Good morning HSC students, Today we will be discussing how the themes of Hamlet contribute to its textual integrity

. The critical study of literature often reveals a unity and universality of text, derived from its forms and features of language. Shakespeare’s Hamlet exemplifies this notion of textual integrity through the use of contextually relevant themes and ideas. The themes ambition and morality are utilised in order to comment upon human nature and operate to achieve unification of Hamlet’s literary elements. Ambition throughout Hamlet is portrayed as a derivative of evil, which was a common belief of the Elizabethan era. As a vice, ambition was criticised by society and similarly critiqued by Shakespeare, as he comments upon the negative consequences of pursuing one’s selfish goals. Claudius’ realisation that his ‘secret’ had been exposed highlights the lengths he would go to to maintain his position. Claudius still possesses “those effects for which I did the murder” emphasising “My crown, mine own ambition, and my queen.” The syntax of “my crown” before “my queen” is indicative of his ambition for political power before romance. The crown is both object and symbol of his ambition; he wanted to be king and was willing to kill to expedite his ascension to the throne. The possessive tone and repetition of “my” reinforces Claudius’ self-obsession which compels the audience to empathise with Hamlet. Shakespeare extends Claudius’ characterisation by asking “Laertes, was your father dear to you?” to convey his readiness to manipulate others and distort the bond between Laertes and his father. The ensuing incrimination “Or are you like the painting of a sorrow, A face without a heart?”, in particular, the simile of “like the painting of a sorrow”, demonstrates the lengths to which Claudius will go to to entice Laertes into thoughts of revenge. The theme of ambition contributes to the underlying construct of a revenge tragedy, allowing the character, plot and ideas to culminate in a coherent text. Disregarding Claudius, several minor characters, such as Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, also embody elements of ambition and it’s detriments. Their interaction with Claudius highlights their submissive willingness to panders to those with power. So willing “to lay our service freely at your feet”, presents the audience with a clear depiction of their ambition. However, this is contrasted with their interaction with Hamlet, whereby Rosencrantz exclaims, “Truly, and I hold ambition of so airy and light a quality that it is but a shadow's shadow.” The metaphor and hyperbole of “a shadow’s shadow” reveals the extent of his deceit. Ambition in Hamlet, permeates and pervades the entire cast, and serves to unify the characters and central elements of the play.

” The use of a grim tone and religious allusion in “churchyards yawn”. Hamlet curses fate for selecting him to carry out the revenge of his father. and hell itself breathes out Contagion to this world. consecutive phrases is indicative of his emotional state. it is the theme which provides the backdrop for a coalescence of the literary elements such as those of character and plot.” wherein Hamlet embraces the “night” and convinces himself that although taking revenge against Claudius is “such bitter business”. “O. murderous. wherein Hamlet decides that action must be taken against the “incestuous. Without the central themes of ambition and morality. Hamlet acknowledges that the act is wrong but he has convinced himself to action. and decries “The time is out of joint: Oh cursed spite. it is his task to undertake. Hamlet seeks what he once condemned. The symbolism of “drink[ing] hot blood” enhances the grotesque nature of revenge. Similarly. The death-knell of his morality occurs during the climax of the play. punctuated by the final exclamation.Morality in the court of Denmark serves as both pretext and catalyst for the tragic events of Hamlet’s downfall. and allows Shakespeare to compel the audience to lament Hamlet’s loss of morality. enabling the creation of a unified and universal text. neither storyline nor text would be as compelling and coherent. My thoughts be bloody. Shakespeare uses the character of Hamlet in order to convey key ideas relating to the importance of morality in society and how easily these fundamental values are distorted by emotion or ambition. enables the responder to witness Hamlet’s tragic downfall. the bloody revenge against Claudius. damned Dane. Hamlet’s moral integrity. When churchyards yawn. The contrast between the beginning and the end of the play is clear. or be nothing worth!” The syntax of brief.” The culmination of his downfall becomes explicit through the proclamation. that ever I was born to set it right!” The rhyme of “spite” and “right” emphasises Hamlet’s reluctance to pursue such an undertaking. Initially. “now could I drink hot blood. Hamlet is unsettled by the task that he has been burdened with. There is a very clear progression from a once morally upright Hamlet to a morally complacent Hamlet. The theme of Morality contributes to the underlying message of the play and thus the revenge tragedy itself. from this time forth. “Tis now the very witching time of night. most evident as he utters. Hamlet appears to be morally upright and upholds the values of the Elizabethan era. and demonstrates his initial moral integrity. however. Due to his sense of morality. It is through forms and features of language that literature conveys unity and . This is reinforced by. “hell” and “Contagion”. foregoing his moral integrity. Shakespeare utilises purposeful diction and deliberately injects supernatural imagery in order to highlight and contrast the shift in Hamlet’s character. begins to degrade as the play progresses. And do such bitter business.

.universality. Shakespeare comments upon human nature and a unity of elements within the text is achieved. The play Hamlet by William Shakespeare supports this notion of textual integrity. Through the themes of Ambition and Morality.

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