Symbolism in Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”

The famous phrase that makes a lot of people turn to philosophy “To be or not to be – that is the question” is among the William Shakespeare’s best renowned and used quotes. Obviously many people do not even understand what part of the Shakespeare’s writing this phrase is extracted from, or what it actually means. They usually use it not deliberately without feeling any sense just to make an impression. There are a lot of such quotes in the work by Shakespeare like this one full of hints and imagery. Symbolism is one of very significant scholarly method applied by Shakespeare in all his works (Croxford 43).

Symbol is something that tells us about another. Symbols usually have the pattern of phrases, pictures, or signs that are utilized to express concepts or ideas. It can be in a form of a material object utilized to show something important, invisible but still implied. Shakespeare uses different kinds of symbols and gives them different forms and appearances. It can be people, things, events, phenomenon etc. In the given paper we will analyze the examples of all these kinds (Croxford 43). Skull as a symbol Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio, a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy.

He hath borne me on his back a thousand times. And now how abhorred in my imagination is it! My gorge rises at it. Here hung those lips that I have kissed I know not how oft. Where be your gibes now? (Hamlet, William Shakespeare, page 252: line 158-165) Hamlet and Horatio come to the churchyard and have a brief dialogue with the gravedigger. The serious man takes a skull and tells them that it is the cranium of the king’s joker, Yorick. Hamlet knew Yorick very well and played with him as a child. Under the influence of his metal state Hamlet is substantially influenced by look of the cranium and its demonstration.

The skull contains numerous recollections of Hamlet’s apparently joyous childhood, therefore symbolizing the change happened to Hamlet: his loss of joyfulness and naivete. It is the symbol of Hamlet’s disillusionment, not temporary but everlasting, because the skull is dead and his master will never become alive, like the Hamlet’s soul, that is also dead. At that moment Hamlet is feeling the death very close to him, having the cranium in his own hands, nothing can bring the skull back to life and nothing can make Hamlet’s soul wake up and live further (MacCary 34).

The sense contained in the cranium furthermore brings comprehension to individual’s definitive breakdown and the truth that every individual in the community, wealthy or hard up, is took down to the identical grade in death. Hamlet says that Polonius will die since even monarch die, and that dirt from the corpse of Alexander the Great may be utilized to close an aperture in a beer cask. The kings are not defended from death and Hamlet also is not.

The cranium and its numerous symbols focus the demise of Hamlet’s dad, Polonius and Ophelia, reveal the inappropriate state that Hamlet was going through and boost his ideas of self-murder and vengeance. Symbolic main woman character a. Ophelia’s madness The character of Ophelia and the event around it contains a lot of symbols to investigate. Ophelia represents the example of the blameless child because she is greatly influenced and supervised by the people around her. The goal of the creator is seen through the symbolic conformities and occasions that accurately delineated the terrible decay of Ophelia.

The playwright presents a lot of predictions at the beginning. Then Hamlet pulls her into the torment that is his individual sphere. He does this by eradicating everything that maintained her. Ultimately, Ophelia was swamped by these actions, a truth turns out to be a deception, and she becomes a victim of her own brain. As the imminent tragedy appears progressively clear-cut, Ophelia is eventually and absolutely absorbed by the frenzy of her ill brain. The very important component in the happening is Polonius’ death. Her state is clarified by the monarch when she makes it evident: