present King of Denmark is introduced. He is

the uncle of Hamlet, and just so happens to be masrried to Hamlet’s mother,

creating a definate first impression. Hamlet is aslo introduced, and the

impression perceived is one of a troubled individual, who is grieving his

father’s death, and is angry at his mother for marrying his uncle Claudious.

Ophelia, Hamlet’s girlfriend, and the daughter of Polonious is introduced in

scene III. She is described as a rather affectionate, but rather docile

individual. All throughout act one, Hamlet’s dead father’s ghost keeps

appearing, but does not speak until scene five, where it tells Hamlet to avenge

his death, and to kill his uncle Claudious. This describes Claudious’s

character, of a cold blooded murderer, and leaves a vivid picture of what the

ghost of King Hamlet, looks like, as a supernatural being. This ploy for

Hamlet to avenge his father’s wrongful death, leads into the idea of a revenge


Shakespeare develops several plots in act one of Hamlet. The main three are:

revenge, love, and contrast. The revenge plot is set up by Shakespeare in scene

V. In this scene, Hamlet is made aware for the first time, that his Uncle

Claudious is the murderer of his father, the late King of Denmark. Hamlet

swears to avenge his father’s death. He then learns that his mother is married

to his uncle, and his disalusionment becomes even greater. Hamlet desides to

confuse his enemy, and seeks revenge for his late father, thus creating the plot

of revenge. The love plot is introduced through Ophelia, and her feelings for

Hamlet. In scene III, Laertes patronizes Ophelia, warning her to stay away from

Hamlet. These warnings against Hamlet, acquaint the reader with the romantic

plot, or love plot. The other aspect of the love plot, is the relationship of

Hamlets mother Gertrude, with his uncle Claudious. This incestful arrangement

creates not only a plot of deceit, but one of unlawful love and romance, thus

contributing to the love plot. The third plot that Shakespeare introduces in

act one, is the contrast of the Fortinbras plot. This is established on the

international scene, with the dispatch of the ambassadors to Norway, Fortinbras

being the prince of Norway. All three plots, revenge, love and contrast

contribute to the depiction of Hamlet’s feigned madness

Hamlet’s plan to Feign madness creates suspense for the reader. In

scene V, Hamlet finds out that his uncle Claudious is responsible for the murder

of his father. His father’s ghost appears and requests that he avenge the evil

murder, and kill Claudious. Hamlet is also informed of the adultery with his

uncle and mother. Hamlet promises to avenge the death of his father, in order

to seek revenge, so that his father may rest in peace. Hamlet becomes

extremely angry, and in a flash, desides to play the madman, in order to confuse

his enemy. Hamlet’s last words in scene V illustrate his despair, but he is

determined to avenge his father’s death. This creates suspense for the reader,

wanting to know what will happen to Claudious, and how Hamlet will deal with the

situation presented. Shakespeare uses suspense throughout act one as a tool to

keep the reader interested in what is to come, and he does this very effectively.

In act one, Shakespeare combines atmosphere, development of character, plot

structure,and madness, in order to set the stage for the rest of the play to

come. Act one is an excellent introductory act, in that it provides enough

information to enable the audience to understand the situation., and to keep

them interested, and wanting to read more. In five short scenes, Shakespeare

introduces seven important characters, including the ghost of King Hamlet. He

has also made the reader aware of the domestic situation of the royal family,

and has made the audience realize that this is a play of revenge. Shakespeare

writes act one of Hamlet in such a way, that it captures the readers attention,

and using the tools of foreshadowing, an suspense, he makes his audience urge to

know and read more.



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