Hamlet Illusion Vs Reality Analysis

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Hamlet (1600s) the play and the movie Hamlet by Kenneth Brannagh (1996) illustrate the ambiguity of the Elizabethan Era through its inherent tension between illusion and reality. The three most prevalent themes that bring out the idea of illusion and reality are human duplicity, trust and corruption. This is perceived through the dichotomous relationship between the characters as they lie and exploit each other to achieve their own means. These themes help illustrate the uncertainty within that time as the protestant reformation and the unstable political environment shaped the play and therefore it shows the ‘snap shot’ of that period. However, these themes still resonates within today society as it is still contemporary and relevant. (Add…show more content…
This is seen through the Brannagh’s film as the close-up of Hamlet’s furrowed face and his high pitch voice with quick inflection illustrates his anguish. This dualistic nature is seen as Claudius’ exterior is one of smooth, popular, and effective political operator, which is clearly identified in Act 1 scene 2 where Claudius is able to re-organise and deal with the problems of the state and re-introduce smoothly his marriage with Gertrude which would have been clearly seen as incest. The antithesis of words such as; ‘defeated joy ‘and ‘mirth and funeral… dirge in marriage’ exemplifies the dualistic and cunning nature of Claudius from the illusion of a good king to the reality of murderer. Polonius on the other hand appears to be something of a bumbling fool which is shown when Hamlet belittles him,’ you are a fishmonger’. The dualistic pun of a ‘fishmonger’; a pander implying that he is exploiting his daughter Ophelia in order to procure information or a person who sold fish, suggesting that he is one who…show more content…
In Hamlet’s world everyone is ‘two-faced’ and simply follows their desires and because of this he completely finds himself viewing the world with disgust as a result of its corruption. Though at the beginning of the play he views humanity with wonder and awe, ‘what a piece of work is man’ godlike in its infinite faculties ‘how like an angel’. In using simile to compare humans to angel who are perfect, he is expressing that humans are the most beautiful and thought provoking creatures on earth, ’the beauty of the world” However, this all dissolves in his imaginative vision into a ‘quintessence of dust’. The goodly frame of nature becomes a “foul and pestilent congregation of vapours.” Man’s very being, infected by some “vicious mole [blemish] of nature” inherited involuntarily at birth, overthrows “the pales and fortes of reason” and thereby corrupts the whole. The anguish desolation that Hamlet feels is epitomized through the juxtaposition of his movement; grand sweeping gestures to his jerky and quick accusatory gaze/ arm. Men are prisoners of their appetites, helpless to achieve the goodness so mockingly revealed by their philosophic quest for the ideal. Therefore he cannot trust others as he views humanity to be flawed and thus he perceives all man and women to be corrupt which was a common view during this period due to the protestant reformation and the totalitarian state of England. Hamlet realises that
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