Hamlet (ethos,pathos,logos) William Shakespeare is one of the most brilliant, acclaimed writers to this day who has left a permanent mark in the english literature. He wrote a total of 37 plays, using his only 3 writing categories: history, tragedy, and comedy. During his era, also known as Elizabethan era, in the late 1500’s to early 1600’s, the success of plays and scripts soared through the roof, one renowned play being The Tragedy of Hamlet. Shakespeare uses many literary components and language strategies that make his writing unique. Aside from being a pristine writer, William Shakespeare incorporates strategic rhetorical devices known as pathos, logos, and ethos in The Tragedy of Hamlet. Hamlet is a character who mostly acts out of emotion rather than logic, however we do see a glimpse of logos being used behind his shocking master mind during the ‘play within a play’.
After hearing from his deceased father in a spirit form that Claudius was the culprit of his death, Hamlet is torn to shreds and vacillates on what action to take next. The play shows Hamlet’s pellucid internal conflicts he faces, from trying to seek revenge on his monstrous uncle to coping with his seemingly insensitive mother who has disappointed him immensely. Rather than solely relying on a ghost for his evidence, in order to fully convince himself King Cladius murdered King Hamlet, Prince Hamlet decides to recreate the scene in the form of a play. Now, this decision, unlike his previous track record, contained some strategic thinking and logic that in the end would prove to his favor. During the entire plan he is trying to stir a reaction out of King Hamlet, and indeed accomplishes this when the actor playing a brother poisons his own brother. Not only did the King get flustered, but Queen Gertrude even asks Hamlet, “Why seems it so particular with thee?”. Hamlet then deeply explains his true betrayal and sorrow he feels towards the situation and that of course his tears can show his partial feelings, but nothing in comparison to his griefing within(1.2.76-86).
Shakespeare used a widely accepted rhetorical device: logos, by including the ‘play within a play’. He depicts Prince Hamlet’s underlying emotions and really captures the relationship between “show and reality.” Hamlet, like every other tragic hero, holds a tragic flaw which happens to be hesitation. During the entire play, Shakespeare hones in on Hamlet’s restraintment towards mutilating King Claudius. Hamlet uses ethos to convince himself and the audience that he must seek revenge on Claudius in honor of his father and for the better of the kingdom. The audience can see this occur when Hamlet attempts to kill Claudius three times. One occasion being the most vulnerable time, where Claudius is casted confessing his sins isolated, however, Hamlet hesitates. One conspiracy about this hesitation is that Claudius had a guilty conscience and confessed his sins, therefore he would have gone to heaven if he were to die on the spot. Hamlet continues to face the battle of the mind regarding his ambition and strive for honor, he even questions himself : “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. How stand I then,/That has a father kill’d, a mother stain’d, /Excitements of my reason and my blood,/And let all sleep?” (4.433-35).
Once again, Hamlet is attempting to convince his inner conscious and the audience that he, himself is a worthy, noble man and considering the grief he suffered through has every right to finalize his revenge scheme. Shakespeare uses his final literary device, pathos numerous times throughout the play; Hamlot naturally is portrayed as an emotional character and the audience feels this connection immensely. Unfortunately Hamlet gets the backlash of Ophelia’s punishment from her father. Ethos is used heavily in the scene where Ophelia’s father expresses he wishes Ophelia to stop all forms of interaction with Hamlet. Ophelia’s father notes that,”For he himself is subject to his birth. He may not, as unvalued persons do,20Carve for himself, for on his choice depends.” (1.3.18-21). His fatherly instinct and Polonius’s overly protective, brotherly self both come to the agreement that Hamlet is only playing her like a fiddle and planning to marry into a wealthier, superior family. Consequently, this disrupts the romance between Ophelia and Hamlet leaving the audience with an emotional, bad taste in their mouth. Shakespeare purposely includes the power couple’s secretive, micheviouse love life before Ophelia’s family puts their foot down in order to draw in the audience’s attention.
Thus, using his infamous tragedy finale and incorporating pathos into a devastating scene. Today, rhetorical devices are still very much prevalent, not only in plays but among the business realm for marketing as well. The recurring theme of life and death is shown through The Tragedies of Hamlet and of course ends in an unsettling way, like most of Shakespeare’s plays. The brilliant mind of Shakespheres leaves the audience with unbecoming emotions, but craving more. Even though Hamelet is scheming a murder and accidentelly kills polonius during it, Shakepsheres dipicts glimpse of Hamlets character and helps the viwers form a personable connection feeling sympathetic. At last, Hamlet forms a steady plan to end Claudius using logical thinking skills, but to no surprise his tragic flaw comes into play and he still hesitates. Every specific act and scene Shakespeare’s coordinates to flow together and accomplishes to connect with the audience.