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Hamlet. Act One. Act One, Scene Two. Claudius- the new King- addresses the court. Laertes asks Claudius’ permission to return to his studies. This is granted. Hamlet asks to also return to his studies. Claudius refuses. Hamlet’s first soliloquy.

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Presentation Transcript
Hamlet

Hamlet

Act One


Act one scene two
Act One, Scene Two

  • Claudius- the new King- addresses the court.

  • Laertes asks Claudius’ permission to return to his studies. This is granted.

  • Hamlet asks to also return to his studies. Claudius refuses.

  • Hamlet’s first soliloquy.

  • Hamlet is disgusted by the new King (his uncle) and the Queen (his mother).

  • Horatio tells Hamlet about the Ghost.


Claudius opening speech
Claudius’ Opening Speech

  • Reveals that Hamlet’s father has only recently died (the memory be green).

  • Reminds everyone that until very recently Gertrude was his sister-in-law and is now his wife. Such a marriage would be regarded in Elizabethan times as incestuous and unlawful.

  • He mentions and dismisses Fortinbras’ claims to Danish lands. He sends messengers to his uncle in Norway.

  • Claudius is portrayed as a diplomat and an adept user of rhetoric.


Appearance and reality
Appearance and Reality

  • Claudius presents himself as someone whose judgement controls his passion ‘so far hath discretion fought with nature.’

  • In reality, lust and murderous ambition have led him to kill the King- his brother.

  • Shakespeare skilfully uses language to undermine what Claudius is saying.


Activity
Activity

  • Carefully reread lines 8-14 of Claudius’ speech.

  • What is unusual about the langaueg here (particularly lines 10-13)?

  • How does this match what is being discussed?


Therefore our sometime sister, now our queen,

Th' imperial jointress to this warlike state,

Have we—as ’twere with a defeated joy,

With an auspicious and a dropping eye,

With mirth in funeral and with dirge in marriage,

In equal scale weighing delight and dole—

Taken to wife.


Therefore our sometime sister, now our queen,

Th' imperial jointress to this warlike state,

Have we—as ’twere with a defeated joy,

With an auspicious and a dropping eye,

With mirth in funeral and with dirge in marriage,

In equal scale weighing delight and dole—

Taken to wife.


Laertes
Laertes

  • Addresses Claudius in a most deferential manner.

  • Uses many doubles in his speech ‘leave and favour’, ‘thoughts and wishes’, ‘gracious leave and pardon’.

  • Mentions Claudius’ Coronation, but not Old Hamlet’s funeral.


Hamlet1
Hamlet

  • Addressed by Claudius as ‘my cousin Hamlet, and my son’.

  • This remark sums up the evil doubling that is at the heart of the play.

  • Hamlet replies with a punning doublet:

  • ‘A little more than kin, and less than kind.’

  • ‘more than kin’ now he’s both Claudius’ nephew and his stepson. ‘Less than kind’ in two senses: not kindly disposed to Claudius, nor does he think he is of the same kind.


  • ‘ I am too much i’ th’ sun.’

  • He has having too much of his uncle calling him sun, and also of the Sun. Hamlet, we will soon discover, longs for death- to be out of the sun.


  • ‘Seems Madam? Nay, it is: I know not seems:’

  • This speech develops the theme of appearance and reality. Hamlet reacts furiously, feeling that his mother is implying that his mourning is playacting.

  • Hamlet feels it is his mother who must have been acting the bereaved widow just a week or two previously.


Claudius to hamlet
Claudius to Hamlet

  • Death is natural and inevitable ‘your father lost a father/ That father lost, lost his,’

  • It is right to mourn, but it is unnatural and unmanly to do so for too long.

  • To do so also reveals weakness of mind and character.

  • To do so offends Heaven/ God.

  • This is hypocritical, as Claudius’ marriage to Gertrude would be seen as an offence to God and nature by an Elizabethan audience.


Soliloquy
Soliloquy

  • A dramatic convention which allows a character in a play to speak directly to the audience about his motives, feelings and decisions as if he were thinking aloud. Part of the convention is that a soliloquy provides accurate access to the character’s innermost thoughts.


  • O, that this too too sullied flesh would melt Thaw and resolve itself into a dew! Or that the Everlasting had not fix'dHis canon 'gainst self-slaughter!

  • Hamlet reveals his deep anguish and melancholy. He wishes to die, but suicide is viewed as a sin. He desires to dissolve into dew- an impermanent substance.

  • Contrast established between what is seen as divine and what is seen as earthly (soiled flesh).



  • Fie on't! ah fie! 'tis an unweeded garden, That grows to seed; things rank and gross in nature Possess it merely.

  • Image of an untended garden leading to disease and corruption. Shakespeare’s imagery suggests that incestuous marriage is a violation of nature, which creates disease in the King’s court.


  • So excellent a king; that was, to this, Hyperion to a satyr; so loving to my mother That he might not beteem the winds of heaven Visit her face too roughly.

  • Juxtaposition used to highlight difference between Old Hamlet and Claudius. Hyperion-the Titan god of light, represents honour, virtue, and regality -- all traits belonging to Hamlet's father, the true King of Denmark.

  • Satyrs, the half-human and half-beast companions of the wine-god Dionysus, represent lasciviousness and overindulgence, much like Hamlet's usurping uncle Claudius.



  • O, most wicked speed, to post With such dexterity to incestuous sheets.

  • Sibilance is used here to convey Hamlet’s disgust at the incestuous union of his mother and uncle.

  • Here he is picturing them in bed together.

  • Imagine him hissing the words.


  • My father's brother, but no more like my father Than I to Hercules

  • Hercules was the son of Zeus (Greek god).

  • Hamlet saying that he is as like Hercules as Claudius is like Old Hamlet. This suggests that his feelings of self-worth have suffered as a result of Claudius and Gertrude’s marriage.



Soliloquy activity
Soliloquy Activity

  • In this soliloquy what is revealed about Hamlet’s attitude to life, Claudius and his mother?

  • You should answer each point separately and include quotations for each answer.


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