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Hamlet – Fear and Suspense in Act 1 Scene 1s

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    In Act 1 Scene 1, Shakespeare attempts to immediately capture the interest and anticipation of his audience.He does this in a number of ways that ensure the audience knows there is something wrong. Right from the veryfirst line there is a feeling of uncertainty as Barnardo inquires "who's there?".This short, sharp sentence reveals his nervousness, apprehension, his fears, and hints that there is something wrong.This section continues in this fashion, with a number of short questions, possibly revealing uncertainty amongst the guards. The tension is added to by the fact that the scene is set around twelve, midnight.This was believed by many to be the'witching hour' when people's spirits came to walk the earth.It was thought that when a person was not at rest, he or she had a reason to haunt, possibly unfinished business, or in this case revenge.Seeing as many of the audience during this period of time would have believed in such apparitions, fear of what was to come would have set in. Line 9 in Act 1 also reveals the guards tension.Barnardo, one of the two sentinels asks Francisco "Have you had quiet guard?"This makes him seem nervous, as though he is expecting something to have gone wrong.He then goes on and asks Francisco to hurry the rivals of his watch, showing that he does not wish to be on his own, and has a feeling of anticipation about him. The theme continues with short and sharp sentences, designed to quicken the pace the play is read at, reinforcing the feeling of fear and suspense.Horatio adds to the atmosphere by showing his disbelief of the apparition.This almost creates a hint of dramatic as the audience begins to realise that the ghost is likely to appear. Once the ghost has appeared the other two guards rely on Horatio to speak to it.It is said that this is because he is a scholar, and can ther…

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