Hamlet. Critical Essay Technique. Highlight the Question’s Key Words. By the end of Act One, for what reasons do the audience sympathise with Hamlet?. Highlight the Question’s Key Words. By the end of Act One , for what reasons do the audience sympathise with Hamlet ?. Plan.
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Critical Essay Technique
In Act One of ‘Hamlet’, William Shakespeare depicts his tragic hero as tormented by both internal and external conflicts. His spiritual sickness and misery mirror the corruption caused in Denmark by Claudius’ illegitimate rule. The sympathy the audience feel for Hamlet is compounded by his isolation, his mother’s incestuous marriage to Claudius and the impossible position he is put in by the Ghost.
This conflict is exacerbated by his uncertainty over the Ghost’s identity:
“Be thou a spirit of health or goblin damned,
Bring with thee airs from heaven or blasts from hell,
Be thy intents wicked or charitable,” (Act One, Scene Five)
Shakespeare uses antithesis here to highlight the ambiguous nature of the Ghost: Hamlet is unsure if it really is his father’s spirit and not an evil spirit instead. This relates to one of the play’s most important themes: the difficulty in distinguishing between reality and appearances.