Symbolism in Shakespeare's "Hamlet" Analytical Essay by writingsensation

Symbolism in Shakespeare's "Hamlet"
An analysis of the symbolism of the ghost in the play "Hamlet" by William Shakespeare.
# 68028 | 1,100 words | 5 sources | MLA | 2006 | US
Published on Jul 28, 2006 in English (Analysis) , Shakespeare (Hamlet)

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This paper discusses Shakespeare's use of symbolism in his play "Hamlet" and cites literary critics to support its thesis. While the play is rich with symbolism, the paper explains that the most important symbol is the ghost of Hamlet's father, who makes his appearance near the beginning of the play. The paper details the symbolic significance of the appearance of the ghost and analyzes how it serves as a call to action for the confused young prince, which fuels the action of the rest of the play.

From the Paper:

"As T.S. Eliot once stated, "Hamlet the character has had an especial temptation for that most dangerous type of critic: the critic with a mind which is naturally of the creative order, but which through some weakness in creative power exercises itself in criticism instead" (Sacred Wood, p 83). As that observation implies, it is not so much that Hamlet cannot make up his mind about the symbolic significance of the ghost and what exactly he should do to avenge his father's death; it is just that he continually second-guesses himself. As Eric Levy suggests, "As a rational animal, a man is one who thinks. But the play problematizes [sic] the proper exercise of thought by which man sustains this identity. In one of the earliest scenes, Bernardo, Francisco, and Marcellus tell Horatio, who at first doubts their word, that they believe they have seen Hamlet's father's ghost. Horatio waits with them for the ghost to reappear. When it does, Horatio asks it "What art thou, that usurps't this time of night" (Act1.1.46). He also tells the ghost, who does look like King Hamlet, to identify himself: "b heaven, I charge thee, speak!" (Act1.1.49)."

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