Use of Symbols & Classical Allusions in Hamlet

Zaheer Ahmad


Shakespeare is one of the greatest writers of the world particularly he has no equal in English literature. As a dramatist he has provided the world with the best of material. His plays are read, interpreted and translated in other languages. Samuel Johnson claims that puns are to Shakespeare what “luminous vapours are to the traveller; he follows it at all adventures; it is sure to lead him out of his way, and sure to engulf him in the mire.” Language in literature has always been a very typical way. The writers take help of many things used in figurative language. That is why literary language becomes different from common language. Shakespeare makes use of many rhetorical devices, ranging from the commonplace (metaphor, simile, and so on) to the exotic (polysyndeton—the repetition of conjunctions in a series of coordinate words, phrases or clauses). An important step, though, is simply being aware that these texts are highly rhetorical, and the rhetoric works both to embellish the text and express characterization. Being a great writer, Shakespeare uses the language which is not easily comprehended by a new reader. Beyond any doubt, his language is aphoristic and full of depth and profoundness. The aim of this study is to point out symbols and classical allusions used in Hamlet but at a limited level. The study will be of assistance for the new readers to understand Hamlet.

Keywords: Particular language, pun, rhetorical devices, wordplay, metaphor, embellish, aphoristic, allusions, symbols.


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