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Patriarchy in Hamlet

Patriarchy in Hamlet

William Shakespeare’s Hamlet employs the concept of patriarchy in several scenarios and each on different levels. These levels of patriarchy, if even for the same character, vary in their role in the play. Three patriarchal characters are easily identified: the ghost of Hamlet’s father, the king Claudius, and the lord chamberlain Polonius. Despite their variances each patriarchy displays values and actions which are key factors in bringing about the cataclysmic ending to Hamlet.

Claudius fills the role of father figure as both king to a nation and stepfather to young Hamlet, whose father has died unexpectedly. It is revealed later that Claudius is responsible for the death of his brother, King Hamlet. This very act of murder to obtain the throne and marry his own sister-in-law, an act equal to incest in the eyes of their society, displays from the first the poor quality of monarchy that can be expected from Claudius. Young Fortinbras of Norway feels that since the King Hamlet is dead he is entitled to his inheritance of land, and rightly so as the contract was drawn between King Hamlet and Fortinbras’s father. The young Fortinbras is obviously some form of a threat to the kingdom, a thought expressed as well by Horatio and Bernardo as they stand watch in the opening of the play (1.1.80-125). Claudius does not appear to be overly concerned with the matter. He sends two couriers to Fortinbras’s sick uncle asking that he stop Fortinbras and his attack on Denmark. Meanwhile, it seems as if Claudius does not give the matter another thought. It is odd that he does not more safely guard the kingdom that meant enough to him to kill his own brother to obtain it. He of all people should know what one …

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…blishers, 1999.

Chute, Marchette. “The Story Told in Hamlet.” Readings on Hamlet. Ed. Don Nardo. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1999. Rpt. from Stories from Shakespeare. N. p.: E. P. Dutton, 1956.

Homer. “The Odyssey.” The Norton Anthology of World Masterpieces. Expanded Edition in One Volume. New York: W.W. Norton

Images, Imagery, Symbols, and Symbolism in Macbeth

Imagery and Symbolism in Macbeth

With its eye-opening plot and interesting cast of characters, William Shakespeare’s play, Macbeth is one of the greatest works one could ever read. But, above all, the aspect of the play is most impressive and overwhelming with imagery and symbolism that Shakespeare so brilliantly uses. Throughout the play, the author depicts various types of imagery and symbolism instances that, eventually, lead to the downfall of the main character, Macbeth.

Instances of imagery and symbolism are seen throughout the play. Imagery and symbolism are unavoidable features in William Shakespeare’s Macbeth. One of the most prominent symbolic factors in the play is the presence of blood. It has been noted that the presence of blood “increases the feelings or fear , horror , and pain” (Spurgeon , Pg. 20). From the appearance of the bloody sergeant in the second scene of the to the very last scene , there is a continued vision of blood all throughout the play. The imagery of blood seems to affect almost all the characters in the play. It affects Lady Macbeth in the scene in which she is found sleepwalking talking to herself after the murders of Duncan and Banquo : “Here’s the smell of the blood still. All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand.” Also , the blood imagery is present in the “weird sisters” , or witches. Most evidently , it is present in act four, scene one, when Macbeth visits the witches to seek their insight and his fortune for the future. He is shown three apparitions , one of which is a bloody child that commands him to “Be bloody , bold and resolute : laugh to scorn…”

Although blood imagery deals with almost all the characters of the play , no where i…

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…, New York, Viking Publishing, 1993.

Gove, Philip Babcock. Webster’s Third International Dictionary. Springfield, Mass: G.

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