Mental or psychological influence in any literary work can heighten and alter the mood and tone. Some literary works can alter the course of the storyline as is done in Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. Hamlet’s mental state, along with major character influence, has the ability to allow a wide range of unexpected plot twists and a touch of suspense.
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In Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet’s revenge demonstrates the extent of one’s mental capacity can be found amusing and captivating in the world of entertainment. The ghost, a supernatural element, symbolizes something the audience does not comprehend, therefore, it piques the interest of anyone who reads the word.
Shakespeare’s ability to initiate the play with the presence of a ghost, allows the mood and tone of the play to set in. The mood the ghost produces, can be felt even before it is implemented, is suspense. The conversation between Marcellus, Barnardo, and Horatio at the beginning is written to force the readers to question with curiosity. Marcellus first asks Barnardo if the thing appeared again tonight? (1.1.26.). Marcellus then continues and says ’tis but our fantasy (1.1.28). The words thing and fantasy sparks the suspicion and begins to develop the rising action. These words are the serpents luring us the forbidden fruit. It is part of our instincts to wonder and explore the unknown We cannot help but stick our noses in. Just like Horatio demonstrates hesitation, the audience will not let belief take hold of [them] (1. 1. 29.).
The human mind is wired to be cautious yet become overpowered with curiosity with the elements they do not understand, therefore find it entertaining. The revelation placed upon Hamlet is a pivotal point to the rest of the play. The most intriguing part of the confrontation is the aftermath in which neither Horatio nor Marcellus can hear the ghost except for Hamlet. The ghost converses with Hamlet and yells swears in the presence of the two characters yet they seem to hear nothing (1.5. 168). This minor inclusion causes a greater wave of curiosity to the work and the audience. Their suspicion of Hamlet and his mental state accumulates as the play progresses. At this point, the audience is Eve considering the fruit.
They are not sure if Hamlet -the fruit- is indeed good or bad. Until, finally towards the end, everything is revealed to the audience creating an immense plot twist perhaps not anticipated. The ghost yet again is present and causes Hamlet to speak with him. Along with Hamlet, the audience believes he is real and is visible to Gertrude’s eyes. Gertrude states on how Hamlet places his eye on vacancy and asks him whereon do you look? (3.4. ). Finally, the fruit has been bitten and the audience has been hit with the realization of what is real. The audience is aware of the ghost and the impact it brought upon the characters. As the story develops, one cannot help but think whether it is not only Hamlet’s madness but the projection of our own. Shakespeare allows for the question to linger throughout the play like taunting a bone to a dog.
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