Critical Analysis of the Play: Hamlet by William Shakespeare

Published: 2021-08-02
848 words
4 pages
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Vanderbilt University
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For this analysis and the reading assignment, I chose a famous old English play from the year 1600 that goes by the title Hamlet.

The playwright responsible for the play Hamlet is William Shakespeare, who is one of the most referenced literary authors of all time. Shakespeare has written many other plays, some of which in have watched before, but I have never read any of his scripts as a book.

The decision making process that led to the selection of this play involved an intense level of deliberation. Of all the plays by Shakespeare, I chose to focus on reading Hamlet because I read a review saying that it incorporates the most literary devices and stylistic features, which increased the appeal of the book to me.

Like many Shakespeare plays and literary works, finding the play Hamlet was not difficult. I was able to procure a copy of the book by searching online and making a purchase at Amazon. In the process, I also came to the realization that it is possible to find an online copy of the play to read instead of procuring a hard copy of the same script.

The main surprise I found in the reading of Hamlet is Shakespeares application and clever use of wordplay to portray the less than socially acceptable allusions and practices. Surprisingly, Shakespeare manages to hide sexual jokes and references to death through the clever use of wordplay. The kings inquiry regarding the location of Polonius burial site indicates clever use of language in that Hamlet claims he is at supper where he is eaten, implying that the body is rotting in the grave. Sexual hints emerge through the wordplay applied in the conversation between Hamlet and Ophelia found in Act III. In addition this, the culmination of the film also surprised me because I found it more comical than tragic as I had anticipated.

Overall, Hamlet is an enjoyable play to read. I find the ability that Shakespeare shows in the use of numerous characters to successfully depict multiple human emotions the most enjoyable part of the play Hamlet. Through the proper application of characters and their interactions, Shakespeare manages to make Hamlet more of a comedy than the tragedy that it initially appears to be. Another element of the play Hamlet that I found enjoyable is the clever use of wordplay throughout the script to hide the unconventional jokes and messages. In addition to this, the character traits of all the involved parties in the play Hamlet also make it very interesting to read because of their laughable qualities that emerge in their conversations and monologues.

There were several difficulties encountered during the process of reading Hamlet. Firstly, I became frustrated with the emergent lack of characters on stage during the bulk of the first act. The use of descriptions in this part made it difficult to maintain interest in the play. However, subsequent acts in the play provide the correct mood for the reader and increase the ease of understanding the play. Another frustration in the reading of Hamlet is in the use of abnormal sentence structures in the text. At times, Shakespeare appears to deviate from the norms of spoken language and dwells on poetic scripting, which may increase the difficulty of the reading. Another frustration noted in the reading of Hamlet is in the flow of the play, which may confuse a first time reader of Shakespeare.

Reading the play Hamlet proved to have significant variations from the act of reading other prose novels. Firstly, the process of reading Hamlet is immensely difficult in comparison to reading a prose novel because the reader must imagine and visualize the setting based solely on the meagre directions of the playwright. Apart from this, the reader must assign every character a voice or tone, which is different from reading prose. In addition to this, reading the play Hamlet varies from reading prose novels because of the language used in Shakespeare novels. An avid reader of prose novels will attest to the difficulty in reading Shakespeares plays due to the use of old English. On top of this, reading the play Hamlet cones off as a more tedious and time consuming process in comparison to ordinary prose novels.

The first significant difference noted between the reading of the play Hamlet and the watching of the play is that the audience in a viewing does not have control over the vital components of the plat such as the setting and the characters. The reader of the play remains in charge of how the characters look and sound as well as the setting of the scenes. Drawing from this, the second difference between reading Hamlet and watching the play screening on stage is that the book is tiring and time consuming. Due to the requirements of deciding the settings and the characters of the play, the reader finds the process hectic in comparison to a screening that takes shorter and minimizes all these requirements.

Works Cited

Shakespeare, William and Cyrus Hoy. Hamlet. New York: W. W. Norton, 1996. Print.



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