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Hamlet Acts I & Ii – the Benefits of Dramatic Irony

  • Date Submitted: 02/03/2014 09:19 AM
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Hamlet Acts I & II – The Benefits of Dramatic Irony

Dramatic irony is undoubtedly one of the most powerful methods to maintain a readers interest towards a story. Shakespeare’s Hamlet, uses this tool in the very beginning of the play through the incident in which Hamlet comes in contact with his father in the form of a ghost, to not only develop Hamlet’s character but also the significant theme of revenge is carried out throughout the play.

When the readers are first introduced to Hamlet, the impression given off is of a weary and depressed son. Hamlets first soliloquy reveals that he wishes that   “this too too solid flesh would melt, thaw and resolve itself into a dew”(1.1.333-344) Hamlets grief over his father’s death mirrors his love for him and already the readers begin to sympathize and side with Hamlet.

However, it is not until the incident in which Hamlet comes face to face with his beloved father, who is in the form of a ghost, that both suspension and conflict develop. The ghost of the king tries persuading his son to avenge his murder. During the tense conversation that it taking place, late King Hamlet also uses emotional blackmail on his already venerable son: “If thou didst ever thy dear father love—”(1.4.759). The king proceeds on to say that if he were allowed he “could a tale unfold whose lightest word/Would harrow up thy soul, freeze thy young blood” (1.5.751-752). Hamlet, who is not usually at a loss for words, is horrified to hear about the terrible suffering his father, whom he believed to have been a good man and a good king is suffering.   This, Hamlet, deeply affected by this encounter, takes on the challenge of avenging his father.   The readers watch Hamlet’s character transition from a grieving son with no purpose to a man who is out to seek revenge.

At this point, only Hamlet and the readers know about this disreputable murder and so this sudden active involvement and expectation from the readers helps heighten the intensity...

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