Hamlet Study Guide

paradox A paradox is a statement or group of sentences that seems to contradict the truth but is an implied truth. They describe an action or situation that seems absurd but yet can be true.criticize an idea in order to show its faults or to provoke a new thought. Paradoxes are also a fun concept that can add a witty element to a situation or writing. “Thrift, thrift, Horatio! the funeral baked meats / Did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables” (1.2.180-181). “A little more than kin, and less than kind” (1.2.65). Hamlet’s first words in the play show him playing with words in order to state a paradox: Claudius is twice related to him, as uncle and stepfather, but not really his kin or kind at all. [Scene Summary]”Thrift, thrift, Horatio! the funeral baked meats / Did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables” (1.2.180-181). Hamlet bitterly jokes that the real reason his mother’s remarriage came so soon after her husband’s death, was so that she could save money by serving the leftover funeral refreshments to the wedding guests. [Scene Summary]Hamlet says that the Danish practice of blowing trumpets and shooting off cannon to celebrate their own drinking is “a custom / More honour’d in the breach than the observance” (1.4.15-16). This famous phrase is widely misunderstood. It does not mean that the custom is widely ignored or given only lip-service. Hamlet is saying, “Yes, it is a long-standing custom for we Danes to make a lot of noise when we drink, but the best way we could do honor to that custom would be to drop it.” It’s like telling someone that he has nice teeth when his mouth is closed. [Scene Summary]
onomatopoeia the naming of a thing or action by a vocal imitation of the sound associated with it (such as buzz, hiss)For in that sleep of death what dreams may comeWhen we have shuffled off this mortal coil,Must give us pause. There’s the respectThat makes calamity of so long life.Effect: Here, “shuffled off” means to literally to thrust aside, or get rid of; adding in the sound of the word “shuffled”, one can also picture the chains of life (“mortal coil”) scraping together as the prisoner of these chains tries to take off the chains by moving them this way and that, as these are all definitions of the word “shuffle”. The auditory imagery the word “shuffle” provides helps to give a mental picture of an actual person, perhaps Hamlet himself, trying to rid himself of life’s metaphorical chains.”Reason, like sweet bells jangled”
capping couplet These were typically used in Shakespeare’s plays. It is the same as a rhyming couplet, except it’s called a “capping” couplet because it’s always found at the end of a speech of verse, rather than, say, at the beginning. Shakespeare often used them at the end to signify the scene had finished, so that the next actors knew to come on stage. two successive lines of verse of which the final words rhyme with another
Thou and You In Old English, thou was singular and you was plural; but during the 13th century, you started to be used as a polite form of the singular – probably because people copied the French way of talking, where vous was used in that way. English then became like French, which has tu and vous both possible for singulars, giving speakers a choice. It was usual for you to be used by inferiors to superiors – such as children to parents, or servants to masters; and thou would be used in return. But thou was also used to express special intimacy, as when addressing God, and it was usual when the lower classes talked to each other. Upper classes used you to each other, as a rule, even when they were closely related.The old singular/plural contrast may also still be seen, as in Hamlet’s switch from ‘Get thee to a nunnery’, spoken to Ophelia as an individual (Ham III.i.137), to ‘God hath given you one face, and you make yourselves another’, still spoken to Ophelia, but plainly now addressing womankind as a whole (Ham III.i.144).
leitmotif REVISE a recurrent theme throughout a musical or literary composition, associated with a particular person, idea, or situation.https://www.ijellh.com/the-leitmotif-shakespearean-tragedieshttp://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Leitmotif/Theatrehttps://quizlet.com/20802771/hamlet-leitmotifs-flash-cards/
invective violent verbal attack using abusive languageBesides, to be demanded of a sponge!”…”A knavish speech sleeps in a foolish ear.” (Scene 2)Suit the action to the word, the word to the action, with this special observance, that you o’erstep not the modesty of nature: for any thing so o’erdone is from the purpose of playing, whose end, both at the first and now, was and is, to hold as ’twere the mirror up to nature: to show virtue her feature, scorn her own image, and the very age and body of the time his form and pressure. . “Bloody, bawdy villain!/Remorseless, treacherous, lecherous, kindles villain!” (II.ii.574-575). Is it considered invictive? Something spoken or written, intended to cast shame, disgrace, censure, or reproach on another. —William Shakespeare, Hamlet. Act 3, Scene 2An expression which inveighs or rails against a person.A severe or violent censure or reproach.Something spoken or written, intended to cast opprobrium, censure, or reproach on another.*’>citationA harsh or reproachful accusation.Politics can raise invective to a low
Synechdoche figure of speech in which either a potion refers to whole or vice versaSynecdoche means to use small parts to represent the whole, or use the whole to represent few parts. For example:”Oh, that this too, too sullied flesh would melt,Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew”(Lines, 129-130)In Hamlet’s soliloquy, here flesh stands for physical life. The flesh of Hamlet is melting and thawing, and “resolving it into dew” is an example of metaphor for dying For example, the phrase “all hands on deck” is a demand for all of the crew to help, yet the word “hands”—just a part of the crew—stands in for the whole crew. described as a form of personification in the cases when it substitutes a human element for a non-human organizationIf your parents buy you a car and you say that you just got a new set of wheels, you’re using synecdoche — you’re using the wheels, which are part of a car, to refer to the whole car.’There were six guns out on the moor’ where ‘guns’ stands for shooters; and ‘Oxford won the match’, where ‘Oxford’ stands for ‘the Oxford eleven’.The synecdoche example in this excerpt is the usage of the word “ear.” The ghost refers to “the whole ear of Denmark.” This means that the whole population of Denmark has heard a particular story about his death. This is not the only time that Shakespeare used “ear” to refer to a greater group of people.
parody imitation of a particular writer, artist or a genre, exaggerating it deliberately to produce a comic effect. … Satire, on the other hand, makes fun of a subject without a direct imitation. Moreover, satire aims at correcting shortcomings in society by criticizing them.In fact, Shakespeare leaves Rosencrantz and Guildenstern almost entirely undifferentiated from one another. “Thanks, Rosencrantz and gentle Guildenstern,” Claudius says, and Gertrude replies, “Thanks, Guildenstern and gentle Rosencrantz,” almost as though it does not matter which is which (II.ii.33-34). The two men’s questioning of Hamlet is a parody of a Socratic dialogue. They propose possibilities, develop ideas according to rational argument, and find their attempts to understand Hamlet’s behavior entirely thwarted by his uncooperative replies.
conceit t is an extended metaphor or unusual comparison. During Elizabethan times, conceits were common and normally flowery or representative of complicated logic. hat continues throughout a series of sentences in a paragraph, or lines in a poem. In Act 1, Scene 2 of Hamlet, Hamlet first compares the world to a forgotten and overtaken garden, controlled by the grotesque of the earth. He claims that the world now only grows “things rank and gross in nature” (1.2.139). Not only does this conceit demonstrate Hamlet’s suicidal thoughts which… Nothing but to show you how a king may go aprogress through the guts of a beggar.Act IV Scene iiiThe conceit that is seen in this dialogue is the extended metaphor of worms. Shakespeare brilliant use of complex language, satirical tone, the juxtaposition between the King and beggar, and grotesque imagery allow the reader/audience to gain a more sophisticated philosophical understanding of equality, and how in the end, everyone is equal. Hamlet explains that the fact that all men feed the earth and are therefore, worm’s meat is the great equalizer. The moral of his rambling is that because a man may fish with a worm that has eaten a body of the king, and afterwards the beggar eats the fish he has caught, in theory he has eaten the king. thus the king passes through the body of a beggar, and only the worm reigns supreme. Even so, the king and the beggar are equal. “‘Something is rotten in the state of Denmark'”Act I Scene ivThis passage is important as it shows the concern of the state of Demark, Hamlet is not the only one is weary of its state. This extended metaphor/conceit represents Denmark is being left unattended by the King Claudius, the “gardener” As the protector of Denmark, he should make Denmark “flourish” and “grow”, instead he neglects Denmark and it begins to “wither” away and die. This metaphor creates a sense of disease and death that gives the audience an allusion of Denmark’s inevitable fate under Claudius’s rule, just like a dying garden. The visual imagery as well as the diction create a extended metaphor that helps the audience understand the comparison between the rottenness and the state of Denmark. The metaphor is seen throughout the whole book, so it is considered a conceit. A conceit is a comparison between two very unlike things, whose dissimilarity is very obvious. While comparisons compare unlike things, a conceit is a special type of comparison because the two things compared are so unalike that it gives us pause.
metonymy eplaces the name of a thing with the name of something else with which it is closely associated.Both the ghost and Claudius refer to their “crowns” when they speak of the kingdoms they have lost and won. “Give every man thy ear,” says the busybody Polonius, exhorting his son Laertes to listen to all. When Hamlet kills Polonius, he intends to “lug the guts” elsewhere, referring to moving the corpse.To Be, Metonymy”By a sleep to say we end the heart-ache” is perhaps the most famed metonymy in “Hamlet,” as it connects sleep to death, an emblematic connection that infuses Act Three’s “To be, or not to be” monologue. Even that antithetical beginning takes the word “be” and makes it a metonymous cousin to “exist” and “live.”The Serpent ClaudiusScene 5 of Act 1 yields another example of metonymy. The ghost of Hamlet’s father describes the officially given cause of his death as an accidental snakebite. He then shares that “The serpent that did sting thy father’s life / Now wears his crown.” The Ghost employs the word “serpent” instead of “killer” in a clear denunciation of Claudius. In addition to referencing the supposed snakebite, the word “serpent” implies the treachery and cunning that underlie Claudius’ act. Claudius himself employs metonymy in Act 3, Scene 3. After the exit of Polonius, Claudius performs a soliloquy in which he employs the aforementioned “crown” as a metonymy for the notion of kingship: “Of those effects for which I did the murder, / My crown, mine own ambition and my queen.”The Famous SoliloquyHamlet’s third soliloquy, which begins with “To be, or not to be” and appears in Act 3, Scene 1, contains several instances of metonymy in which Shakespeare substitutes the word “sleep” for “death.” He makes this connection explicit in the phrase “To die: to sleep” and continues to describe this “sleep” as the solution to a lifetime of struggle. “To sleep: perchance to dream” encapsulates one of “Hamlet’s” most indelible themes, in which the attraction of death begs questions over the nature of eternity. The possibility of an “undiscovered country” in the sleep of death gives Hamlet pause in his quest for murderous vengeance.Rotten in DenmarkAct 1, Scene 4 contains an instance of metonymy that has subsequently entered into common parlance. Marcellus, a castle sentry, voices anxiety over the Ghost’s appearance and Hamlet’s insistence on communicating with it. “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark,” he utters. This metonymy serves to characterize the general air of unease that surrounds the death of Hamlet’s father and the succession of Claudius. The questionable morality of Claudius’ marriage to Gertrude, Hamlet’s suspicions and the sudden appearance of the Ghost all signify a “rotten” state of family affairs.
oxymoron occurs when two contradictory words are together in one phrase. Oxymoron on the other hand comes with only two words that contradicts itselfIn simple words, Paradox is considered to be an action that is contradictory and oxymoron is a a few words- description of a phrase, which is contradictory.I must be cruel, only to be kind:, as ’twere with a defeated joy, / With an auspicious and dropping eye, / With mirth in funeral, and with dirge in marriage.”
pun “a play on words using words that sound similar or that have multiple meanings. INot so, my lord, I am too much in the sun” (1.2.67). This is Hamlet’s response to the King’s question, “How is it that the clouds still hang on you?” He means that the King has called Hamlet “son” once too often. [Scene Summary]:Excellent well. You are a fishmonger.Here Hamlet is insulting Polonios (a fishmonger was a lowly, smelly personage in Hamlet’s time), and also saying that Polonios is “fishing” for answers from Hamlet.
soliloquy A soliloquy is a popular literary device often used in drama to reveal the innermost thoughts of a character. Sometimes soliloquy is wrongly mixed up with monologue and aside. These two techniques are distinctly different from a soliloquy. Although, like soliloquy, a monologue is a speech, the purpose and presentation of both is different. In a monologue, a character usually makes a speech in the presence of other characters, while in a soliloquy, the character or speaker speaks to himself. By doing so, the character keeps these thoughts secret from the other characters of the play. An aside on the other hand, is a short comment by a character towards the audience for another character usually without his knowing about it.Hamlet is in a state of mind that only Shakespeare can describe through his magnificent pen. Uncertain, reluctant Prince Hamlet was literally unable to do anything but merely wait to “catch the conscience of the king” to complete his supposed plan
analogy a comparison in which an idea or a thing is compared to another thing that is quite different from iA metaphor is a figure of speech that uses one thing to mean another and makes a comparison between the two.A simile compares two different things in order to create a new meaning.The presenter of an analogy will often demonstrate how two things are alike by pointing out shared characteristics, with the goal of showing that if two things are similar in some ways, they are similar in other ways as well.OPHELIAAnd [Hamlet] hath given countenance to his speech, my lord,With almost all the holy vows of heaven.POLONIUSAy, to catch woodcocks.(I.iii.122-4)In this example, Polonius draws an analogy between Hamlet’s vows of love for Ophelia and snares used to capture dim birds. Through this metaphor, Polonius dismisses Hamlet’s protestations as being fraudulent and having the sole goal of obtaining Ophelia’s “chaste treasures”. The analogy effectively paints a visual image of Hamlet lustfully waiting to snare an unwitting Ophelia, reinforcing Polonius’ suspicion concerning Hamlet’s true motives for courting Ophelia.oratio compares the situation of the preparation of war with that of chaos in Rome when Julius Caesar was killed, as he states, “A little ere the mightiest Julius fell.” That is why it is exactly like the chaos that prevailed in Denmark following the assassination of King Hamlet. While the same situation has been demonstrated as Shakespeare puts it that the “heaven and earth together demonstrated / Unto our climatures and countrymen”
blank verse unrhymed iambic pentameter. Blank verse resembles prose in that the final words of the lines do not rhyme in any regular pattern (although an occasional rhyming couplet may be found). Unlike prose, there is a recognizable meter: most lines are in iambic pentameter, i.e. they consist of ten syllables alternating unstressed and stressed syllables (there may be some irregularities, such an occasional troche mixed in with the iambs or an extra unstressed syllable at the end of a lin
epigrams short but insightful statement, often in verse form, which communicates a thought in a witty, paradoxical, or funny way.
free verse Free Verse is poetry that is based on the irregular rhythmic cadence recurring, with variations of phrases, images, and syntactical patterns rather than the conventional use of meter. In other words, free verse has no rhythm scheme or pattern. However, much poetic language and devices are found in free verse. Rhyme may or may not be used in free verse, but, when rhyme is used, it is used with great freedom. In other words, free verse has no rhyme scheme or pattern. Free verse does not mean rhyme cannot be used, only that it must be used without any pattern.
meter recognizable rhythm in a line of verse consisting of a pattern of regularly recurring stressed and unstressed syllables
foot Foot/feet: a metric “foot” refers to the combination of a strong stress and the associated weak stress (or stresses) that make up the recurrent metric unit of a line of verse
iamb a particular type of metric “foot” consisting of two syllables, an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable (“da DUM”); the opposite of a “troche.
Iambic pentameter: A ten-syllable line consisting of five iambs is said to be in iambic pentameter (“penta” = five). Its stress pattern (five pairs of unstressed/stressed syllables) is conventionally represented U /U / U /U / U / Example: “The course of true love never did run true” (MND I.i.134).
troche : the opposite of an iamb; a particular type of metric “foot” consisting of two syllables, a stressed syllable followed by an unstressed syllable (“DA dum”).
expletive a grammatical construction that starts with words like it, here, and there. This rhetorical device usually interrupts normal speech and lays emphasis on certain words. It originates from the Latin word explore, which means “to fill.” It plays a syntactic role, but does not contribute to the meaning of a sentence or line. It is also known as empty words, such as in this sentence, “There are some guests waiting for you,” in which there are is an expletive phrase.Dickens recurrently used expletive phrases, it was, and there were, in the introduction of his famous novel A Tale of Two Cities. Though these phrases have no semantic purpose to serve, they allow him to express the importance of the ideas, with emphasis on each one.

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