What would an elizabethan audience think of hamlet

Who would have attended an original Shakespeare production? O, it offends me to the soul to hear a robustious periwig-pated fellow tear a passion to tatters, to very rags, to split the ears of the groundlings, who for the most part are capable of nothing but inexplicable dumbshows and noise.

What would an elizabethan audience think of hamlet

All revenge tragedies originally stemmed from the Greeks, who wrote and performed the first plays. After the Greeks came Seneca who was very influential to all Elizabethan tragedy writers. Seneca who was Roman, basically set all of the ideas and the norms for all revenge play writers in the Renaissance era including William Shakespeare.

These two plays used mostly all of the Elizabethan conventions for revenge tragedies in their plays. Hamlet especially incorporated all revenge conventions in one way or another, which truly made Hamlet a typical revenge play. There were certain stylistic and different strategically thought out devices that Elizabethan playwrights including Shakespeare learned and used from Seneca's great tragedies.

The five act structure, the appearance of some kind of ghost, the one line exchanges known as stichomythia, and Seneca's use of long rhetorical speeches were all later used in tragedies by Elizabethan playwrights. Some of Seneca's ideas were originally taken from the Greeks when the Romans conquered Greece, and with it they took home many Greek theatrical ideas.

Some of Seneca's stories that originated from the Greeks like Agamemnon and Thyestes which dealt with bloody family histories and revenge captivated the Elizabethans. Seneca's stories weren't really written for performance purposes, so if English playwrights liked his ideas, they had to figure out a way to make the story theatrically workable, relevant and exciting to the Elizabethan audience who were very demanding.

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Seneca's influence formed part of a developing tradition of tragedies whose plots hinge on political power, forbidden sexuality, family honor and private revenge. Hamlet without Seneca is inconceivable.

In all revenge tragedies first and foremost, a crime is committed and for various reasons laws and justice cannot punish the crime so the individual who is the main character, goes through with the revenge in spite of everything.

The main character then usually had a period of doubtwhere he tries to decide whether or not to go through with the revenge, which usually involves tough and complex planning. Other features that were typical were the appearance of a ghost, to get the revenger to go through with the deed.

The revenger also usually had a very close relationship with the audience through soliloquies and asides. The original crime that will eventually be avenged is nearly always sexual or violent or both.

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The crime has been committed against a family member of the revenger. After the ghost persuades the revenger to commit his deed, a hesitation first occurs and then a delay by the avenger before killing the murderer, and his actual or acted out madness.

The revenge must be taken out by the revenger or his trusted accomplices. The revenger and his accomplices may also die at the moment of success or even during the course of revenge. It should not be assumed that revenge plays parallel the moral expectations of the Elizabethan audience.

What would an elizabethan audience think of hamlet

Church, State and the regular morals of people in that age did not accept revenge, instead they thought that revenge would simply not under any circumstances be tolerated no matter what the original deed was.

People should therefore never think that revenge was expected by Elizabethan society. Although they loved to see it in plays, it was considered sinful and it was utterly condemned. The Spanish Tragedy written by Thomas Kyd was an excellent example of a revenge tragedy.

With this play, Elizabethan theater received its first great revenge tragedy, and because of the success of this play, the dramatic form had to be imitated. The play was performed from to and it gave people an everlasting remembrance of the story of a father who avenges the murder of his son.

In this story, a man named Andrea is killed by Balthazar in the heat of battle. The death was considered by Elizabethan people as a fair one, therefore a problem occurred when Andrea's ghost appeared to seek vengeance on its killer.

Kyd seemed to have used this to parallel a ghost named Achilles in Seneca's play Troades. Andrea's ghost comes and tells his father, Hieronimo that he must seek revenge.Hamlet Study Guide 11 Copyright © by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

certainly an artistic failure,” saying that the emo-tion found in the character of Hamlet is too. Just as Hamlet genuinely questions the trustworthiness of the ghost, so would Shakespeare’s audience.

What would an elizabethan audience think of hamlet

Some truly believed there were actual ghosts walking on earth, tempting souls to do evil. In a country that had bounced back and forth between Catholicism and Protestantism, however, there were many who viewed ghosts as unthreatening.

Literary Terms and Definitions A

The Elizabethan audience after all were very au fait with histrionics on stage since the theatre at the time reveled in showing very extreme situations and reactions - recall Titus Andronicus putting people in pies and feeding them to their father.

Ambivalence and Death in Shakespeare's Hamlet - In act IV, scene III, Shakespeare addresses the play’s themes and messages; those being ambivalence and how people are one and the same in the end of life.

(Hamlet, ) I hate it when I hear a blustery actor in a wig tear a passion to shreds, bursting everyone’s eardrums so as to impress the audience on the lower levels of the playhouse, who for the most part can only appreciate loud noises and pantomime shows.

Shakespeare's audience would have been composed of tanners, butchers, iron-workers, millers, seamen from the ships docked in the Thames, glovers, servants, shopkeepers, wig-makers, bakers, and countless other tradesmen and their families.

Hamlet, Prince of Denmark: Plot Summary