In Violence, the Rest is Silence

Location is everything. The setting of Shakespeare's Hamlet, the royal court, functions as more than the backdrop to the drama. On the contrary, embedded within the play is the implicit significance of its environment. Court society, with its emphasis on attaining nobility, maintaining the power balance between the monarch and the members of court, and a detailed code of conduct regarding the relations between the sexes, exerts an overarching influence over the characters in the play.

The most salient aspect of Hamlet is its main characters notorious delaying to avenge his father's unjust murder. Critics have often struggled with how to account for Hamlet's incessant deliberations and have focused on his character construction. Yet people do not exist in a vacuum; Hamlet is an integral member of the society he belongs to. Examining Hamlet's conduct within the context of court society affords the reader the opportunity to contexualize and better understand Hamlet's perplexing behavior. Not only does Hamlet dramatizes its protagonist's revenge narrative, it also dramatizes the intricate relationship between its characters and Court Society. Threaded through Hamlet's revenge narrative is the narrative of...

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