Hamlet a critical analysis
Hamlet by William Shakespeare is the tragedy of a young man named Hamlet. His fragile idealism shattered by his fathers brutal death causes him to laose faith in humanity. When his late father’s phantom visits him, he persuades Hamlet to take revenge against his uncle Claudius, his fathers true executioner. Hamlet feigns madness, and in his so called unrestfull stage he devises his plan to take retribution.
Throughout the play the death of a character becomes a frequent event. Although most people lose their lives because of their own self centered wrong doing, there are a few whose death is caused by manipulation and deceit. In this case it is the Family of Polonius.
Contrary to popular belief, the tragedy of Hamlet is not about him nor of his family. It is however the tragic fate of Polonius’ family Because their deaths were not the consequences of their own sinful actions rather by the innocent involvement in the schemes of Claudius and Hamlet. Although some may say that polonius deserved his death because of his surreptitious style. Even though all he was really doing was following the king’s inclinations. Polonius was slained by Hamlet after having been mistaken for the King.
The next to die is Ophelia, she, is entirely manipulated by Hamlet and the king, for their own selfish reasons. She killed herself after knowledge of her fathers’ death. Last to die was Laertes, it is easily seen how laertes, in the heat of his anger could conspire to murder, though he kills hamlet he is avenging his fathers’ death, an act, with reference to the moral climate of the 1600’s. Therefore it is condoned. Laertes in his attempt to kill, loses his life by the very poison that was to kill his enemy. Hamlet dies on a poison tipped sword but not till he has killed Claudius and ridded Elsinore of its plague.
Shakespeare utilizes, character, plot and setting to create a mood of disgust and the theme of proper revenge. He use’s these elements as brush strokes to paint a powerful picture. He employs the castle of Elsinore and it’s vicinity to depict a sordid and depressing place where incest ant murder is a normal part of life. Where revenge is a common place motivation, and where feigning of madness is a normal excuse to dissemble one’s feelings Shakespeare incorporates other subplots into the play. Without these subplots, of revenge we are left with a lugubrious play where the ending although necessary is pointless.. Shakespeare created this setting to tell us a story of revenge gone wrong. He created disgust and when we look back and see the depraved way of life that existed in castle Elsinore. We see the room littered with dead and Fortinbras taking his rightful throne among the vengeful.
There is also a bit of foreshadowing found in Hamlet all the way in the beginning. Hamlet drawing on biblical allusions, Hamlet redefines the position of man as simply that which came from dust and eventually will return. It is possible that Shakespeare was trying to indirectly warn us of Hamlets fate or of the Fate of Polonius or Claudius.
Hamlet our hero the martyr of Elsinore. Young handsome daring and witty, an emotional soul with a violent temper. He exhibits a puzzling duplicitous nature. He contradicts himself throughout the play. He endorses both of the virtues of acting a role and being true to oneself. He further shows both of these conflicting endorsements with his actions. This ambiguity, by his alleged madness only to become perfectly calm and rational later. These inconsistencies are related to the internal dilemmas he faces. He struggles with avenging his fathers death. Throughout the entire play he teeters on this issue, because he is unable to form a solid decision about his role playing.
Hamlet is an over analytical and pessimistic. But, what leads to his downfall is one fatal flaw his, procrastination. He had several chances to kill Claudius but he seems to lose that conviction after his rationality sets in. Yet we feel no sympathy towards Hamlet. Not because he does not have any sympathetic qualities but because two few sympathetic qualities for us to wish to emphasize. Hamlet eventually does the right thing, but it is the way he does right thing in the wrong way that makes us condemn him. Hamlet thinks to much, he spends to much time deliberating the action whether than taking action. Hamlet is dour in fact every character in the play is dour the only to characters that show any joie de vivre are the clowns who are the morticians. It is ironic that that the two characters who enjoy life most are those who face death on a regular bases.
Despite for his bad qualities he does have several good ones he is very daring and brave. Story holds several examples of his fearless attitude. There are two major examples, first is when he follows the ghost. Hamlet not knowing whether this is a real ghost or a deception, perhaps the devil himself. Despite this he still followed this transparent apparition. The second major act of bravery is when, he is sent to England to his inevitable death. His cognitive dissonance saves his skin. Hamlet suffers moral destruction throughout the play. In Hamlet’s cosmic view on the planet, he finds the world to be empty and lifeless, dirty and diseased and his particular place in it, to be desolate and lonely, he feels so isolated and entrapped in his native land. The world is his prison Denmark being the worst. “A goodly one, in which there are many confines,wards, and dungeons, Denmark being one o’ th’ worst.”
The character of Hamlet is very believable in fact I think that Hamlet identifies better with an adolescent of the 1990’s more than he does with the youth of his time. Hamlet is immature, sarcastic and takes action in the heat of passion witch is very much like the radical behavior of today’s youth. Hamlets’ maturity level for his time was low specially him having such a high position. He is extremely offensive to people, such as the king the queen. An immature, mouthy, extremist is, the inability to love maturely, and rudeness towards authority are just of few off the things that he shares with today’s youth. It is to my belief that he would have an easier time living during my time rather than his own.
Laertes and Hamlet although adversaries exhibit very similar characteristics. They both display impulsive reactions and rash behavior often acting emotion rather than rationality. Laertes consumed with rage automatically thrusts out attempting to kill Claudius assuming him, his father’s killers. Both their imprudent actions are incited by fury and frustration. Sudden anger prompts them to act spontaneously. Leartes and Hamlet both share a deep love and concern for Ophelia. Leartes provides lengthy advice to Ophelia before leaving for France although both individuals despise each other they are both infatuated with her. .
Leartes is also similar to Hamlet in the way that he associates with his family. Laertes and Hamlet hold a high admiration for their fathers immediately seeking revenge on the assassin. They both exhibit domineering attitudes toward females. Leartes able to control Ophelia’s opinion of Hamlet and his general attitude towards women. In the same way Hamlet can easily persuade Gertrude of his sanity and Manipulate into Making Claudius seem like a foe.
Disillusionment, depression, despair, these are the burning emotionschurning in young hamlets had as he attempts to come to terms with his father’s death and his mother’s incestuous, illicit marriage. While Hamlet tries to pick up the pieces of his shattered idealism, he consciously embarks on a quest to seek the truth hidden in Elsinore. This is the stark contrast to Claudius’s fervent attempts to obscure the truth of the murder. Deception versus truth, illusion versus reality. Throughout the play, the themes of illusion and mendaciousness have been carefully developed. The entire royal Danish court is ensnared in a web of espionage, betrayal, and lies. Not a single man speaks his mind nor addresses his purposes. As polonius puts it so perfectly “by indirection’s, find directions out”( A2,S2,L71-73)
One of the main themes of the play is revenge. “An eye for an eye a tooth for a tooth.” But revenge is not always right. We often find that when we get over the initial shock and the rage our emotions balance out and our grudge fades away. But to act on impulse can cause deadly repercussions one which time will not heal. The play is the perfect example of such an instance. While trying to exact revenge the killed their minds, their souls and eventually their bodies.