Hamlet: Scene Analysis

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Student’s Name: Professor’s Name: Course Name: Date: Hamlet: The Nunnery Scene One of William Shakespeare’s most celebrated works is Hamlet. Although the play is filled with captivating soliloquies and mind-boggling narrations, the playwright’s most prominent strengths lied in his excellent scenes. In Hamlet, the nunnery scene is one such magnificent scene. It features Hamlet confronting Ophelia and giving her a very candid talk about what he feels and further, what he sees in her as his potential wife. The protagonist’s words leave Ophelia shocked and hurt as he comes off as callous and insensitive. Ultimately Act 3 Scene 1, popularly referred to as the nunnery scene, presents the audience with a chance to understand both Hamlet’s and Ophelia’s characters as well as the feelings they shared for each other. The word 'nunnery' in the play has two possible interpretations. The most obvious is a school for nuns. Hamlet tells Ophelia to go to the school so that she does not have to give birth to sinners. By shutting herself away from men, then she avoids the temptation of being with one and ultimately having children that will grow up to be sinners like him and many others who are just like him. In Hamlet’s scathing attack and description of how she must desist from giving birth, he tells her, “Get thee to a nunnery. Why wouldst thou be a breeder of sinners?” (Shakespeare 1814) Nunnery could also refer to a place of prostitution or a brothel as this was an accepted meaning during Shakespeare’s time. If indeed Hamlet refers to a brothel then it would only mean he is merely attempting to be crueler to Ophelia. This meaning also seems to be in

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