Explore a specific example that includes details for each in the play: 1. warning 2. madness 3. death

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In Hamlet there are several warnings which bring to light unnatural relationships (incest, adultery, murder) and the prison-like police-state spying in Denmark.

The Ghost warns Hamlet: "Let not the royal bed of Denmark be / A couch for luxury and damned incest."

Hamlet warns the audience in his soliloquy:

I will speak daggers to her, but use none;
My tongue and soul in this be hypocrites;
How in my words soever she be shent,
To give them seals never, my soul, consent!

The feigned madness of Hamlet juxtaposes the real madness of Ophelia:

Hamlet admits of his pretend madness: "I am but mad north-north-west: when the wind is southerly I know a hawk from a handsaw."

Polonius senses Hamlet's feigned madness: "Though this be madness, yet there is method in 't."

Ophelia's real madness: "Well, God 'ild you! They say the owl was a baker's daughter. Lord, we know what we are, but know not what we may be. God be at your table!"

Death is what everyone in the play is headed; the body count in this play is Shakespeare's greatest for an Act V:

Claudius tries to counsel Hamlet on death in Act I:

Tis sweet and commendable in your nature, Hamlet,
To give these mourning duties to your father:
But, you must know, your father lost a father;
That father lost, lost his, and the survivor bound
In filial obligation for some term
To do obsequious sorrow: but to persever
In obstinate condolement is a course
Of impious stubbornness; 'tis unmanly grief;

Hamlet contemplates death in the famous scene with Yorick's skull in Act V:

To what base uses we may return, Horatio! Why may
not imagination trace the noble dust of Alexander,
till he find it stopping a bung-hole?

Read the study guide:
Hamlet

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