Power Of Words In Hamlet

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Throughout the play, words spur Hamlet, among other characters, into action. Language first functions as “poison in the ear,” influencing the minds of others and controlling their perceptions of the truth. Additionally, words drive the outcomes of the play, as they shape and contort character’s realities. In Hamlet, words thus function not only as such weapons, but also as platforms upon which to understand and reconstruct action and reality. Words can be used for communication and the exchange of ideas; throughout Hamlet, however, words are often used to manipulate the truth and serve as tools in corrupt missions for power and political stability. Characters exploit the properties of language for their own advantage. In particular, ears…show more content…
Although Hamlet believes he could “drink hot blood /and do such (bitter) business as the day,” he realizes that he must restrain his anger and “be cruel, not unnatural” to his mother. Hamlet attempts to embody a perverted sense of human kindness in contrast to inhumaneness, which alludes to the extreme cruelty of Nero and Claudius's killing of his brother. He realizes that he must feign violent intentions toward his mother; his mind and his words will not correspond and instead, the “tongue and soul in this be hypocrites.” The actor who once mystified Hamlet in his abilities to “force his soul so to his own conceit” now inspires Hamlet to manipulate his own emotions and behaviors to deceive and “cleave the general’s ear with horrid speech.” Hamlet’s continued manipulation of words also plays a role in his conversations with Ophelia as he infantilizes and sexually objectifies her. While Hamlet could have simply ignored Ophelia, rather he uses his way with words to “speak daggers to her.” He mocks her as a “breeder of sinners” and scolds her to “get thee to a nunnery” at once. He not only questions women’s abilities to cuckold and make “monsters” of men, but also their corrupted and flirtatious “jig and amble.” Hamlet thus alters language in order to prove his “antic

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