The Use of Rhetoric in Shakespeare's Hamlet

Shakespeare was a skillful writer and had the ability to form different styles of characters effectively to develop the story to captivate his audience. In Hamlet, Shakespeare creates several “Masters of Rhetoric” who skillfully use language to gain an upper hand over other characters, as well as to accent the character’s personal motive’s and desire’s to the audience. Shakespeare develops certain characters such as Hamlet and Claudius as Masters of Rhetoric to show their puissance, and uses Polonius and his comical failed attempts at rhetoric to show his weaknesses. Hamlet and Claudius continually use rhetoric to battle each other with words, trying to prove their prowess and gain the ...

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a great dramatic tragedy.
The first example we have of Masters of Rhetoric is in Scene 2 of Act 1.

King: But now, my cousin Hamlet, and my son-
Hamlet: A little more than kin, and less than kind.
King: How is it that the clouds still hang on you?
Hamlet: Not so, my lord, I am too much in the sun (I.ii.)

Hamlet and Claudius retort towards each other from their very first conversation in the play. Hamlet is trying to display his anger of Claudius’ marriage to Gertrude. Then Hamlet uses the word “sun” as a pun, in reference to Claudius calling him “son” three lines previously. In this and some other uses of Hamlet’s speech, he seems to trying to show his anger through a sassy use of words that display his bitterness. At times, Hamlet will take a word from someone else’s speech and dwell on it and do something with it as a challenge, and to apply an emphasis.

Queen: Why seems it so particular with thee?
Hamlet: Seems, madam? nay, it is, I know not “seems.” ...

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The Use of Rhetoric in Shakespeare's Hamlet. (2011, April 28). Retrieved October 28, 2020, from
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"The Use of Rhetoric in Shakespeare's Hamlet." April 28, 2011. Accessed October 28, 2020.
"The Use of Rhetoric in Shakespeare's Hamlet." April 28, 2011. Accessed October 28, 2020.
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Added: 4/28/2011 10:52:23 PM
Submitted By: edblagg
Category: Shakespeare
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 1222
Pages: 5

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