Formalism is a school of literary criticism that states that the analysis of a text can be scientific and objective. The main focus is placed on the form of the text, and the context and the content are not important. When analysing a text from the point of view of this literary theory, one seeks to understand the form of text, the latter involves literary devices, and identifying the patterns and elements that are repeated. So, this approach studies the structure of the text, and not really the metaphors and other figures of speech. Having that in mind, to study the structure of the text in Hamlet by William Shakespeare one should analyze the repeated references to death and decay in the play.
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