Literary Devices in Shakespeare’s Hamlet

Required Post #10

As discussed in class, Shakespeare’s works are full of literary devices such as metaphors, similes, puns, allusions, etc.  Find two examples of such in Hamlet, Act 1 or 2. Be sure to include the line number(s) that demonstrate the term as well as the citation.

This post is due Friday by the start of your class time. Kairos students may complete the assignment by Tuesday, November 25th. As always, in your response include your first name and last initial only AND an actual e-mail address.



33 Responses to “Literary Devices in Shakespeare’s Hamlet”

  1.   Brendan D. Says:

    Act 1.1 Lines124-131– This is an allusion to Julius Caeser.

    “A mote it is to trouble the mind’s eye.
    In the most high and palmy state of Rome,
    A little ere the mightiest Julius fell,
    The graves stood tenantless, and the sheeted dead
    Did squeak and gibber in the Roman streets;
    As stars with trains of fire and dews of blood,
    Disasters in the sun; and the moist air,
    Upon whose influence Neptune’s empire stands…”(ll. 1.1. 124-131).

    Act 1.5 Lines 70-72– This is a metaphor which compares a feeling that the Ghost is having to a condition like leprosy.

    “And in the porches of my ear did pour
    The leprous distilment, whose effect
    Holds such an enmity with blood of man…”(ll. 1.5. 70-72).

  2.   Patrick O. Says:

    In Act. 1 Scene 2, I cited two puns. The first was on line 67. “A little more than kin and less than kind.” The second is on line 69. “Not so, my Lord; I am too much in the sun.”

  3.   StevieK Says:

    One example of a pun in Hamlet is during Hamlet’s aside, he says, “A little more than kin but less than kind” Act I. Scence 2. Line 67

    One example of a simile in Hamlet is during another aside of Hamlet’s, “My father’s brother, but no more like my father Than I to Hercules.” Act I. Scene 2. Line 157-158

    The End.

  4.   Kris S. Says:

    The two literary devices Shakespeare uses:
    “The graves stood tenantless, and the sheeted dead
    Did squeak and gibber in the Roman streets;
    As stars with trains of fire and dews of blood,
    Disasters in the sun; and the moist star,
    Upon the influence of Neptune’s empire stands,
    Was sick almost to doomsday with eclipse.
    (Act.1. Sc1. 127-132)
    This passage illustrates a Homeric Simile.

    The second literary device (a metaphor) is:
    “The perfume and suppliance of a minute”
    (Act 1. Sc. 3. 10)

  5.   Michael S. Says:

    In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, literally devices are highly incorperated to create a more dramatic text and play. When Hamlet has returned from Wittenburg to King Claudius’ coronation, Claudius adresses him a “son” (l.173.1-2). This pun refers to Hamlet as his son despite the fact Claudius is an Uncle that has married his mother and take upon the role of father. When King Hamlet’s ghost is describing his murder to Hamlet, he says Claudius is the “serpent” who bit him (l.127.1-5). This metaphor symbolizes Cluadius as the evil snake who secretly murdered him in a reptilian manner. These devices are very present in Shakespeare’s writing and make them the grandiose works we know today.

  6.   anthonym Says:

    “The knotted and combined locks to part, And each particular hair to stand an end, Like quills upon the fearful porpentine.” (Act 1. sc. 5. ll 24-26) example of a “similie.”

    “That thou, dead corse, again in complete steel, Revisits thus the glimpses of the moon, Making night hideous, and we fools of nature So horridly to shake our disposition With thoughts beyond the reaches of our souls?” (Act 1. sc. 4 ll 57-61) example of an “allusion.”

  7.   Jon G Says:

    “The graves stood tenantless, and the sheeted dead did squeak and gibber in the Roman streets; as stars with trains of fire and dews of blood, disasters in the sun; and the moist star, upon whose influence Neptune’s empire stands, was sick almost to doomsday with eclipse” (ll. 1.1. 127-132). This is an example of Homeric simile.

    “I am too much in the sun” (l. 1.2. 69). This is an example of a pun because sun has double meaning. It means sun as in the star and son as in a father’s son.

  8.   Joseph B. Says:

    An initial metaphor used by Shakespeare appears within scene two of the second act, where the Queen says to Polonius during their discussion of Hamlet, “More matter with less art,” (l. 2.2, 103). An allusion appears earlier in the story, with a brief mentioning of Saint Patrick, with the line, “Yes, by Saint Patrick, but there is, Horatio,” (l. 1.5, 152).

  9.   Joe K. Says:

    “My fate cries out and makes each petty arture in this body as hardy as the Nemean lion’s nerve.” (1.5.91-93)

    “He raised a sigh so piteous and profound as it did seem to shatter all his bulk and end his being.” (2.1.106-108)

  10.   Luke D Says:

    Allusion

    King: “But know noble youth, the serpent that did stinng thy father’s life now wears his crown” (1.5.45-47).

    Pun

    Guildenstern: “Happy in that we are not over happy. On fortunes cap we are not the very button.”
    Hamlet: “Nor the soles of her shoe?”
    Rosencrantz: “Neither my lord.”
    Hamlet: “Then you live about her waist or in the middle of her favors?”
    Guildenstern: “Faith, her privates we.”
    Hamlet: “In the secret parts of fortune? O must true! She is a strumpet. Come what news?” (2.2.245-254).

  11.   Kevin F Says:

    -”What is the matter, my Lord?” (l. 2-2. 211)
    Polonius to the apparently insane Hamlet who is reading a book.

    - “How pregnant sometimes his replies are!” (ll. 2-2. 226-227)
    Polonius in an aside about the nature of Hamlet’s “mad” ravings.

  12.   Sean H. Says:

    Example 1:
    Hamlet to King Claudius: “Not so, my lord; I am too much in the sun.” (I,II,69)
    This is one of the puns or play on words that Shakespeare employs so often.

    Example 2:
    Priam’s slaughter tale recited by Hamlet and First Player: “One speech in’t I chiefly loved. ‘Twas Aeneas’ (tale) to Dido, and thereabout of it especially when he speaks of Priam’s slaughter. If it live in your memory, begin at this line- let me see, let me see: The rugged Pyrrhus…” (II,II, 470-522)
    This is an example of the various allusions Shakespeare also inserts into his plays; this one is particularly notable since the speech being recited has to do with avenging one’s father’s death, precisely what Hamlet plans to do.

  13.   Billy L. Says:

    In Hamlet there are many examples of puns. Here are my examples:

    “Not so, my lord, I am too much in the sun” (1.2.69)
    This pun is used by Hamlet when he talks to the Claudius, the King. Hamlet says this in response to the King’s question “How is it the clouds still hang on you?” Hamlet responds this way because Claudius has called Hamlet his “son” much too often.

    “Let her not walk i’the sun:conception is a blessing:But not as your daughter may conceive” (2.2.201-2)

    Hamlet says this to Polonius about Ophelia. Hamlet lets Polonius know that he is aware from Polonius’ attempts to keep Ophelia away from Hamlet.

  14.   Carmony J Says:

    1) Similie: “And fall a-cursing like a very drab” (ll. II.II. 119).

    2) Pun: “A little more than kin, and less than kind” (ll. I.II. 65).

  15.   Ian H. Says:

    Throughout “Hamlet”, Shakespeare uses many devices to color up his writing. One of these devices is seen in “Yea, from the table of my memory I’ll wipe away all trivial, fond records, All saws of books, all forms, all pressures past, That youth and observation copied there, And thy commandment all alone shall live Within the book and volume of my brain, Unmixed with baser matter” (ll.1.5.105-111). This metaphor shows how Hamlet would like to erase his memory like a slate. Another metaphor is seen in the quote “The undiscovered country from whose born no traveler returns, puzzles the will and makes us rather bear those ills we have than fly to others that we know not of?” (l.3.1.87-90). The “undiscovered country” refers to death, which Hamlet is scared of.

  16.   Stanley T. Says:

    “My Father;s brother, nut no more like my father than I to Hercules.” Simile (ll.31.157-158)

    “What is the matter, my Lord” Pun (l. 95. 211)

  17.   Ballah b Says:

    A pun- ” – What do you read, my lord?”
    “Words, words, words”
    “Whats the matter, my lord?”
    ” Between who?”
    “I mean the matter that you read, my lord?” p 95 ll. 210-213

    an Allusion- ” A mote it is to trouble the mind’s eye. In the most high and plamy state of Rome, a littel ere the mightest Julius fell,…” p 15 ll. 124-126

  18.   Marcus D. Says:

    simile- Like Niobe, all tears- why she, married with my uncle, my father’s brother, but no more like my father than I to Hercules

    simile-In few, Ophelia, do not believe his vows, for they are brokers, Not of that dye which their investments show, but mere of unholy suits, breathing like sanctified and pious ther better to

  19.   Joey C Says:

    An example of a simile would be: “The graves stood tenantless, and the sheeted dead Did squeak and gibber in the Roman streets; As stars with trains of fire and dews of blood, Disasters in the sun; and the moist star.” (ll. 1. 1. 127-130). And an example of a pun would be “What is the matter, my lord?” (l. 2.2. 211).

    Please excuse the first post, for it is incorrect.

    J-Crew

  20.   Doug M. Says:

    One exaple of a simile found in act one occurs when the Ghost of Hamlet’s father is talking with Hamlet. The Ghost tells Hamlet, “[E]ach particular hair to stand an end, Like quills upon the fearful porpentine” (ll. 1.5. 25-26). There is another simile within Hamlet’s speech which ends act three. He says he is “Like John-a-dreams, unpregnant of [his] cause” (l. 2.2. 595). The notes say that “John-a-dreams” is another name for an “absent-minded dreamer” (note 595.).

  21.   Russell C Says:

    Hyperbole:

    “He would drown the stage with tears
    And cleave the general ear with horrid speech….”

    Act 2 Scene 2 Line(s) 589-590

    Hyperbole:

    “Lady, your lady-ship is nearer to heaven than when i saw you last, by the altitude of chopine”

    Act 2 Scene 2 Line(s) 449-451

  22.   Bryan W Says:

    In Hamlet, there are many examples of literary devices. Particularly, in Act 1 Scene 5, on line 76, “And curd, like eager droppings into milk”. Here we see an example of an analogy because it used the word “like” for comparison. Another example is in Act 1 Scene 2 when Hamlet is talking about his mother and he says: “Tis an unweeded garden That grows to seed”. This is an example of a metaphor.

  23.   Francis D Says:

    Simile- “My father’s brother, but no more like my father than I to Hercules” (1.2.157-158).

    Pun- “Not so, my lord, I am too much in the sun” (1.2.69).

  24.   Matt R. Says:

    One allusion in Shakespeare’s Hamlet is found in Act 1, scene 2. Hamlet is talking about his uncle now turned father, Claudius when he says “My farher’s brother, but no more like my father than I to Hercules” (1. 2. 156-157). A pun in Shakespeare’s Hamlet is found in Act 2 scene 2 in the conversation between Hamlet and Polonius. When Hamlet meets Polonius, he says “You are a fishmonger” (2.2. 190). Hamlet does neet mean that Polonius cuts up fish, he means that he is a lowly worker who deserves little respect. Clearly, this is a play on words.

  25.   Colin S. Says:

    Throughout “Hamlet” Shakespeare uses many types of literary devices. An example of on is a pun. A pun is something that has a double meaning. For example “Not so, my lord; I am too much in the sun” (Act 1:2 l. 69). Another example is metaphor, which is comparing two unlike things without like or as. An example of this is “Fie on ‘t, ah fie! ‘Tis an unweeded garden that grows to seed…” when Hamlet is referring to his chaotic life (Act 1:2 l. 139-140).

  26.   Matt H Says:

    “A little more than kin and less than kind”- Hamlet, pun (1.2. 67)

    “Fie on’t, ah fie! ‘Tis an unweeded garden that grows to seed”- Hamlet, metaphor (1.2.139-140)

  27.   robbie c Says:

    The first literary device that I found was when Hamlet replies to Claudius by stating, “Not so my lord. I am too much I’ the sun” (I.II.67). This literary device used by Shakespeare is called a pun. The second literary device that I observed Shakespeare use was when the ghost says, “Thy knotted and combined locks to part, and each hair to stand on end, like quills upon fearful propentine ” (I.V.20-21). This literary device that Shakespeare uses is called a metaphor.

  28.   Conor B. Says:

    “To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.” (ll.1.Sc.3. 84-86)

    “Ay, springes to catch woodcocks. I don know, when the blood burns, how prodigal the soul lends the tongue vows. These blazes, daughter, giving mor light then heat, extinct in both Even in their promise as it is a-making, you must not take for fire.” (ll.1.Sc.3 124-129)

  29.   garrett Says:

    The first literary device that I stumbled across is found page 15 in act 1 scene 1,where Horatio alludes to the fall of Julius Caeser,and he says on lines 126 to 127 “A little ere the mightiest Julius fell,the graves stood tenantless…” As well, another instance of an allusion in act 1 scene 5, where the dead king Hamlet claims to be “lazar like” on line 79 which refrences the bibles Lazarus, a famed begger.

  30.   John R. Says:

    “A mote it is to trouble the mind’s eye. In the most high and palmy state of Rome, A little ere the mightiest Julius fell, the grave stood tenantless, and the sheeted dead. Did squeak and gibber in the Roman streets; as stars with trains of fire and dews of blood, Disasters in the sun; and the moist star, upon whose influence Neptune’s empire stands” (II.1-1.124-131.) This is an allusion to Julius Caesar.
    “Not so, my lord; I am too much in the sun” (I.1-2.69.) This is a pun.

  31.   Paul M Says:

    example one is an allusion

    “In the most high and plamy state of Rome,
    A little ere mightiest Julius fell,”(ll.1.1.125-126)

    example two is a pun

    “Not so, my lord; I am too much in the sun”(1.1.2.69)

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