Essay on Close Reading

Sophomore (College 2nd year) ・English ・MLA ・1 Sources

The relationship established between language and power in the story is very sophisticated, and it plays an important role in driving the plot of the book. Indeed, the diction, and hence the words used, have the power to construct a traditional sense of meaning. The dramatic deeds in the play might have been stifled if it weren't for the steady flow of words that project strength (Bate and Eric 68). In the case of Hamlet, the terms used can be compared to annihilating guns or arsenal, and they are poisoners to the ear, much like daggers. Indeed, it is not only critical to appreciate how Hamlet portrays a deep connection with the diction and the language engaged by Shakespeare but also essential to recognise how the words shape up the language to project power.
The concept of the poisoning of the ear in the Shakespeare’s Hamlet is very outstanding, on a keen examination both metaphorically and literally. Even though in the controversial scenario Hamlets further was murdered by intentionally and physically putting poison inside of his ear, the obvious meaning could allude to the poison of the words utilised in the process and hence the power of the language to cause such a significant harm of manipulation and destruction. Indeed, across the play, words have influence, and they project a high power, considering that at least all characters have been influenced by the language employed in one way or another. From the plains of relations to the deepest of the tragic scenes in the play, all events are shaped in the bosom of characters because of how they relate to words, language and the power thereof. A credible level of foreshadowing becomes evidenced to the reader when the ghost mirroring the father of Hamlet claims that Claudius is behind the poisoning of “the whole ear of Denmark” by the use of his words (Bate and Eric 13). Even though at this moment it does not give a vivid reflection, however, the language and the words used have the power to drive the play to its literal destiny. A good example is an understanding that the real personality of Hamlet does not directly influence Ophelia to kill herself, rather, his words do. Just like other characters in the play, Hamlet keeps telling Ophelia that should enter the convent rather than turning into a “breeder of sinners” (Bate and Eric 18). It can be imagined that Hamlet could as well have used his physical embodiment to compel Ophelia or even his social prowess, but rather, he chooses to engage a poisonous language, words that act as daggers to project power that condemns her to suicide.
Unlike some of his counterparts in the play, Hamlet well knows his abilities; he appreciates that he can engage language, words that confer power upon his wishes to deliver the hoped-for ends. An example being his interaction with Ophelia, as well as his mother, as it is not any other aspect that drives their relationship, rather, the power in the words he uses. No wonder, it is not surprising that at some point, Hamlet gains courage and openly tells the Shakespeare’s audience that “I will speak daggers to her, but use none"(Bate and Eric 61). It is the power of words that makes the daggers be portrayed as competent in the language as it were. The scenario even compels other characters to believe how special the relationship is between language and power, especially those with many words like Claudius and Polonius, who speak too much to listen without reason, and hope out of wishful thinking that may nothing works against their fortunes. Indeed, the characters who do not realise the secret that there is between words and power, do not prevail amidst smoothness, especially when they learn toward the end that language and daggers are true, and that this is a projection of power.
Polonius inquires of Hamlet in Act Two the second scene, "What do you read, my lord?"…and he (Hamlet) responds, “Words, words, words" (Bate and Eric 121). Indeed, it was expected that if he was reading, then words were compulsory subjects in that context. However, with Hamlet, words are particular, language is unique, and the impact of the same is an incredible manifestation. Furthermore, it is a reflection of how Hamlet is so attentive, sophisticated and keen when it comes to language in the play. Other than the peculiar outlook of how Hamlet connotes language into power and influence, there is a prominent element of his projection of power, an ability that compels other characters to solicit his skills in memorization.
On the contrary, Polonius does not have the capacity Hamlet embodies, and this can well be witnessed in his absurd arguments. For instance, in Act Two, the second scene, Polonius confirms "Madam, I swear I use no art at all. / That he is mad, 'is true: 'tis true 'tis pity” (Bate and Eric 78). He is very dull in wit, and his lack of insight is a clear manifestation in its end, he does not command power as Hamlet does. As such, the author is capable of creating a different picture between the affluence in language and power, and inability to use words to wield influence. Indeed, the political intuition of Polonius as it is, he is very artistic in nature. However, he is easily destructed by surface than the depth of it, ending up with little social impact.
Another perspective through which the author shows the capacity to sway the relationship between power and language in the play is his bilateral dichotomy to unveil the subtle distinction between words and deeds. The difference comes out clearly in the fourth Act when Claudius interacts with Laertes, when he claims, "What would you undertake, to show yourself your father's son indeed, more than in words?" (Bate and Eric 133). In this context, words are closely associated with heroic actions, as opposed to those with negative meaning that lack a reflection of revenge. Ironically, Hamlet presents as a master of words, an expert on language, and he who possess power through speech, nevertheless, he experiences challenges in performing actual deeds. Indeed, his emphasis on the perfection of language is his undoing, and it is by this that he fails to implement the vengeance, "How all occasions do inform against me." (Bate and Eric 89)
Through Hamlet, the uses of words to distinguish language and the power it attracts are evidenced, he has the magic of words and a command of thought. Indeed, he does not appreciate an environment that finds its basis of action, rather than the affluence of language, and he as well recognises this. Nevertheless, the actions are created by words, created by Shakespeare and channelled into action through the word of Helmet, such an authoritative show of power (Bate and Eric 56). Indeed, it is a new and peculiar platform that Shakespeare sets so that through Helmet, his audience can appreciate that a language with power can between describe the actions as it were, as opposed to the typical mundane experiences in a real world.

Works Cited

Bate, Jonathan, and Eric Rasmussen. "The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark." Hamlet, vol. 5, no. 3, 2008, pp. 27-140.

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