Please help with literary terms in this excerpt from Hamlet.Please help me annotate this following passage from Act 2, Scene 2 of Hamlet. Annotate as in, help me find literary terms such as...

Please help with literary terms in this excerpt from Hamlet.

Please help me annotate this following passage from Act 2, Scene 2 of Hamlet. Annotate as in, help me find literary terms such as metaphors, similes, hyperboles, alliterations, paradox, euphemism, synecdoches, and others if listed.

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Asked on by ravenmailk

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lmetcalf's profile pic

lmetcalf | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted on

Here are few examples to get you started:

1.  euphemism -- this is a polite way of saying something that otherwise sound distasteful.  The Queen tells Ros and Guil that if they can help with Hamlet they "shall receive such thanks as fits a king's rememberance."  This is a nice way of saying that the king and queen will give them a monetary reward.  This is kind of bribe in betraying their friend to his parents.

2.  Metaphor -- implied comparison.  Polonius enters and claims that he now knows the cause of Hamlet's lunacy.  He also tells the king that there is good news from Norway and claims that his "news shall be the fruit to that great feast."  He is implying that the news from Norway is an excellent feast, but that his news about Hamlet will be the dessert on the top of it all.

3.  An example of a paradox would be when Hamlet is speaking with Polonius and acting crazy and he tells the old man "you should be old as I am if, like a crab, you could be backward."  No one can actually go back in time, but Hamlet seems to be offering him a suggestion to that affect.

4.  Hyperbole is an overstatement.  When Hamlet is talking with Ros and Guil he calls Denmark a prison.  It isn't really a prison and it isn't even THAT bad, but he is using this metaphor and trying to express his complete displeasure with the current status of things right now.

5.  An example of alliteration is present when Hamlet is confronting Ros and Guil about this visit to Elsinore and he says, "there is a kind of confession in your looks which your modesties have not craft enough to color."  The harsh "c" sound hardens the tone of the accusation.

There are lots of other examples of literaty devices in the play -- as you read be on the look out for figurative language, especially metaphor and similes.  If you don't think about what they mean right away, then sometimes the meaning of the line is lost.  Other devices like some that I noted above are best discovered on a second reading.

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