Poison in Shakespear

Poison in Shakespear

Poison in Shakespeare’s Hamlet: Literal or Figurative Reference
Thermon V. Ratliff Jr
DeVry University
Professor Ruff
December 1, 2013


Shakespeare’s masterpiece Hamlet contains various uses of symbolism that may be difficult to understand. Looking closely at different places that a word might have more that one meaning can help the reader get a better understanding of what Shakespeare was trying to convey in that statement. The word Poison is used thought the play and in many different situations. Show these references to poison be taken literally or figuratively? An examination of the lines in Hamlet were the word poison is used will help us to determine in what context the word poison was used, and if the reference is literal, figurative, or both.
Shakespeare makes reference to poison, poisoning, poisoned, etc. throughout the play. Take this passage for example. “
Whose whisper o’er the world’s diameter,     41
As level as the cannon to his blank,     42
Transports his poisoned shot, may miss our name
And hit the woundless air. Oh, come away!     44
My soul is full of discord and dismay.
(ONEILL 171)
ONEILL. Studies in Literature, 1e, VitalSource Ebook for DeVry University. Pearson Learning Solutions. .

“Poisoned shot” here seems to be figurative reference to statements made that were intended to portray Hamlet in a bad or derogatory manner. But there are so many seem that poison is used literally. In the text book Studies in Literature p.147 give the description of the seen were poison is poured into Hamlets fathers’ ear. This is killed Hamlets father and was plotted by his brother.

In this exchange between Hamlet and his uncle, the figurative reference to poison by Hamlet referred to the word of his uncle. Hamlet is acting crazy to draw information out of the king about his guilt in his father’s death. His words were poison to Hamlet yet...

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