Hamlet Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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How does a speech from Hamlet target the Elizabethan audience socially, culturally, and economically?

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Hamlet's monologue from act I, scene IV is a good representation of how Shakespeare can use these speeches to appeal to the Elizabethan audience culturally, economically, and socially.

The social aspect comes from the conversation about a "tradition" that this monologue is stemming from. The scene begins with Hamlet, Horatio, and Marcellus. It's just after midnight when the sounds of trumpets and cannons spark a discussion about the king's tradition of staying up all night drinking and dancing:

The king doth wake tonight and takes his rouse,
Keeps wassail and the swaggering upspring reels,
And, as he drains his draughts of Rhenish down,
The kettle-drum and trumpet thus bray out
The triumph of his pledge.

Horatio asks Hamlet if this is a tradition, to which Hamlet replies affirmatively and says that it's one he thinks should be ignored instead of practiced. Drinking is a very social activity, one that the Elizabethan audience likely partakes in quite often. So right here, they're already hooked by the discussion of alcohol and wondering why Hamlet thinks the King's tradition should be ignored.

Culturally they're inclined to listen to Hamlet because he states that he's a native of the area (Denmark), giving him grounds to talk about his disapproval (as opposed to being from a different country and theoretically having no business talking about the practices of a foreign one).

But to my mind, though I am native here
And to the manner born, it is a custom
More honored in the breach than the observance.
This heavy-headed revel east and west
Makes us traduced and taxed of other nations.

Here, Hamlet's...

(The entire section contains 541 words.)

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