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Hamlet Diction Analysis

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Everyone has to deal with loss and Shakespeare understood that within his play Hamlet. Throughout the play Hamlet is dealing with the loss of his father, in fact he gives several soliloquies about it. Perhaps the most famous soliloquy given is the one from Act III, scene i. Hamlet begins with the famous line, “To be, or not to be, that is the question:”(1). Although there are many literary devices used within this excerpt, the most prominent are syntax, diction, and imagery, and Shakespeare creatively uses each to portray Hamlet’s state of mind. At first the sentences are short and contradicting, hinting towards instability, just within the use of syntax. By the end they lengthen, becoming softer, which implies stability, and a calming…show more content…
Words such as “fardels,” “ills,” and “calamity,” depict the pain Hamlet feels in living. The formalness of the diction reveals intelligence, the rhetorical questions help ponder philosophy, and metaphors prove literary knowledge. Hamlet appears to be inside his mind, discussing his options which is not the smartest idea, because he begins contemplating suicide, furthering the instability ideal. The assonance from “sleep” and “dreams, provides contrast for, “Ay, there’s the rub” (10). The words above pause the reader’s train of thought causing a deeper focus. With the phrase, “undiscovered country, from whose bourn No traveller returns,” (24-25), Hamlet does not express a fear of the unknown, he appears unhealthily interested in discovering that unknown. Using the word “coward” close to the end, Hamlet recovers to a more stable plane, but is frustrated with himself for not fearing death and perhaps for being afraid to act against his uncle. Diction usually helps publish a beautiful masterpiece, but one detail is…show more content…
While wedging the vocal, metaphorical clay, Hamlet uses the line “The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune”(3). Here fortune is bearing arms as if to war. Hamlet imagines fortune as cruel and unjust coming to besiege his mental walls. The very next line, “Take arms against a sea of troubles,” (4) shapes a lonely soul trying to withstand the attack of wave after wave pounding against the walls, trying to break in to create cracks in his mental foundation. In line 15, “the whips and scorns of time,” carve the image of time as a cruel taskmaster, taking away everything Hamlet loved. The passage of time causes Hamlet much pain, looking for an escape his mind is overworking, but eventually the cogs within his internal clock are tightened causing time to flow steadily again, instead of rushing away so quickly. His sculpture masterpiece is fired into realistic art and Hamlet is stabilized mentally. Even though Hamlet is saddened by the loss of his father, he is not ready to do something drastic. The syntax in each sentence lengthens, loosening the spirals of suicidal depression. Hamlet’s diction is the only constant within the whirlpool of his thoughts, the words seem to imply that he has become more stable. The imagery Shakespeare utilizes flashes several
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