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The Effect Of Allusions In Hamlet

1055 words - 5 pages

The Effect of Allusions in Hamlet
Sometimes it takes a clearly conveyed comparison to fully understand a difficult concept. The greatest authors of all time create novels with important points that are not quite so obvious, and the reader has to do a little digging to grasp the intended meaning. When regarding Shakespearean plays, readers will surely notice that they are riddled with enigmas. How does Shakespeare give the reader clues to help grasp the novel? He uses allusions, carefully-placed references to something else. One of the finest places to look for Shakespearean allusions is Hamlet, a tragedy about the negative effect of ambition and revenge. The result of William ...view middle of the document...

Hamlet proves to be quite similar to a weed on the Lethe Wharf, because he is almost too late to murder Claudius. As he is dying of a poisoned stab wound by Laertes, Hamlet quickly stabs Claudius with the same poisoned sword. In the end it is Hamlet’s inaction and indecisiveness that kills him, because the more decisive and vengeful Laertes gets him first. Shakespeare’s use of the Lethe River allusion in the start of the play opens the readers up to one of the most outstanding themes of Hamlet.

To fully understand Hamlet, it is necessary to understand the characters in it, and Shakespeare develops characters through the use of allusions. By analysing these allusions, readers can get a more complete understanding of Hamlet’s characters and how they change throughout the play. As the play goes on, readers must wonder if not all of Hamlet’s madness is just an act. In Act 3, Scene 2, Hamlet plans to visit his mother and tell her the truth about his strange behaviour and his father’s death. He says to himself, “Soft now to my mother. – O heart, lose not thy nature, let not ever the soul of Nero enter this firm bosom. Let me be cruel, not unnatural.” Nero is a well-known Roman Empire who murdered his mother for poisoning her husband, Emperor Claudius. Hamlet wants to be brutally honest with his mother, even cruel, but he does not want to go as far as Nero and kill his mother. As if he has little control over his emotions, Hamlet begs himself not to harm his mother like the Roman Emperor Nero did. In the scene, Hamlet is alone, so he is not feigning madness as he does around his family and friends. Hamlet has no reason to act mad now, yet he still worries about his lack of control over his emotions. By understanding this allusion, readers can see that there is more to Hamlet’s personality than meets the eye and it may not be so different from the act he is putting on as one might...

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