Hamlet and the Impact on the Audience

1267 words 6 pages
Hamlet Essay

Many of the plays written by Shakespeare in his time were performed to influence his audience and provoke thought and debate the social, cultural and economic events that were taking place at that time. Shakespeare’s Hamlet, in particular, was a reflection of the events happening during the Elizabethan era. In this essay, the focus is mainly on Act IV scene IV and the speech of Hamlet and the essay focuses on answering the question of the effect Hamlet had on the audience in the Elizabethan era, specifically culturally, socially, and economically. It is the purpose of this essay to demonstrate that due to the religious turmoil of the Elizabethan era, Hamlet’s reference to God in Act IV was significant to show that
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This is proven from the speech of Claudius in the previous scene when he says “For like the hectic in my blood he rages, and thou must cure me. Till I know ‘tis done.” (Line 68-69 Act IV Scene III) This shows that Claudius is very well aware of the four humours and that he must not be contagious of Hamlet’s melancholic blood. This aspect from the play affects the audience by guiding them to believe the four humours and that when one contains an imbalance of a humour, it will dominate and take over the behaviour. It is a message to the audience about the medicine and the psychology of the play and how it informs them to further understand it. This brings us to the next point, the point about the economy.
Economy is what shapes a country. Fighting over land, money and power was the social norm to the people of the Elizabethan era. However, being under the constant threat of war from neighbouring countries of Spain and France, England was forced to create armies and fight for small pieces of land. This is reflected through the play when Hamlet says:

“Two thousand souls and twenty thousand ducats
Will not debate the question of this straw.
This is th' impostume of much wealth and peace,
That inward breaks and shows no cause without
Why the man dies “ (Lines 24- 28, Act IV Scene IV) This quote has a significant role of leaving an impression on the Elizabethan audience suggesting that war is unnecessary and that it is pointless


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