Wednesday, January 29, 2020
It is not only Hamlet who is transformed Essay Example for Free
It is not only Hamlet who is transformed Essay Something have you heard of Hamlets transformation It is not only Hamlet who is transformed: the concepts of transformation and decay are at the centre of the play both for Shakespeares audience and for modern theatregoers. Discuss. The opening scene of Hamlet is one filled with nervousness and emotional tension. Shakespeare shows this through the language of his characters. Barnardos first line of Whos there followed by Franciscos reply of Nay, answer me. reveals to the audience the agitation of the sentinels. This unstable atmosphere continues throughout the scene and the audience find out that there is a threat from Fortinbras to attack Denmark and the old king has died. Certainty dissolves into rumour showing there is also dislocation in Denmarks society At least the whisper goes so as the people are uncertain about what is going to happen. The play speaks of a strange eruption to the state and so it could be argued that Denmark has gone through a transformation of political power and the state itself has changed. This is because Marcellus speaks of the old Denmark and how hallowd and so gracious is that time when the nights were wholesome. The new Denmark, on the other hand, is a place where the dead are restless and the future of the country is uncertain. The theme of political instability was a significant factor for a 17th century audience who had experienced similar traumas. England had struggled to raise a navy to meet the Spanish Armada in 1588. Shakespeares Denmark is in a state in jeopardy- just as England was after the death of Elizabeth as the public awaited to see who would succeed the throne. Shakespeares first audience could see a scene of their own recent history- and an unsettling reminder of their uncertain future. Like the sentinels, an audience in the 1600s would feel uneasy and sense the dislocation of Denmark. A modern audience understands the instability in the opening scene, however, they would not necessarily be fully aware of its intenseness, as there are different attitudes towards kings and the transmission of power of one regime to the next today. Nevertheless, the opening scene has a dramatic impact on both audiences and although an audience in 1600 would relate to the transformation of the state more than an audience in 2003, both audiences understand that Something is rotten in the state of Denmark. The instability of the natural world affects the different audiences in different ways. The entrance of the Ghost had particular significance to Shakespeares audience; religion and the state were intertwined; ghosts walked the earth and their return signified unfinished business, a threat to the state or buried treasure. In this case, the ghost is seen wearing armour showing that evil must have occurred which harmed the former king: My fathers spirit in arms! All is not well. I doubt some foul play. The arrival of the Ghost establishes the break between this world and the next, the natural and the supernatural. This adds to the idea of transformation of Denmark that has gone from a place of natural stability into a state of constant turmoil where the supernatural and natural are combined. There is a greater dramatic impact on Shakespeares audience when the Ghost arrives because they believed in the supernatural world and therefore would understand this unstableness in the state. Modern audiences, however, would not be fully aware of how significant the arrival of the Ghost is in the play. More people today do not believe in such things as ghosts and the supernatural realm. However, modern audiences would sense that there has been a transformation in the natural order of Denmark, the reasons for this change such as political and moral instability would affect the audience more than the supernatural aspect of the play. Moral issues in Hamlet add to the idea that the state has been transformed. Both audiences would have been shocked to discover the marriage between Claudius and Gertrude having found out that Claudius is the dead kings brother. Shakespeare shows us disgust through the language of his characters. Hamlets line of: O most wicked speed! To post with such dexterity to incestuous sheets! has hissing sibilants that truly show the disgust of the prince and therefore the audience. Shakespeare also emphasises Hamlets repulsion repeatedly with vivid sexual imageries, In the rank sweat of an enseamed bed furthermore increasing our disgust of incest between the Bloat King and his queen. Some among Hamlets first audience would recognise this marriage as a parallel to English history. Claudius kills a king and assumes his throne. Henry VII killed King Richard III at Bosworth and founded a Tudor dynasty on a flawed pedigree. Claudius marries Gertrude his late brothers wife as Henry VIII married his brothers widow, Katharine of Aragon. Shakespeares audience knew how England had suffered because of the immoral involvement between the royals, such as incest and murder, so they could predict that Denmark will suffer because of its king as England did. By relating his play to parts of recent history, Shakespeare relies on his audience to supply the details of what is to come.