Hamlet Questions and Answers
by William Shakespeare

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What are some examples of metonymy in the play. Describe how they are used in the play, and how effectively they are used.

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Metonymy is the substitution of a word with another that is closely related to it and there are many of them in "Hamlet" (and throughout Shakespeare's plays).  Act 1, sc. 2, when Hamlet is lamenting his mother's marriage to her former brother-in-law (ll.156-157), he refers to her marriage as a rush to "incestuous sheets".  In scene 3 of Act 1 when Polonius is admonishing Laertes with how to act while Laertes is in Paris, Polonius tells him to "give every man thy ear" (l. 68).  Polonius uses the phrase...

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