Literary Devices in Hamlet

Literary-Devices-in-Hamlet
Plot
Scene 1
Polonius sends servants to spy on his son
(Laertes).
Reynaldo has to find out what the “Danes
are in Paris”.
Ophelia talks to her dad (Polonius) about
how Hamlet is acting.
Scene 2
The King and Queen (Claudius and Gertrude) welcome Hamlet’s friends they invited to cheer
him up.
The ambassadors sent to Norway return. Where Fortinbras tried to start a war on
Denmark. The king (Claudius) disapproved and encouraged them to attack Poland.
Polonius presents a plan to spy on Hamlet and Ophelia to see if Hamlet is lovesick.
Hamlet announces that he will write the short speech to go with the play The Murder of
Gonzago.
Hamlet decides that he will make the king (Claudius) watch the play to see if he has any signs
of guilt.
Literary Devices
Oxymoron
“Your bait of falsehood takes this carp of truth” Polonius (II i 68)
Hyperbole/Simile
“And with a look so piteous in purport/ As if he had been loosed out of hell” Ophelia (II i 90 91)
Situational Irony
“[Pointing to his head and shoulder.] Take this from this, if this be otherwise.” Polonius (II ii 167168)
Metaphor
“Denmark’s a prison” Hamlet (II ii 285)
Personification
“Wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the King." Hamlet (II ii 567)
Fun Facts
In Elizabethan times, the marriage of a
widow to her brotherinlaw was considered
incestuous.
The castle in which the play is set really
exists. It is called Kronborg castle and was
built in the Danish port of Helsingør in 1420s
by the Danish king, Eric of Pomerania.
Where now we say ‘I’m going to see a play’
in Elizabethan times, people talked about
‘going to hear a play’.
Theme
Deception
Scene 1
We find Hamlet playing his
"madness" ruse on the unsuspecting
Ophelia.
Scene 2
The "king" sends Rosencratz and Guildenstern,
two former friends of the prince, to spy on
him to see if his madness is real.
Hamlet sets up the play in a thinly veiled
attempt to deceive Claudius into confession,
for the play reflects the usurper's
crimes.
Characters
Scene 1
Polonius
Claudius
Ophelia
Reynaldo
Scene 2
Claudius
Polonius
Rosencrantz
Guildenstern
Breaking The Fourth Wall
The fourth wall is a
conceptual barrier
between those
presenting some kind
of a communication and
those receiving it.
Breaking the fourth wall means
doing or saying something that
either explicitly or implicitly
acknowledges the artificiality of
the environment and the fact that
both the presenters and
audience are aware of that
artificiality.
45