A Hamlet essay is an essay focusing on William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet. Hamlet is probably Shakespeare’s most frequently discussed play. It is required reading in most high schools in the United States, and is also a topic in many college-level literature courses. It touches on a number of topics, such as fratricide, incest, and madness, which means it provides a number of interesting essay possibilities. However, the reason it remains compelling is because the play is uncertain. This gives a writer significant leeway when writing about Hamlet, but also requires a writer to support any statements or positions with in-text evidence.
He never sees things from the perspective of other people or overthinks the moral implications of his deeds. Fortinbras challenges Claudius openly, unlike Hamlet who merely stages a play to test Claudius' guilt and tries (and fails) to kill the King at prayer. At first, Hamlet drew inspiration from a Player King's passion. In his "How all occasions" soliloquy he draws inspiration to take revenge from a real person.
Fortinbras' actions may be one reason that Hamlet decides to arrange for the murder of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern upon his return to Denmark. He tries to emulate Fortinbras' lack of concern for the fates of common people. He says to Horatio:
They are not near my conscience; their defeat
Does by their own insinuation grow:
'Tis dangerous when the baser nature comes
Between the pass and fell incensed points
Of mighty opposites (V.5).
Hamlet, however, never is able to fully emulate…… [Read More]
"(Summary and Analysis: Act V)
It is clear that Hamlet undergoes a personal transformation as he holds the skull of the court jester of his childhood and as he has lost all of those he loves so dear. Whether his mind clears or he simply is able to step back from that which bound him from action and had him hiding behind a mask of insanity it is clear that Hamlet breaks free and finally acts upon that which tortures his mind. However, heroic Hamlet was however, the end result was one of tragedy and ending in a full and final dose of the poison that ran throughout the current in this play.
Friedlander, Ed M.D. (2005) "Enjoying 'Hamlet' by William Shakespeare." Online available at http://www.pathguy.com/hamlet.htm#doeshamlethesitate.
Hamlet: Introduction (2006) E-notes Online available at http://www.enotes.com/hamlet/.
Summary and Analysis: Act V (2006) Online Gradeserver available at http://www.gradesaver.com/classicnotes/titles/hamlet/section7.html.
Eliot, T.S. (1888-1965)…… [Read More]
i., 124). What is clear is that Ophelia bears a certain significance to Hamlet that he never comes fully to grips with, and that is never fully revealed in the text. The multitude of emotions and relationships that Hamlet bears towards Ophelia, like those that exist between he and his mother and between he and Claudius, lead to complex and sometimes conflicting motivations for hamlet, causing him to remain inactive on almost all fronts for much of the play.
There are many different influences on Hamlet's psychological progression throughout the play, but his relationships with other people taken as a whole constitute the most important feature of his life in this regard. Hamlet remains inactive because he is torn by a variety of different and often oppositional loyalties and feelings, and is left unsure of who or what is right and wrong because every person he encounters seems to…… [Read More]
"It is true that Hamlet dies because he postpones too long the killing of the king. But it is equally true significant that Claudius dies because he postpones too long the killing of Hamlet" (Elliott, 1951).
Great Britain has produced ones of the greatest writers of all times, with William Shakespeare being the most relevant example to sustain this statement. His Hamlet has been played for years within theaters and has even been adapted to films. The long lived success of this play is due to a multitude of elements, such as the human interest raised by murder, family affairs or ghosts, as well as the complexity of the characters constructed by the English dramatist.
The general perception is that the main character in Shakespeare's tragedy is Hamlet, the Prince of Denmark, as shown by the very title of the play. While the veracity of this belief is…… [Read More]
After Hamlet has killed Polonius and Laertes has returned from Paris demanding satisfaction, Hamlet justly observes "by the image of my cause, I see the portraiture of his." It is the contrasts between these three characters which give significance to the parallelisms. The intelligent, sensitive Hamlet and the hot-headed Machiavellian Laertes perish on the same poisoned foil, leaving the kingdom to the cool-headed Norwegian, who has been a shrewder contriver than either. To drop the Fortinbras scenes from the play, as is frequently done in modern productions, is to destroy Shakespeare's dramatic plan.
Holzknecht hints at the dramatic plan of the work and also gives us the missing final peace in the puzzle of Shakespeare's message. The constant and literal brutality that is derived from ambition and even righteous revenge could end in the loss of the kingdom, thus leaving the contriver, no matter how good, with nothing…… [Read More]
Here we see that Hamlet recognizes his weaknesses and his depression and blames them o the ghost. It is also significant to realize that Hamlet is practically resigning himself to a damned life with this assumption. He goes on to consider life and death and considers each. He states:
To be, or not to be, -- that is the question:
hether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? -- to die, -- to sleep,
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heartache, and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to. (III.i.56-63).
This passage reveals hamlet's deteriorating state of mind as well as his fatigue. He is simply mentally and physically exhausted and there is no way for him to escape the conflict…… [Read More]
Hamlet's attitude towards the other female characters in the play, such as Ophelia is shaped by the distrust of women that is engendered by the mother's actions.
Many critics have noted the strange and extreme attitude that Hamlet has towards women in general. As one critic notes,
...there is a distinctive pattern in Hamlet's language and behaviour whenever he is thinking about or dealing with Ophelia and Gertrude in fact, Hamlet's peculiarly aggressive and often cynical view of these two women and, beyond them, of women in general, is an important indication of the general unhealthiness of Hamlet's character.
To fully understand this "unhealthy" attitude towards women one has to take into account the central themes and the play as discussed above. Hamlet is already filled with doubt and the ghost's revelation shatters his world and any existential unity and wholesomeness that he may have had. This is exacerbated…… [Read More]
.. O, woe is me, t' have seen what I have seen, see what I see!" (3.1. 116-164). The connotation is that her heart is breaking. This scene combined with her original startled outcry to Polonius in Act I further illustrates that Ophelia was in love with Hamlet, and that she did not meet him with ill intent despite the ulterior motives of everyone else.
This further builds upon previous evidence of Ophelia's subservience and accommodation to those in authority. She shut up when ordered to do so and followed orders when commanded even at her own expense subjecting herself to Hamlet's caustic degradation, "You should not have believed me...Get thee to a nunnery
I am very proud, revengeful, ambitious, with more offenses at my beck... Go they ways to nunnery. If thou dost marry, I'll give thee plague for thy dowry... Or if thou wilt marry, marry a fool,…… [Read More]
A hop'd thou shouldst have been my Hamlet's wife; thought thy bride-bed to have deck'd, sweet maid,
And not have strew'd thy grave (V.1.244-247).
hen Hamlet is feigning madness and wishes to tweak Laertes, he claims to have loved Ophelia, though his actions previously have not shown much love for her:
lov'd Ophelia. Forty thousand brothers
Could not (with all their quantity of love)
Make up my sum. hat wilt thou do for her? (V.1.280-282).
Laertes certainly does not see Hamlet as a lover for his sister and instead believes that Hamlet is only trifling with her, and he warns her of this:
For Hamlet, and the trifling of his favour,
Hold it a fashion, and a toy in blood;
violet in the youth of primy nature,
Forward, not permanent? sweet, not lasting;
The perfume and suppliance of a minute;
No more I.iii.7-12).
Her father, Polonius, asks her openly what…… [Read More]
The fact is, illaimson's initial assertion that the history or legend behind Shakespeare's Hamlet does not matter; neither does the earlier tragedy upon which Shakespeare's play was based. Shakespeare had almost no original story lines; it was the way his characters reacted to the plot, what thy thought, and how they expressed themselves that made -- and make -- the plays so watchable and such towering testaments of the possibilities and endless varieties of language. It is Shakespeare's use of the word, not the plot device, that placed him at the head of the English literary canon, and it is really only the text of his version of the Hamlet story tat needs to be examined in a critical analysis of the work.
Eventually, illiamson comes back to this point, which he made and lost sight of as quickly as he accused others of at the start of his essay.…… [Read More]
Polonius' concerns are different -- he warns her that Hamlet is "out of her star" and that she should not give too much weight to Hamlet's "tenders" of affection.
What does the Ghost tell Hamlet to do and not to do? Why does Hamlet believe he needs independent proof about the validity of the Ghost?
The Ghost tells Hamlet to take vengeance upon his uncle for his death, but not to harm Hamlet's mother. Hamlet knows that his mind is slightly unbalanced from his grief, though, so he devises a test. He believes that devilish beings often prey upon people who are slightly unhinged because of a loss.
Who is Polonius? What is his analysis of Hamlet's "madness"? What do his speeches show us about him?
Polonius is the king's advisor and counselor. He believes that Hamlet is mad for love of Ophelia. He speaks in long winded…… [Read More]
Shakespeare's play Hamlet is essentially a character study of one man's slow descent into insanity. The play opens with the Danish prince presented rather innocently, as his father recently died and it is understandable that he might be caught up in grief. However, the appearance of his father's ghost shakes Hamlet to the core. He is faced suddenly with the arduous task of avenging his father's murder. Hamlet believes himself to be a weak man, as he states that his uncle Claudius is "no more like my father / Than I to Hercules," (Act I, scene ii). Yet Hamlet feels a keen sense of ironic moral duty to kill Claudius. If he listens to his conscience and refrains from committing murder, he risks being damned by not fulfilling his father's wishes from beyond the grave. On the other hand, if Hamlet fulfills his father's desire for revenge, he will…… [Read More]
Many consider Shakespeare's "Hamlet" to be the most problematic play ever written (Croxford pp). Leslie Croxford writes in his article, "The Uses of Interpretation in Hamlet" for a 2004 issue of Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics, that the play presents inconsistencies that arise from the "variousness" of its medieval and Renaissance sources, from discrepancies between printed version of the drama, and from a host of unresolved thematic and psychological problems, such as the famous question of why Hamlet delays his revenge (Croxford pp). Thus, there are endless interpretations of the play (Croxford pp). T.S. Eliot called Hamlet "the 'Mona Lisa' of literature," and it is true, for no other work has presented more uncertain meanings (Croxford pp).
In giving interpretation such significance, Shakespeare had to develop previous versions of the story, thus, when one considers the issue of interpretation in the play, one is also examining a prime example…… [Read More]
" Calling their marriage incestuous and wicked draws attention to the depth of feeling gnawing away at Hamlet, the complex emotions that drive his actions throughout the course of the play. Hamlet perceives their union as being against divine law by using words like "incestuous" and "wicked." The use of several mythological allusions during the soliloquy also underscores Hamlet's detachment from reality: Hamlet refers to Hyperion, satyrs, Niobe and Hercules.
Furthermore, the verses contain considerable foreshadowing, especially when Hamlet suggests that the marriage "cannot come to good." He senses doom even before becoming aware of the murder and being drawn into a plot to exact revenge for his father. Because of Hamlet's frank discussion of death, including his own, in the first soliloquy the audience is well-prepared for the bloody events to follow.
Hamlet also cries "Frailty, thy name is woman!" partly in anger against his mother but also demonstrating…… [Read More]
Why does Hamlet not kill Claudius when the king is at prayer?
Hamlet's states that he does not want to send Claudius to heaven. His father is condemned to purgatory, because Old Hamlet was not able to confess his sins, and Hamlet's father must walk the earth until he has done penance in the afterlife. Now Claudius is confessing and receiving absolution for his sins, Hamlet believes, so he should not send him "straight to heaven" while Claudius is at prayer.
Describe Hamlet's treatment of Gertrude during their confrontation in her private room? Is Hamlet justified in his treatment? Why does the Ghost appear here?
Although Gertrude may not be blameless, Hamlet does not merely insult his mother for marrying a murderer, but for remarrying at all after her first husband's death. Hamlet expects his mother to live chastely, which seems like an unrealistic expectation, and also inappropriate for a…… [Read More]
a) "Make thy two eyes, like stars, start from their spheres" (1.5.17)
In this line from the first act of Hamlet, the ghost instructs his son to kill his uncle and in so doing, avenge his death. He asks that Prince Hamlet watch everything carefully in order to determine whether or not the Ghost speaks the truth. Just as it is the job of the stars to provide light in the darkness of night, Hamlet is asked to cast light into this dark situation. Instead of witnessing events with ignorance, Hamlet must now see everything in the light of this new information. By performing this action, he will be doing what is morally right and avenging a great wrong.
b) "hat a piece of work is man!...in action how like an angel! In apprehension how like a god!" (2.2.300-301).
Hamlet has come to realize that his childhood friends,…… [Read More]
Throughout the play Shakespeare presents Ophelia as the symbol of innocence who is destroyed by the evil and harshness of the world; which has its origins in the murder of the King. We experience her slide towards insanity in terms of the terrible predicament of her situation. It is also tragically ironic that the real cause or her madness is the murder of Hamlet's father, which has also driven Hamlet towards madness for revenge. Once Ophelia find that the father has been murdered by Hamlet, this pushes her over the edge and she loses contact with reality. This is portrayed in the pathetic nonsensical songs that she sings, which suggests that her loss of faith in Hamlet and the murder of her father have destroyed her senses. "He is dead and gone, lady, he is dead and gone..." (IV.V.29-30).
The madness of Hamlet however is the centre around which the…… [Read More]
One of the most tragic characters ever created by Shakespeare is Hamlet, the Prince of Denmark. His tragic evolution relies on two important pillars: the inner conflict that devours him, correlated with the honourable necessity to revenge his father murder, and the frail nature of Hamlet as an individual evolving in a cruel world, a world often ruled by forces which we cannot control.
Hamlet's inner conflict, a constant throughout the play, is first triggered in Scene V, Act I, with the ghostly apparition of his father. It is here that Hamlet learns his father was murdered and where the spirit demands revenge: "Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder" (Act I, Scene V). Further on, Hamlet learns not only of the nature of his father death, but, most important, of the person who has committed the crime: "but know, thou noble youth, the serpent that did sting thy…… [Read More]
("Tragedy in Maceth," 2009)
This leads to the death of Maceth's friend and ally (anquo). As these prophecies are influencing Maceth to the point, that he begins to see everyone as his enemy. This is when, he turns on anquo based upon: his knowledge about previous murders that Maceth was involved in. This is problematic, because it creates a situation where all of Maceth's friends and allies will turn on him. As they see him, as nothing more than brutal tyrant, who will say anything to anybody. This leads to the loosely-based confederation that is formed among: Maceth's former friends and enemies. At which point, they attack his kingdom, eventually beheading Mceth. This is important, because it shows how Maceth's lack of loyalty, would lead to the downfall of his kingdom and eventual death. As a result, one could argue that this is one of his fatal flaws that would…… [Read More]
Even the lighter moments of the play, such as Hamlet's advice to the players, is full of negative language. The advice is largely what not to do, with the only positive direction to get a "smoothness" rather than the rough and choppy negative habits of many actors (III, ii, 8). Hamlet's later soliloquy in Act IV, scene four, is also full of negative admonitions, this time of himself: "How all occasions do inform against me...I do not know / Why yet I live to say 'this thing's to do'" (IV, iv, 32-44).
It is only in the last scene, when Hamlet takes action -- however rashly, and to whatever effects -- that the "no's and "not's utterly disappear from his language. Their absence in this scene is striking given their prevalence in the rest of the play. Instead, Hamlet's dying words are positive, both in form and content, as he…… [Read More]
The gravediggers are named clowns but they jest upon the macabre issue of Ophelia's Christian burial.
They highlight once more the existential issue of death, only that they question man's freedom to choose life or death. Comic relief is needed, because the play is coming towards its end and in order for readers to experience catharsis they should not be burdened excessively with emotional tension. The scene in the cemetery shows Hamlet's mental evolution in what concerns death. He is no longer furious, he has accepted the fact that men are mortal, including himself and he can't fight this fact, famous celebrities couldn't either and moreover, he is able to detach from his human condition in a playful way. The irony is visible if we compare his actual state of mind with that when he spoke his famous soliloquy: "To be or not to be." In the end, Hamlet urges…… [Read More]
Hamlet as Hero and Joker
Choose three examples of Hamlet's wordplay: puns, riddles, double entendres, insults, jokes and other verbal wit and virtuosity. Please explain what each of your examples means (a paragraph or so) and why each is appropriate for Hamlet to say.
Hamlet is a very humorous hero, and though his jokes and witticisms were often dry, subtle and sarcastic. Under his breath, for example, he says of his mother Gertrude and Uncle Claudius that they are "a little more than kin, and less than kind," meaning that they have committed murder, incest and adultery in order to take over the country and remove Hamlet's father from the scene. They may sometimes regret their crimes, but that still does not prevent Claudius from acting like a Machiavellian Prince and continually plotting to murder him. To call him a little less than kind is a dramatic understatement, for he…… [Read More]
Hamlet is one of William Shakespeare’s best-known plays. Although written in England, the play centers on the life of the titular Danish prince. In the first Act of the play, Hamlet meets the ghost of his dead father. The ghost tells Hamlet that he, the King, was murdered by Claudius—the King’s brother and Hamlet’s uncle. Although the information came from an incredible source—a supernatural creature—Hamlet is not the only one to have seen and heard from the ghost. Horatio and several of the castle sentries also bear witness to the revelation of the King’s murder. Presumably, Claudius killed his own brother in order to usurp power, as he swiftly then marries Hamlet’s mother Gertrude and assumes the title of King.
The news throws Hamlet off kilter. He is consumed by rage, despair, and a desire to wreak revenge on his uncle, and his psychological state becomes the primary driving…… [Read More]
Tragedy: Hamlet Commonplace Log
1. “The funeral baked meats / Did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables” (1.2.87-88)—Hamlet voicing his displeasure at the suddenness of his mother’s remarriage so soon after his father’s death.
2. “I essentially am not in madness / But mad in craft” (3.4.187-8)—Hamlet telling his mother that he is only acting crazy to throw off the king.
3. “Get thee to a nunnery!” (3.1.131)—Hamlet lashing out at Ophelia because he is angry over her apparent coldness towards him and his mother’s apparent coldness to the memory of his father.
Reaction to Hamlet
I really enjoyed Hamlet and found myself really thinking about some of his speeches and monologues. I would like to memorize one or two of them if possible because they are really moving. The famous “to be or not to be” speech is just great and never gets old no matter how…… [Read More]
Hamlet hesitates in his quest to avenge his father for a number of reasons. First, he is not sure that the ghost is really his father. A part of him suspects it could be a spirit from Hell trying to damn Hamlet’s soul. However, he also hesitates because he has been at school in Wittenberg, the famous place where Martin Luther was teaching and questioning everything. Thus, Hamlet’s head is filled with doubt and because it is filled with doubt, he cannot readily act. When he does finally act, it is when he has worked himself up to a frenzy and he stabs wildly at the person hiding behind the tapestry (thus he kills Polonius). After all his thinking and doubting and hesitating, he acts without reason and lunges like a madman, blindly killing that which is nearest. Another reason he hesitates is that he has no support from…… [Read More]
Thesis Statement: Numerous researchers and individuals following up on Shakespearean plays will concur that the playwright develops his characters by employing elements from religion, particularly Christianity. In his famous tragedy, Hamlet, the conflicted Hamlet is portrayed utilizing several Christian, especially Catholic, practices and analogies, giving rise to the claim that Hamlet was, himself, Catholic, despite the play’s backdrop being a Lutheran country.
The character, Hamlet, largely engages with his community, and his conduct and speech are a reflection of his religious beliefs. He refrains from taking his own life as he firmly understands the necessity of obeying God’s orders:
Or that the Everlasting had not fix’d His canon ‘gainst self-slaughter! O God! God! How weary, stale, flat and unprofitable, Seem to me all the uses of this world! Fie on’t! ah fie! ‘tis an unweeded garden (Hamlet, I.2,131-135 cited as Shakespeare, 2005).
His articulated views reveal that he is a…… [Read More]
For Oedipus to be considered successful, then, he would have had to challenge his own fate and succeed, rather than enact it entirely according to what was set out for him. In Hamlet, on the other hand, the enemy is tangible and human in the form of Hamlet's uncle, and thus Hamlet is able to confront and vanquish him. Thus, Oedipus represents a kind of ignorant struggle against the ideological forces which control anyone in society, a struggle that can never succeed so long as those forces remain indistinct and ephemeral. Hamlet, on the other hand, demonstrates a pointed struggle against some of the very same tendencies, but in this case, they are identified, named, and thus exists the potential for overcoming them.
Though written in wildly different historical contexts, Sophocles Oedipus Rex and illiam Shakespeare's Hamlet actually have a lot to say about each other, because the titular characters…… [Read More]
He does however, have a reason for his treatment of these people. In the case of the king's courtiers, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, they can be seen as plotting against Hamlet and being 'two faced' in their treatment of him" (Hamlet).
From the above evidence, it is clear that due to the consequences of the actions of characters, lives are destroyed, which can be seen from the direction of the stage. Along with that, in many of Shakespeare's plays, it is clear that each main character is a symbol and personifies something. A good example of this would be the fact that Hamlet represents the portion of society who an excessive amount of time thinking about matters, which could destroy people's lives if action is put into play. This becomes apparent at the end of the play when many of the characters (including Hamlet) die due to this particular trait. For…… [Read More]
He questions whether he should try to clear the court of corruption or just give up and end his life now. It is this emotional doubt that drives Hamlet to act deranged at times, but he overcomes it, and almost manages to answer the difficult questions posed in his life. In Act V, when calm returns, Hamlet repents his behavior (V, ii, 75-78) (Lidz, 164).
In Lidz's book Freud is quoted as saying "that if anyone holds and expresses to others an opinion of himself such as this [Hamlet's "Use every man after his desert, and who shall escape whipping?"], he is ill, whether he is speaking the truth whether he is being more or less unfair to himself." Though Hamlet has proved his intellectual stability, he is quite obviously emotionally "ill."
This emotional illness and uncertainty is why Hamlet procrastinates in the killing of Claudius. On his way to…… [Read More]
" This madness likely leads to Ophelia's suicide but, consistent with the entire theme of this play, the exact nature of Ophelia's demise is left to speculation.
The fascination with Hamlet is uncanny. hat provides this fascination is the fact that there is always more to what is going on in the play than what actually appears to be. Observers of the play are left with an overwhelming feeling that they do not really understand what has gone on inside the confines of the play or why. As a result, one leaves the play questioning nearly everything. Halmet, the main character, is the personification of this confusion. Throughout the entire play he is plagued by a never ending incapacity to make a decision.
This confusion continues through nearly every character in the play. Claudius is an immoral murderer but, at the same time, he is a fair and competent ruler.…… [Read More]
This explains the indecisiveness of Hamlet to remove Claudius and a strong barrier between Gertrude and Hamlet is made by him so as he will never express his true emotions for her. Hamlet feelings for Gertrude will be disguised by the ones for Ophelia which aren't real as long as Claudius stayed in the way. His original indecisiveness about revenge ultimately grew and he tried to defy his order after a while. hen his mother is killed, then the reason for not killing Claudius disappears and he makes the decision to kill his him and avenge his father. His indecisiveness does cost him his life and that of his mother who was the one reason for his living (Utter 137).
The tragic flaw is of Hamlet is evident in his indecisiveness to take revenge for the death of his father. Hamlet brings up several excuses for not taking action yet…… [Read More]
Hamlet's enigmatic behavior so upsets Ophelia that she drowns herself, making Laertes even more set on revenge. Eventually these two deaths lead to a duel (provoked by Claudius) between Hamlet and Laertes, No one wins.
Laertes kills Hamlet with a poison-tipped sword; Hamlet kills Laertes. Gertrude drinks poison intended by Claudius for Hamlet. Hamlet, dying and seeing his mother already dead, forces the remaining poison down Claudius's throat. Conrad suggests that even with all of his flaws, including extreme procrastination, Hamlet is "essentially courageous" (680). Ultimately then, due either directly or indirectly to Hamlet's failure to act sooner and more decisively in avenging his father's death, everyone, yet no one, is avenged.
The catalyst for the tragic events that take place within Shakespeare's Hamlet is the title character's indecisiveness, leading to an unfortunate series of ill-timed; poorly executed events ultimately resulting in many deaths, most importantly that of Hamlet himself.…… [Read More]
Hamlet's Ghost has presented a problem for critics and readers since it first appeared on stage some four hundred years ago. Serving as the pivot upon which the action of the play is established -- Hamlet's father's ghost delivers him important information about his death and the throne -- one is likely to ask whether the ghost is truly the soul of King Hamlet or rather a devil appearing in disguise in order to trick (like Iago) the hero of the drama into a fatal course. This paper will examine the theology behind Hamlet's ghost and compare and contrast the Christian and unchristian, Catholic and Protestant, traits found in the play.
As Roy . Battenhouse states, "One may agree with Dover ilson that the Ghost is the 'linchpin' without which Hamlet falls to pieces, yet question ilson's judgment that the Ghost 'is Catholic,' 'comes from Purgatory,' and 'is the only…… [Read More]
Hamlet is by far one of Shakespeare's more enigmatic characters. e understand from the beginning of the play with Horatio and Marcellus that they think very highly of Hamlet as they decide to tell him first about the ghostly vision they saw whom they believe to be his father. However, when we meet Hamlet, we are confused. Is he depressed -- or is he simply cruel (Davies 30)? Or is Hamlet, a man who is overly sensitive, deeply melancholy, and armed with a reflective mind, simply mad? It is this dichotomy of characteristics that always leave us guessing about Hamlet's psychological state. Hamlet himself does not deny this. In fact, he says to his mother, the queen, that there is much more to him than people see.
'Seems', madam -- nay it is, I know not 'seems'.
'Tis not alone my inky cloak, cold mother,
Nor customary suits of solemn…… [Read More]
The centrality of the ghost to the play's metaphysics might be inferred from the fact that illiam Shakespeare acted as the ghost and the player king (Bloom), a strange chimera and bellerophon within the anatomy of the play. To cite Eliot again, Hamlet "is the 'Mona Lisa' of literature" (cf. Hoy 182). It is an exciting challenge to participate in this critical tradition in hopes of concluding it. However, the volumes of superb criticism on Hamlet and King Hamlet's ghost are vast, and this is a mere gloss of its character. If we obsess over it too much, we, like Hamlet, may become lost in its problems.
orks Cited and Consulted
Bloom, Harold. Hamlet: Poem Unlimited. Riverhead Books: New York, 2003.
Dodsworth, Martin. Hamlet Closely Observed. The Athlone Press: London, 1985.
Greenblatt, Stephen. Hamlet in Purgatory. Princeton University Press: Princeton, 2001.
How, Cyrus, ed. illiam Shakespeare Hamlet, Second Edition. ..…… [Read More]
Of course, Hamlet would then likely assume the throne, but Hamlet seems to have little interest in ruling, as he scoffs when Guildenstern and Rosencrantz say that it is his frustrated ambition that makes him melancholic. Hamlet is a rational and philosophical individual, hence his constant self-searching about the nature of the ghost, about the possibility of an afterlife that no traveler may return (if the ghost is a devil), but he also emotionally wants to avenge his father's death, as he does believe his father has been murdered. Hamlet's emotions and intelligence are often in conflict, which makes him a less effective 'adventure hero' than the ruthless and cold Fortinbras.
In contrast to Fortinbras, Hamlet has much more sympathy with Laertes' quest to avenge a murdered father, even though he is the cause of the other young man's outrage. Hamlet accidently kills Laertes' father Polonius while Polonius is spying…… [Read More]
Hamlet Annotated Bibliography
Cook, Patrick J. Cinematic Hamlet: the Films of Olivier, Zeffirelli, Branagh, and Almereyda.
Athens, Ohio: Ohio UP. 2011. Print. This book focuses on the many versions of Hamlet that have been made for the silver screen. The play by illiam Shakespeare is one of the most frequently filmed works and each version of the story has a unique perspective. Director, screenwriter, and of course actor each influence the overall position of the film. Each chooses which elements of the story to emphasize and which to underplay. Even films that use the complete text of Shakespeare's work still alter the original by the act of interpretation. By examining each version, focusing on the three four major ones, the author helps explain what was important to the artists and by extension to the audience who would have seen the film.
In the context of a paper, each film would…… [Read More]
Hamlet clearly melancholic view of the future of humanity, although he is capable of acknowledging goodness, as he does when he praises Horatio's character before the play-within-a-play, and he even praises Fortinbras' action in the name of the Norwegian's own father, although it goes against the interest of the Danish state. Finally, Hamlet admits that Laertes has a right to be angry on Polonius' account, as Hamlet's rash actions killed Laertes' father, even while Hamlet strove to avenge his own father. Thus, rather than a desperate view of human morality, Hamlet's inaction seems to arise from a combination of paralyzing depression about the nature of acting in a meaningless world and internal self-doubt. He also has an over-active intellect that enables him to rationalize both the murderous instincts of people going against his own interests like Laertes, and as well as his own revulsion at murder, as when he foolishly…… [Read More]
..render up myself...Doom'd for a certain term to walk the night...And for the day confined to fast in fires, / Till the foul crimes done in my days of nature/Are burnt and purged away." (I.5). At first, Hamlet believes the ghost is from Purgatory because of the vividness of these images. Then Hamlet constructs a test for the ghost as he worries: "the devil hath power/to assume a pleasing shape; yea, and perhaps/Out of my weakness and my melancholy, / as he is very potent with such spirits" (2.2). In short, Hamlet begins to doubt the doctrine because the ghost ostensibly from Purgatory has asked him to commit a murder, to kill a king.
Hamlet seldom displays a consistent attitude to Purgatory in the play. In his most famous soliloquy, Hamlet says that death is a place from which "no traveler returns" indicating he doubts the ghost (III.1). Hamlet wrestles…… [Read More]
She...handles Rosencrantz and Guildenstern with skill and diplomacy...has the accent of command with her son...witty and perceptive about Polonius...she is not stupid at her job: there she gives out and reserves herself in good proportion." (Pennington 160) Gertrude's performance in the court shows Branagh makes a commitment as a director to giving the female characters of the play individualistic integrity beyond their ability to mirror different Oedipal aspects of the central protagonist's development. "There isn't an iota of sexual energy or tension in Hamlet's confrontation with his mother," unlike Oliver's version, where a bed is featured in the confrontation scene between Hamlet and his mother in Act IV, Scene 3. (Rosenberg, 1996) Julie Christie's Gertrude is morally conflicted about what she has done, and increasingly aware that she might have married a murderer after the confrontation of the closet scene. But Oliver's Gertrude is simply infatuated with her son. She…… [Read More]
In the first act of Shakespeare's Hamlet, the title character delivers a powerful soliloquy expressing his anguish and suicidal ideations. Hamlet is coming to terms with the death of his father; and the tragedy that his uncle might be the murderer torments him. At this point in the play, Hamlet remains in touch with his emotions without being totally consumed by them. His anger is growing; he has not yet figured out a strategy with which to effectively deal with the problem. By Act II, however, Hamlet's anger has started to fester into deep-seated resentment. Hamlet's soliloquy at the end of the act reveals the prince's plot to entrap Claudius by staging the play "The Murder of Gonzago." Hamlet still has his wits about him. Just as in his earlier soliloquy in Act II, scene ii, Hamlet directs much of his anger inward.
Both the soliloquy in Act I,…… [Read More]
Bradley describes this by saying that "Othello's nature is all of one piece... Love, if he loves, must be to him the heaven where either he must leave or bear no life. If such a passion as jealousy seizes him, it will swell into a well-night incontrollable flood" (Bradley 188). This shows how Othello goes to the extremes, especially relating to his emotions. Bradley also says that "He is quite free from introspection, and is not given to reflection. Emotion excites his imagination, but it confuses and dulls his intellect" (Bradley 188). This shows that like Hamlet, Othello is not able to consider the source of his emotions. This occurs as a natural part of Othello's character, while for Hamlet it is specifically linked to the particular situation and the particular emotion. However, the end result is the same with both characters unable to consider their emotions and rationalize them.…… [Read More]
Hamlet is arguably illiam Shakespeare's most famous of his many still existing plays. Even people who have not read the play know the basic plot of the story. Prince Hamlet of Denmark is in mourning over the death of his father who, as it turns out has been murdered by his uncle so that Claudius can take over the throne and marry the queen, his brothers' widow. Hamlet decides to act crazy in order to determine if his Uncle Claudius is indeed guilty of the act. Over the course of the story, people die and the play's climax is the final duel between Hamlet and young Laertes where both men die as well as King Claudius and Queen Gertrude. There are countless film versions of the play which represent the attitudes and artistic styles of the filmmakers who created them. One of the earlier film versions created by…… [Read More]
Hamlet fits within Anoulih's discussion of tragedy. In this play most of the characters die. It is expect that death will befall them. Since the play's beginning, the foundation for tragedy is set. e learn that Hamlet is in mourning. The King is trying to convince him to show sorrow. It is unmanly. Hence, a foundation for irony is set up.
Tis sweet and commendable in your nature, Hamlet,
To give these mourning duties to your father:
But, you must know, your father lost a father;
That father lost, lost his, and the survivor bound
In filial obligation for some term
To do obsequious sorrow: but to persever
In obstinate condolement is a course
Of impious stubbornness; 'tis unmanly grief; (Shakespear, 86)
The reader knows that Claudius will contribute something to either his own demise or the death of the other characters. In this sense, the reader is led along…… [Read More]
[Bradley: 121]. According to Beck (1997) depressive symptoms include consistently low mood, pessimistic thoughts, loss of excitement and decreased energy. These symptoms are found in Hamlet as well as he calls himself melancholic (II.ii.597) and confirms his condition further by saying:
But I have that within which passes show,
These but the trappings and the suits of woe. (I.ii.85-6)
Hamlet also tells us that he has lost excitement for life and people in general as he confides in osencrantz and Guildenstern, saying nothing really excites or delights him anymore. (II.ii.295-309).
How weary, stale, flat and unprofitable
Seem to me all the uses of this world! (I.ii.133-4)
His negativity is also apparent on numerous occasions. For example he refers to Demark as a prison (II.ii.243) and makes bitter comments about women (III.i.111-51). He talks about death and mortality frequently and make allusions to poor sleep when he says, "were it not…… [Read More]
The film may skip scenes like this, and others, to tell the story more quickly, and arguably more dramatically. This may also be because films are expensive to make, so every omitted scene saves money. Polonius has more scenes in the play than the film. In the play, he is a key character, second only to Hamlet, Gertrude, and Claudius. In the film, he almost seems like a minor character.
The relationship between Hamlet and Ophelia is shown more in the film, possibly because the filmmaker wants to emphasize their romance. In the film, Ophelia and Hamlet are often alone together. In the play they are usually with others: In Act II, again, scenes from the play are shortened or omitted from the film. Scene I of Act II, has an exchange between Polonius and Reynaldo (1-72) then on- between Polonius and Ophelia (74-120). In the film we only see…… [Read More]
To die, to sleep: perchance to dream:" He is doomed to a sleep that is plagued by fear and reprisal, to seek out revenge for worldly actions against him. Hamlet knows that if he were to die today he would likely be doomed to walk the halls, as his father dreaming of the day that he was killed and the betrayal that ended his life, "ay there's the rub; / for in that sleep of death what dreams may come." Hamlet knows that reaching out to seek the sleep and dream of death he would be dooming himself to an eternal seeking of revenge, not unlike that of his father who reached out to him in death to tell his story of betrayal and exact revenge upon the wife (mother) and brother.
The soliloquy reveals that Hamlet is mortal, that he is afraid of the un-avenged death and that he…… [Read More]
Dane Johnston gave a stunning performance in the title role of the play. In fitting with the modern interpretation of the classic, Johnston's rendering of Hamlet is akin to the "emo" youth subculture - just as Ophelia is meant to conform to the "gothic" subculture. At the same time, Johnston delivered Hamlet's numerous long monologues with sophistication and ease, proving to the audience that you do not have to fake a British accent in order to accurately capture the Shakespearean essence of the role.
Hamlet's best friends, Horatio (Kit Fugard) and Marcella (Vanessa Downs), were also portrayed as "scene kids," but obviously of an artistic and intelligent nature. Angela Donor's interpretation of Ophelia tended to be a bit melodramatic at some points during the play; at the same time, it can be said that such over-acting may be necessary, as it is part of Ophelia's true nature.
Overall, the technical…… [Read More]
Dissidence for Sinfield is the element in a text that seeks to contradict the dominant ideology of the text, or of the culture in which the text was produced (Sinfield agrees with Marx that these are the same thing). Subversiveness is similar, perhaps even identical in objective; the difference is that to be subversive, a text must be successful in its dissidence. For that reason, one must consult the historical impact of a text to determine whether it was subversive or merely dissident. In Othello, one could say that Othello was dissident in his challenge of racial assumptions, where Iago was subversive in overthrowing the hierarchy that supports Othello.
In his article "The Breakdown of Medieval Hierarchy in King Lear," Alessandro Serpieri locates in the tension between the hierarchical system and those who are exiled or exile themselves from that system a mirror for the falling away of the…… [Read More]
In the challenge, Laertes will put poison on the end of his weapon so that when he slashes Hamlet it will kill him. To guarantee Hamlet's death, Claudius poisons the wine that is set out for Hamlet to drink during the competition. Unfortunately, Gertrude decides to toast Hamlet's success and drinks some of the poisoned wine. Hamlet receives a slash with the poisoned tip. When he realizes that his mother is dying, he figures out that this has been a trap. Hamlet stabs Laertes and Claudius with the poisoned blade and forces Claudius to drink from the poisoned cup. In the end all of the main characters - Laertes, Gertrude, Claudius and Hamlet are dead. Earlier, Ophelia and Polonius died. Horatio is the only character left to speak to Fortinbras as he enters on the bloody scene. Fortinbras is then made the new king.
5. Claudius sets in motion all…… [Read More]
Hamlet seems particularly interested with this idea of holding a mirror to the reality of situations to betray their alliances with death. He uses the same metaphor when speaking to the players: "the purpose of playing, whose end, both at the first and now, was and is, to hold, as 'twere, the mirror up to nature; to show Virtue her own feature, scorn her own image, and the very age and body of the time his form and pressure."
The play which Prince Hamlet stages is vitally important not only in that it is a mirror and reflection of sorts, but also because it is in itself art. A great deal of fuss is made in the text about the proper form of the art of playing, as if to highlight that it's artistic merit were important to the story. This may be because putting the death of the…… [Read More]
Hamlet decides to play at being mad in ways that seem calculated. This is evidenced in his verbal dueling with Polonius, the courtier of the play who in contrast to the blind prophet of the Greek tragedy is truly a foolish old man, rather than merely seeming so. But even Polonius admits that Hamlet's madness seems to have a verbal sense to it -- although the reason for Hamlet pretending to be mad vacillates. At first Hamlet accepts the ghost's words, then tests those words, and then uses purgatory as an excuse not to kill Claudius while the king is praying after the staged play "The Mousetrap."
Hamlet's brilliance lies mainly in his acceptance of his fate with a clear head and his recognition of moral ambiguity. Finally, he says to Horatio, in the fifth and last act of the play, to let be, and the readiness is all --…… [Read More]
The play was the thing wherein I caught the conscience of the king -- that means I knew he was guilty.
San: Even if he was guilty, what did killing him serve? All there was left was a court in total disarray and a lot of dead bodies. You say your revenge had a purpose, but it didn't really. Revenge is only undertaken for personal motives -- being drunk and angry because you think someone took your sister's virginity, for instance. It has nothing to do with anything loftier. Indeed, it is this very perspective which produces the type of collective bloodlust that would seize my life. You have made yourself an executioner, perhaps as mad with assurance of his deeds as were those first committed some wrong.
Ham: That's not true! There was a method to my madness. I needed to make a point -- a very long point…… [Read More]
The psychological deterioration of the title character is the cornerstone of Shakespeare's Hamlet. Consumed by a desire for revenge, Hamlet loses his already tenuous grip on reality. Starting the play with a scene in which Hamlet sees a ghost Shakespeare shows that Hamlet might not have been psychological stable to begin with, and that the emotional strain of losing his father at the hands of his uncle, and losing the love and respect of his mother too, might have been too much for the delicate prince to handle. Coupled with Hamlet's lack of ability to sincerely court Ophelia, his emotions related to his family issues eat away at him until he behaves in criminal ways. The madness of Hamlet is a central theme of the play, naturally contributing to the essential meaning of the work as a whole. As he succumbs to madness, Hamlet becomes a classical tragic hero.…… [Read More]
Though Hamlet can, and does, clearly make a difference in the situation on the physical plane, he may or may not have achieved any change in the world beyond the grave. Hamlet's death at the end of the play ensures that, though Hamlet will inevitably answer all of his metaphysical questions by entering the realm of the dead himself, he is unable to provide any comfort or information to the audience. The difference he made in the physical world, though radical, may only be the very beginning of the events to unfold in the afterlife.
Though there are many other ways in which Hamlet reflects the ideals of the Renaissance, the concept and consideration of death are prominent throughout the work. Shakespeare is able to contemplate these highly Renaissance considerations though a troubled soul to whom the audience can easily relate to -- at least emotionally, if not through the…… [Read More]
In Hamlet's case, the dark Ages conquer the light and the last scene displays before Fortinbras'(the Prince of Norway, whose father was killed by Hamlet's father) eyes. Fortinbras seems to be the symbol for the rebirth of Denmark, in the light of a young king that lacks the putrid inheritance of an alienated royal family, like Hamlet's. The Renaissance man, Prince Hamlet, seems aware of the inutility of trying to restore the reign of his royal family in Denmark, since its members are proved to be corrupt and not suitable any more to lead a country in the spirit a new born world. His acts could also be in the spirit of sacrifice, suitable for a Renaissance man, in the name of restoring the dignity of his subjects and the glory of his country. People like Galileo and Savonarola were ready to give up their most precious possession, life, for…… [Read More]
Hamlet act3 sene3 Machiavelli chapter 7-15-25-26 Lens Machiavelli concept Hamlet Intro - text author, content, method Paragraph1- Machiavelli concept explain applied hamlet compare Hamlet act3 sene3 Machiavelli chapter 7-15-25-26 work enables misunderstand play's ending significant relevant divergence hamlet Machiavelli Second essay compare Hamlet act 4.
Unlike Prince Hamlet, who is a man who is concerned with the morality of kingship as well as is an aggrieved son avenging his father, King Claudius of Shakespeare's Hamlet is primarily concerned with holding onto his power. Claudius does have some moral qualms about his actions, but not enough to repent. This is seen when Claudius tries to pray for forgiveness but is unable to do so: "O, my offence is rank it smells to heaven" (3.3). However, the political theorist Niccolo Machiavelli would diagnose Claudius' problem as being insufficiently ruthless up to this point in his dealings with his nephew. Claudius…… [Read More]
Of all the great works of illiam Shakespeare, arguably his masterpiece is Hamlet. It is also perhaps his most famous work. People who have never seen a production or read it still have a vague understanding about the play's basic plot. This is of course the story of a young prince of Denmark who is mourning for his recently dead father, also named Hamlet who may or may not have seen his father's ghost who claims the king was murdered by Prince Hamlet's Uncle Claudius. The uncle has very quickly taken control of the Danish throne and married Hamlet's mother Queen Gertrude. In the five hundred years since it was first written, Hamlet has been analyzed and criticized by some of the top minds in academia, in fields such as English, Psychology, and History. The play is rich enough to lend itself to a wide range of interpretations,…… [Read More]
Hamlet" by William Shakespeare
The play "Hamlet" by William Shakespeare has a story that revolves around the main themes of revenge and search for the truth. Shakespeare's male characters, in particular, are portrayed somewhat villainously because of the element of revenge inherent in each character's motivations in the play. Among the male characters in the play, the characters of Hamlet, Laertes, and Fortinbras emerge as the most remarkable among the numerous character in Shakespeare's piece. Many characteristics are shared among these three primary male characters. The first characteristic is that they possess the vitality of their youth, and the second one is that all of them face the world in an idealistic and somewhat naive perspective. Their being young, naive, and idealistic are the main reasons why, throughout the play, they have resorted to radical actions and behavior that will cause either their victory or downfall.
This paper will conduct…… [Read More]
(arlow 45 -- 57) ("Hamlet")
How should Readers Account for his ehavior throughout the Play?
The way that readers should account for his behavior, is that a series of events began to influence the way Hamlet and the different characters were reacting to a host of events. As the ghost that he saw, caused him to believe that he should do everything to try to avenge the death of his father. This is dysfunctional, in that the majority of people do not let a spiritual being influence their actions in such negative ways. Instead, they will use this to help to motivate them to accomplish a much higher purpose. For example, if Hamlet had decided that he would avenge his father's death by becoming the King one day. He could focus on areas that would help him to live up to the ideals and values that he was known for.…… [Read More]