How does "Hamlet" present both inward and outward drama (especially in Act 1, Scene 2)?a focus on act 1 scene 2

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robertwilliam eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Well, I think "Hamlet" is a play with lots of internal and external drama. There are lots of parts of the play and Shakespeare's plot which are dramatic on an external level: the appearance of a ghost on the castle battlements in the early hours of the morning, a play-within-the-play, and, at the end, a furious sword fight involving double-crossing, poisoned swords, and a huge body count lying on the floor.

Internal drama, I think, chiefly focusses upon the character of Hamlet himself. We see him struggle with the death of his father and the marriage of his mother, and he dramatically and actively debates in his soliloquies (which are perhaps intended to be delivered to the audience)  whether he is doing the right thing, or what he should do next. Against an external drama of war, of usurpation, there is set the internal drama of one young man and his struggle to cope with his life.

In Act 1, Scene 2, I think you've got both internal and external in play. External drama features in Claudius' big public speech (which opens the scene) and watching the government of a whole country in operation. Internal drama follows immediately with Hamlet's first soliloquy:

 O, that this too too sullied flesh would melt,
Thaw and resolve itself into a dew,
Or that the Everlasting had not fix'd
His canon 'gainst self-slaughter! O God! God!

Shakespeare shifts from big external dramatic gestures, to the inside of Hamlet's head and heart.

Hope it helps!