Hamlet Rhetorical Analysis

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While analysing William Shakespeare’s work, one could identify various concepts of rhetoric which may well be the core of his plays. Hamlet, written somewhere between 1599 and 1602, is no exception as it contains elements of rhetorical imagination especially with respect to the notions of “movere” and “actio”. However, before we can begin talking about those elements , we must first answer the question : What is rhetoric? Well-known Greek philosopher Aristotle provided a definition for it by saying “Rhetoric may be defined as the faculty of observing in any given case the available means of persuasion” (Aristotle, 1355b27-28). Thus, we are presented with the fact that rhetoric is not just a set of rules, but instead an ablity of the trained …show more content…

Another fact worth focusing upon is Hamlet’s desire to surprise his uncle’s guilt by putting a scene into play as well as his inability to detach himself from his real feelings and act as an entirely different character. Quintilian, in his “Institutes of Oratory” raises the following questions : “I make a complaint that a man has been murdered; shall I not bring before my eyes everything that is likely to have happened when the murder occurred? Shall not the assassin suddenly sally forth? Shall not the other tremble, cry out, supplicate or flee? Shall I not behold the one striking, the other falling? Shall not the blood, and paleness, and last gasp of the expiring victim present itself fully to my mental view?” (Quintilian, 32). This situation could also apply to Shakespeare’s play, where Hamlet is the one who tries to “make a complaint” and determine “the assassin [to] suddenly sally forth”. The ability to transmit the feelings through oratory or , in Hamlet’s case, through acting and to surprise Claudius’ guilt further emphasize on the concepts of rhetorics which are used in this play. Furthermore, this is expressed when the ghost tells Hamlet about his father’s death, using “movere” on him. This is emphasized through the fact that the prince acts as if he had seen his father’s

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