Theme Of Language In Hamlet

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Language is a complex system of communication developed to convey thoughts, feelings, and meaning. Although, a must for comprehension, in William Shakespeare 's Hamlet, language is used as a device for manipulation by shifting one’s perception of the truth. The play forms recurring motifs relating to the dichotomy of appearance versus reality. This technique manifests through Claudius, a politician that takes the throne by pouring poison into the King’s ear, then marries the Queen. During Act 1 his ability is shown through his speech filled with oxymorons such as “defeated joy” (I.II.10) to appear as the grieving brother to the people of Denmark. However, in the same speech he switches to the encouragement of his marriage to Gertrude to distract the royal court from speculating his right to the throne. Figuratively, he pours poison into others’ ears to reshape the appearance of an event to his advantage. He becomes a direct antagonist for Hamlet as he calculates how to switch the situation of Hamlet’s “madness” to find safety for himself. In the end, Claudius’s use of deception becomes too crafty for his own good when he plans for Hamlet’s death. Claudius starts off by calling Hamlet’s grief “sweet and commendable” (I.II.92), praising him for the “mourning duties to [his] father” (I.II.94). Then, Claudius contrasts his praise with a subsequent condemnation, calling it “unmanly grief” (I.II.100) reminding him that many have lost a father. He sides with the Queen’s

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