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Hamlet presents indecision with decisive craft. Discuss Hamlets character in the light of this quote.

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Introduction

Tuesday 15th March "Hamlet presents indecision with decisive craft". Discuss Hamlet's character in the light of this quote. Hamlet was written approximately in 1600, during the Elizabethan era, the reign of Queen Elizabeth. Although the head of church and state was a woman, it was predominantly a patriarchal society. The monarch held a policy such as male-preference primogeniture which allows a female to succeed if she has no living brothers and no deceased brothers who left surviving legitimate descendants. Prior to her death, she announced that James I of Scotland would also become James VI of England. Elizabeth announced this to her people in order to avoid catastrophic political and social ramifications. Incest was ripe amongst European royalty, and still is still relevant nowadays. Queen Victoria earned the affectionate nickname, "Grandmother of Europe", this royal incestuous behaviour is also evident in Hamlet. Although, adultery and incest is forbidden in the Bible and deemed punishable by death; the Elizabethan audience would have been outraged by the idea of incest and adultery. Although it does not state or there being sufficient evidence that Gertrude was committing adultery with Claudius, considering their hasty marriage shortly after his death, one can certainly allude to the possibility. Being a prince brings with it certain responsibilities and a sense of honour. ...read more.

Middle

Claudius as king and being married to his mother). Some critics believe the delay is nothing more than cowardice; however this proves to be incorrect as Hamlet appears most heroic in certain stages of the play such as killing Polonius and the duel with Laertes. Many critics claim the reason for Hamlet's delay is due to Claudius being king and therefore it is difficult for Hamlet to take his revenge due to his status and tight security. However, there are times in the play where Hamlet has unguarded access to Claudius, such as when Claudius is praying. Freudian critics such as Ernest Jones and Sigmund Freud claim Hamlet's mysterious procrastination is a consequence of the Oedipus complex: the son continually postpones the act of revenge because of the impossibly complicated psychodynamic situation in which he finds himself. Though he hates his fratricidal uncle, he nevertheless unconsciously identifies with him-for, having killed Hamlet's father and married his mother, Claudius has carried out what are Hamlet's own unconscious wishes. In addition, marriage to Hamlet's mother gives the uncle the unconscious status of the father-destructive impulses towards whom provoke great anxiety and meet with repression. While it is impossible to prove this theory due to the subconscious nature, some could rebuke this by claiming Shakespeare did not clearly make this a concept in Hamlet, if he had chosen to do so then surely he would have made it more identifiable for the audience. ...read more.

Conclusion

Perhaps one could say that the pirates arriving gave Hamlet an excellent opportunity to escape was the will of God, destiny even. Considering these points, I do not believe Hamlet was an indecisive character. He made many decisions in the play, although he made some decisions that led to indecision however still with the focus of eventual revenge e.g. Hamlet decided to make the players perform the play "The Murder of Gonzago" in order to see evidence of Claudius's guilt himself, "the play's the thing wherein i'll catch the conscience of the king" this leads to the waiting of the play's performance but Hamlet did this to ensure without a doubt that Claudius was guilty of murder. Hamlet exclaims to his mother, "I essentially am not in madness but mad in craft", Hamlet's 'craft' ultimately leads to Claudius's death, and although so does it to many other innocent characters in the play and himself, perhaps what Hamlet needed was to be decisive quicker in order to prevent innocent blood from being spilt. Perhaps this was Shakespeare's message all along, when to take action and when to not, to achieve a balance between decision and indecision and to know when the appropriate time is to act. At the end of the play when Hamlet is dying, he is in the middle of Horatio and Fortinbras, Horatio symbolises the scholar and Fortinbras symbolises the warrior. Hamlet successfully achieved to be both scholar and warrior. ...read more.

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While this is an articulate and well researched essay, the writer could have achieved the highest rating by including more attention to the text itself. The examiners need to see evidence of your being able to address the details of language, form and structure.

Marked by teacher Karen Reader 08/03/2012

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