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Analyse the character of Hamlet in Shakespeare's play "Hamlet-Prince Of Denmark"

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Introduction

Q: Analyse the character of Hamlet in Shakespeare's play "Hamlet-Prince Of Denmark" The play "Hamlet- Prince Of Denmark" is one of the most renowned revenge tragedies of the world. Written by William Shakespeare, the play revolves around the themes of revenge and the conflict between appearance and reality. Shakespeare is one of the most respected and inspiring writers in the field of English Literature and several of his works have been widely adored, giving off an aura of relevance till date. Shakespeare, as a writer of around thirty seven plays shows awareness of the rules of literary tradition by Aristotle stating that it is only the sufferings of noblemen and kinsmen that are significant to the world. Even though the background of the play is Denmark, it's concepts and concerns are about Elizabethan England. Shakespeare through this play implants into the reader, the essence of good and bad, right and wrong, and teaches us to distinguish between one's appearances and his true authenticity. Shakespeare through out this play contrasts Hamlet with his definition of an ideal man. The ideal man has been defined in relation to the Elizabethan concept of a complete human being. According to the Elizabethan era, a young man needs "a very riband in the cap of youth." An accomplishment of any kind (particularly fencing) contributes to the concept of flawlessness in a man. This criterion has been placed in contrast to Hamlet, who is essentially a philosophical scholar and avoids indulging in any kind of action. ...read more.

Middle

He can relate to all the rungs in the social hierarchy and is therefore able to "walk with Kings and still not lose the common touch." (Rudyard Kipling: IF) Hamlet, as a reflective scholar and prince has a wavering attitude to women in the play. His attitudes not only signify his loathing for betrayal but also establish the fact that he moves from the specific to the general, from individual to the universal. Therefore his loathing for his mother, moves on to his loathing in Womanhood and voyages onto his detest for Mankind itself. Gertrude describes Hamlet as her "too much changed son" however she doesn't realize the change caused in him is partly her own contribution. Hamlet cannot accept his mother's "o'er hasty marriage" and it is this marriage which causes bitterness in his heart and sarcasm in his words. Gertrude, throughout the play underlines her transient characteristics as a mother, a wife as well as an individual. She is responsible for the cardinal sin of incest as well as a destructive "increase in appetite." Hamlet cannot accept the fact that she moves with "such dexterity to incestuous sheets." It is indeed such thoughts that stain Hamlet's language causing a philosophical scholar to carelessly utter the vulgarity in his thoughts through the use of innuendo. The nunnery scene, depicts Hamlet's loathing for women Hamlet proves his feelings when he says "O frailty thy name is woman," to signify the bitterness in his heart. The word "nunnery" has been repeated five time in his encounter with Ophelia which is yet another suggestion of vulgarity and innuendo. ...read more.

Conclusion

As the story progresses, Hamlet is shown to become more and more reluctant to pursue his revenge. He is unable to translate his thoughts into actions and therefore gradually sinks in the quicksand of is own emotions and judgements. For the tragedy to be averted, Hamlet should have had the impulse of Laertes and the ambition of Fortinbras. Shakespeare presents Horatio, Fortinbras and Laertes as a foil to Hamlet. On one side of the picture lies Fortinbras who is able to find "quarrel in a straw." This is illustrated when he battles the Polack for an "eggshell." On the other hand, Hamlet who has every reason and motive to act doesn't, due to his inability to do so. Shakespeare represents that the two men have conflicting positions in life. Hamlet's central problem is that he has a "dull revenge" and a major reluctance to pursue it Hamlet through out the play is "tearing a passion into tatters." As the play advances his "passion" gradually deteriorates until it becomes a "mote" "to trouble the eye." Shakespeare elevates the life in the play by the effective use of his language. He is one among several writers who can use language to his command and knows how to create rhythm amongst the audience though his words. The imagery of disease is present all through the play and describes the deterioration of human values. Denmark is described as an "unweeded garden." with an existence of "dangerous conjectures in ill-breeding minds." Shakespeare, through the sickness imagery describes Hamlet's central worries and his existential despair. The play is packed with the imagery of disease, the most prominent being the phrase "there is something rotten in the state of Denmark. ...read more.

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