Nature In Hamlet

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For most people nature is viewed as a place of serenity and peace. The restorative power of nature comforts us. As Queen Elizabeth took the throne and Christianity spread, most Elizabethan’s saw nature as God’s creation that was beautiful and peaceful, a place for rest, relaxation, and renewal. In The Spanish Tragedy, Hieronimo cultivates a beautiful garden as a safe haven; in Hamlet, Old Hamlet retreats to his orchard to take peaceful naps; and in Titus Andronicus, the royal court goes on a hunt in nature for relaxation and sport. To the Elizabethan’s, nature would be seen as a positive force for entertainment, rest, and renewal. When the natural world begins to become dark and gloomy place and the scenes of vicious and deplorable crimes,…show more content…
Like Kyd, Shakespeare presents nature as a power central to the theme and action on the stage. While Kyd used Hieronimo’s garden, Shakespeare chose the forest. Structurally, the forest provides the setting for the hunt that turns into a place for the murder of Bassianus and the rape and mutilation and Lavinia. After the wedding of Saturnius to Tamora Queen of the Goths, Titus wants to make amends with Saturnius and plans a hunt in the forest. The Elizabethan’s would identify with this as a pastime and restorative practice for the royal court. Tamora believes this is an opportunity for her and Aaron to meet and have a secret tryst (sounds familiar). Aaron, on the other hand, sees the hunt as opportunity to make Titus pay for the death of Tamora’s oldest son and for what he has done to the Goths. Aaron and Tamora decided to send her sons, Chiron and Demetrius, to kill Bassianus and to brutally rape Lavinia, cut out her tongue, and chop off her hands. In this scene Tamora begins describing the forest using pastoral language and paints this light and beautiful image, “The birds chant melody on every bush, / The snakes lies rolled in the cheerful sun, The green leaves quiver with the cooling winds” in hopes to put Aaron in the mood for a little romp (II.iii.10-15). As Aaron convinces her this is the time and place to make their move, her description of the forest…show more content…
Shakespeare draws on the beauty and restorative powers of nature that audience members were familiar with. He shows, as nature becomes defiled and no longer a safe place, powerful and skilled hunters will attack your family because the Emporer has allowed them access to state. Saturnius is so consumed with Tamora. He doesn’t see what she and Aaron are doing. He isn’t concerned with finding justice, and Titus is forced to take matters into his own hands (sound familiar?). In literature sometimes writers use the forest to symbolize a light-hearted place with calming and restorative powers. At other times writers use the forest to symbolize evil, darkness, and fear. In Titus Andronicus, Shakespeare begins with the positive and goodness of the forest and transforms the forest into a place of vile evil and murder. In reflecting the decay of the forest, he is also mirroring the decay of the Roman state and the descent of Titus into madness.
Both The Spanish Tragedy and Titus Andronicus are good example of how authors can intertwine nature in a variety of ways. Nature plays an important role in providing a setting for the action and propelling the action forward. The authors also use symbols and images from nature to enhance the understanding and enjoyment of the
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