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Hamlet is believed to have been written around 1600. It is loosely based on a story in François de Bellforest's 'Histories Tragiques' (1576) and is in many ways typical of conventional Revenge Tragedy of the time.

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Introduction

Hamlet Coursework Hamlet is believed to have been written around 1600. It is loosely based on a story in Fran�ois de Bellforest's 'Histories Tragiques' (1576) and is in many ways typical of conventional Revenge Tragedy of the time, however, whilst it follows the basic plot of defending the family honour, it is much more elaborate and complicated. In critical view A, Ernest Jones presents the argument that Hamlet's main reason for delaying in killing Claudius is that in doing so then he would be 'even more guilty' than committing the original sin. His argument is based on the fact that if Hamlet killed Claudius then there would be no gain, there would be two people dead and Hamlet would be guilty of a mortal sin. I agree with the idea that Hamlet's conscience stops him from killing Claudius, and through considering the consequences of his actions, he subconsciously delays them. Hamlet would be committing a sin to revenge a sin, and as Nigel Alexander said, 'how does one deal with such a man (i.e. Claudius) without becoming like him?' Ernest Jones also explores influences on Hamlet before the time span in which the play is written by suggesting that in his childhood he has subconsciously developed an 'Oedipus Complex' and resented his father for denying him his mothers' full attention. ...read more.

Middle

In his soliloquy in Act 3 Scene 1 Hamlet reveals that he is contemplating killing himself and is clearly not in the correct mental state to pursue his revenge, he is evidently emotionally weak as he is contemplating suicide and lacks purpose at this time, whereas in his soliloquy in Act 3 Scene 2 he shows a contrasting frame of mind due to his purpose, he now feels he has to take revenge on his father's behalf as he has the proof he desired. He now knows that the ghost was good and so can pursue his duty to his father and he is clearly concentrating on revenge, he says 'Now could I drink hot blood, And do such bitter business as the day Would quake to look on' (Act 3 Scene 2 388-390). In this mental state he is ruthless and is prepared and able to execute his revenge, however, up to this point, his purpose was unclear and his mental state was unstable. This more ruthless side of Hamlet is shown when he kills Polonius, not knowing who it is. Jenkins also suggests that he is reluctant to kill Claudius because in doing so, he would be committing a crime 'which he would punish' and would be acting against his principals as a Christian, which suggest he should be forgiving and not vengeful towards Claudius and this idea is a crucial dilemma of an avenger in a predominantly Christian era. ...read more.

Conclusion

and respect for Horatio as a man of thought and a good judge of character, and says that this is how he would like to be. He does not want to be 'passion's slave' and act before thinking, unlike his parallels, Laertes and Fortinbras, whose revenge is single minded and determined. Fortinbras does not delay in defending his family name by going to war, no matter how small the gain, his family honour in crucial whereas Laertes challenges Hamlet to a fight in order to exact his revenge. He feels it necessary to kill Hamlet by dishonourable means: by using a poisoned sword. This is a part of Hamlet's character which is much more complex than that of the conventional tragic heroes: the character is more ambitious, intricate and realistic, and although many see the character of Hamlet as a failure, his more complex nature accounts to a certain extent for his delay in committing revenge, he is a natural thinker and not a 'doer'. In conclusion, Hamlet's profound character is a significant contributing factor in his delay in executing the act of revenge; he is a philosopher of a melancholic disposition. Hamlet states that he does not wish to be 'passion's slave', acting solely on impulse, alternatively he seeks confirmation that his actions will not result in an undesirable outcome, he ensures this by seeking the necessary evidence of Claudius' guilt before acting. ...read more.

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