What Would an Elizabethan Audience Think of Hamlet

What Would an Elizabethan Audience Think of Hamlet

  • Submitted By: cnelson
  • Date Submitted: 05/24/2008 2:30 PM
  • Category: Book Reports
  • Words: 1351
  • Page: 6
  • Views: 2

As a play Hamlet is very dramatic, it is composed of 5 acts and a total of 19 scenes making it at least a three-hour performance. This time the audience spends on an emotional rollercoaster, learning the terrible truth behind old King Hamlets death and who caused it, and the frustration we feel for Hamlet who feels betrayed by his uncle but especially by his mother for marrying his fathers killer. He rejects his lover, Ophelia and then suffers from what appears to be madness, and he constantly questions his fathers ghosts desire to take revenge and kill his uncle, as his education, morals and fear of death prevent him from murdering another person. Hamlet kills Polonius, Ophelia and Laertes father by mistake, although does not feel remorse as he just sees Polonius as an allied of Clauduis'es. Then he is sent away and learns he is to be put to death and finally comes back where he finds out that Ophelia is dead and that Claudius is trying to kill him. Finally there is a bloody battle in which all the main characters die, although Hamlet does die after Claudius and every character is told the full story.

The Elizabethan audience who would have first paid to view this play would have been very used to the theme of revenge plays; they were exceedingly popular during the 16th and early 17th centuries. The revenge play was a very established genre and had very fixed codes and conventions for the playwrights to work between. Elizabethan playwrights were known to base their works on myths and in particular the Roman dramatist Veneca. Veneca's work heavily featured sex, intrigue and violence. This sort of play often also had ghosts in, much like the ghost of King Hamlet and results in revenge, usually in a quest to repair the family name, which often ends up in a bloodbath, often with the hero dying.

However, although it seems like Hamlet follows the traditional revenge plot at first after a short period of time the audience will...

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