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Discuss these two views and consider any other response of your own, as regards the behaviour and character of Hamlet.

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Introduction

'Even with his death, Hamlet has achieved nothing.' - O'Toole 'Finally, He has not failed.' - Granville Barker Discuss these two views and consider any other response of your own, as regards the behaviour and character of Hamlet. Johann Chipol The play 'Hamlet' contains some of the most debatable choices ever written. Allegedly inspired by 'The Spanish Tragedy' by Thomas Kyd, It emphasizes on a hero's emotional dilemma. Many of these decisions were acted by the character Hamlet who is a man filled with contracting thoughts. Because of his state of mind, the majority of his acts ended with frustration and fatal consequences. This raises an important question, should the audience feel sympathetic towards him or should they see him as failure for his lack of motivation. In order to understand Hamlet's character and his reasons for his actions, one needs to understand the manner in which he pursues his revenge mission, and the different interpretations of these views. Hamlet's desire for revenge is continually manipulated by the actions of the other characters as well as developments of his situation. A definite feature is how he procrastinates almost every important act needed to avenge his father's death. This mental act has created various theories from critics. Harbage suggests that Hamlet suffers from a 'lymphatic temperament', who is a type of person who lacks the 'energizing temperament to act'. This very physical view is a very far-fetched theory which is later proven wrong in the final scene of the play. ...read more.

Middle

This may sound far-fetched through our modern standards but this is the beliefs of the Elizabethan Era. Delay was one of the conventions of revenge tragedy that Shakespeare inherited. Thomas Hanmer makes a practical point that if the Prince carried out his father's instructions straight away 'there wouldn't be a play'. Yet other critics have found that the delay was Shakespeare's attempt to investigate the psychological point of the human mind. However, this psychological perspective has raised the question as to how successful Hamlet was in his task. Was his procrastination able to help him accomplish his goals or did it help him fail to perform the perfect assassination? The last scene see Hamlet finally taking advantage of his situation without any hesitation, stabs the King with the poisoned tipped sword. This attack splits the views of the audience. The audience could either celebrate the fact that Hamlet has been able to kill Claudius or question if all this tragic waste could have been avoided. It is quite ironical that he finally gets all the evidence as well as the confidence to kill his nemesis when he is on the verge of dying. Critics are very mixed in the views of whether or not Hamlet has gained any success in his mission for vengeance. Even though the task was completed, Hamlet's unorthodox approach has created more and more problems for him as the play progressed. ...read more.

Conclusion

He has gain self-satisfaction and has lived up to his so called heroic reputation. Yet his achievements in this mission are all selfish. Even though he has overcome depression, it seems that his victory has not helped any of the other characters. This win has created fatal consequences that has made dramatic changes through out the play. This is where critics would believe that Hamlet has failed in his attempts to outsmart and kill Claudius. Because of his 'fatal flaw' he has been the direct or indirect cause of the deaths of Polonius, Ophelia, Queen Gertrude, Laertes, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Many of Shakespeare's tragedies has a character with a fatal flaw. Macbeth's flaw was ambition and Othello's was jealously. Hamlet's fatal flaw was his intelligence and mental stability. This has given him the advantage of sympathy and the disadvantage of frustration. Hamlet's victory is both a success and an unsuccessful. He is unsuccessful as his procrastination and ways of trying to outwit King Claudius has resulted in mass deaths yet he has been able to achieve his goal of overcoming his fears. His reputation hasn't been tarnished because of this which was one of Hamlet's main concerns. At that point, he decided to finally let fate control his destiny and has now died a proud man. Lines 369 - 372 'If thou didst ever hold me in thy heart, Absent thee from felicity awhile, And in this harsh world thy breath in pain, To tell my story. ...read more.

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