Hamlet Act 1 Literary Devices
In William Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet, Shakespeare’s use of metaphors convey to the audience the extent to which Shakespeare’s characters struggle with throughout the play. In Act I, Scene II, Hamlet speaks alone directly to the audience, this is called a Soliloquy, Hamlet begins his soliloquy when he expresses his wish to disappear or as he puts it “O, that this too too sullied flesh would melt, Thaw and resolve itself into a dew!”( Line 129). In the same line, Shakespeare also uses a Synecdoche as he refers to Hamlet’s physical life as “solid flesh” (Line 129). Both of these devices are used for similar reasons, to express Hamlet’s confusion with life and his place within it; Hamlet is dealing with the death of his father, the marriage between his mother and his uncle, and on top of all of this he must learn how to rule a kingdom that will one day be his. Hamlet wishes he didn’t have to “hold my tongue” (Line 159) and instead speak what he believes in.
In Scene II, Act I, Polonius launches a Diatribe, a lecture in which he criticizes Hamlet and to “not believe his vows, for they are brokers” (Line 128). Polonius is claiming that Hamlet is only interested in Ophelia for her virginity and not to truly wed her. Polonius wishes to protect his family’s name more so than his daughter’s well-being even though it may seem that it is the latter.
In Scene I, of Act I, Horatio, a friend of Hamlet, uses an Allusion when he alludes to the assassination of Julius Caesar and the arrival of the Ghost being similar. Just as Denmark had been recently thriving, Rome was at its full glory, but when the mighty “Julius fell, The graves stood tenantless” (Line 116). Horatio suggests that the Ghost could be the catalyst to the destruction of Denmark.