What are some good examples of speeches given in Act IV by characters, which target the audience in social, cultural or economic values?The quote should give a cause and effect explanation to the...

What are some good examples of speeches given in Act IV by characters, which target the audience in social, cultural or economic values?

The quote should give a cause and effect explanation to the audience of Shakespeare's time.

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lit24 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

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1 Social: In Act IV Sc.2, Rosencrantz asks Hamlet where he has hidden Polonius' body. Hamlet refuses to answer him and insults him by calling him a sponge:

"But such officers do the
king best service in the end: he keeps them, like
an ape, in the corner of his jaw; first mouthed, to
be last swallowed: when he needs what you have
gleaned, it is but squeezing you, and, sponge, you
shall be dry again."

Although Rosencrantz is offended, Hamlet insists that he is nothing but a 'sponge' and warns him that after Claudius has used him he will cast him out of his presence just like the ape which after it has squeezed out the essence from its food will spit out the residue. Hamlet, being a prince must have seen many sponges-sycophants and timeservers- in his father's court.

The contemporary elizabethan audience would have readily understood the social significance of Hamlet's metaphors, 'sponge' and  'ape' when applied to Rosencrantz.

2.Cultural: In ActIV Sc.7, Claudius tries to instigate Laertes to kill Hamlet. In the course of his speech he praises a Norman youth by name Lamond who was an  exceptionally skilled horseman thus,

"but this gallant
Had witchcraft in't; he grew unto his seat;
And to such wondrous doing brought his horse,
As he had been incorpsed and demi-natured
With the brave beast: so far he topp'd my thought,
That I, in forgery of shapes and tricks,
Come short of what he did."

This speech would have immediately struck a sympathetic chord in the minds of the contemporary elizabethan audience who were deeply interested in the art of horsemanship and they would have appreciated the cultural implications of Claudius' speech.

3. Economic: In Act IV Sc.4, Hamlet's soliloquy  underscores the importance of economic values to a contemporary elizabethan audience:

"Rightly to be great
Is not to stir without great argument,
But greatly to find quarrel in a straw
When honour's at the stake"

The young prince Fortinbras is leading his army against Poland and risking his life and the lives  of his soldiers for a patch of worthless ground. The Captain of the Norwegian army explains to Hamlet the value of the land that they are doing battle for thus:

"We go to gain a little patch of ground
That hath in it no profit but the name.
To pay five ducats, five, I would not farm it;
Nor will it yield to Norway or the Pole
A ranker rate, should it be sold in fee."

Shakespeare's audience would have immediately understood the economic importance of war and its  ill effects on the economy of a nation.

 

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