Allusion In Hamlet Essay

1140 Words 5 Pages
William Shakespeare’s Hamlet is a tragedy which illustrates his command of the English language, and resonates to this day as a well-known play. Utilizing allusion and intertwining metaphor and simile perfectly, to create a captivating performance in Act III Scene II of Hamlet, Shakespeare’s rhetoric creates suspense. These literary devices allow this particular scene to shine as a part of the play, and allow for the development of questioning. In the scene, Horatio and Hamlet conversing demonstrates an instance where Hamlet is attempting to gain more knowledge about the situation he finds himself in. Separating itself from other works of Shakespeare, Hamlet does not turn violent until the very end of the play because of his doubting nature. …show more content…
Referencing instances which have previously occurred in the story, Hamlet is able to let Horatio know that he trusts him, and that he wants him to be part of the plan he has conceived. An instance of allusion in the passage occurs when Hamlet glosses over his issues with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern: “And blessed are those / whose blood and judgment are so well commingled / That they are not a pipe for Fortune’s finger / To sound what stop she please.” (3.2.67-70) Angered by their deceit and betrayal, Hamlet alludes to the poor treatment that he had received from Rosencrantz and Guildenstern in order to praise Horatio. In using this example, Hamlet contrasts the difference between his friends by emphasizing Horatio’s loyalty, and his trustworthiness. Worrying for his own sanity, Hamlet also calls into question the assertions of his father’s ghost, and concocts a scheme in order to determine their validity. Wishing for Horatio’s input and accompaniment as an accomplice, Hamlet, trusting him, begins to explains the plan. Shakespeare uses allusion again in the passage, this time to remind Horatio of the sighting of King Hamlet’s ghostly apparition: “If his occulted guilt / Do not itself unkennel in one speech / It is a damned ghost that we have seen.” (3.2.79-81) This is an integral line in the play, as …show more content…
Demonstrated early in the passage, metaphor is used to explain how Hamlet only seeks to impress and befriend those who can do favours for him: “No, let the candied tongue lick absurd pomp, / And crook the pregnant hinges of the knee / Where thrift may follow fawning.” (3.2.59-61) In providing the metaphor of the candied tongue, Hamlet provides his motive for his trust in Horatio: that he can accomplish favours for him. This instance is particularly telling, as Hamlet compliments Horatio before using him in his plans later on in the play. Worried about having to make a decision concerning Claudius’ guilt, Hamlet declares that his speculations could be incorrect, and uses simile to express its implications: “If his occulted guilt / Do not itself unkennel in one speech, / It is a damned ghost that we have seen, / And my imaginations are as foul / As Vulcan’s stithy.” (3.2.79-83) Through referencing Vulcan – the Roman God of the Forge – Hamlet likens the possibility of his poor judgement to the foul smell of metalworking. This in turn alludes to the crushing impact it would have on Hamlet and his quest for the truth, as he has essentially predetermined that Claudius is guilty, but has no proof. Hatching a ploy to determine the truth, Hamlet intentionally delays his violent actions yet again, using his

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