Comparison of Fall of Man and Hamlet
The medieval traditions shown in the "Fall of Man" were very
apparent in Shakespeare's play, Hamlet. It is not known whether or not
Shakespeare ever read the "Fall of Man", and it does not matter, for the
effects and influence of the “Fall of Man” on Shakespeare's writing is very
obvious when the plots of both stories are examined. Both are written in
archaic form, as well as with a very strict rhyme scheme. “The Fall of Man”
is a tragedy, the same as Hamlet. The reaches of the medieval writings
grasp deep into Shakespeare's characters, with common characteristics
shared between the characters in “The Fall of Man” and Hamlet. Even
further, Shakespeare's audience would have had to have been very fluent in
the language of medieval plays, for there are many references in Hamlet, to
plays and mythology of a much earlier date.
The style of writing used in "The Fall of Man” is very similar to
that used by Shakespeare in Hamlet. This is a sign that medieval plays and
literature was an influence on Shakespeare's writing. In "The Fall of Man"
the common amount of syllables per line is eight. “That moffes me mikill
in my minde:”[line 2] or “I knawe it wele, this was His skille”[line 46],
these are both examples from “The Fall of Man”. The breaks in this pattern
are quite often put there for emphasis on a line, word or point trying to
be made. Shakespeare also has a common amount of syllables, ten per line,
with a break in pattern for emphasizes, for example: “He hath, my lord,
wrung from me my slow leave”[I, II, 61], or ...
... middle of paper ...
rend'ring pelican”[IV, V, 160] which is a reference to the Elizabethan
belief that pelican fed their young by tearing skin off their breast to
feed them. With this knowledge that may have been common to them, they
received an insight that is not available to readers of today.
Shakespeare's writings are obviously deeply impacted by the older
literature and plays. This becomes obvious when the technique and story
lines of "The Fall of Man" and Hamlet are compared. The two are very
similar. With the similarities between the older “Fall of Man” and Hamlet,
it becomes inevitable that for Shakespeare's plays to have been so famous
and popular, his audience must have had the same understanding of medieval
writings, such as “The Fall of Man”, as Shakespeare himself did.
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