• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Hamlet is considered to be the greatest play ever written. The themes of the tragedy are death, madness, murder and revenge. The protagonist, Hamlet, like all tragic heroes, dies due to a combination of circumstances.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Hamlet is considered to be the greatest play ever written. The themes of the tragedy are death, madness, murder and revenge. The protagonist, Hamlet, like all tragic heroes, dies due to a combination of circumstances. The revenging son Hamlet is grieving his father's death. Hamlet, the Prince of Denmark, starts of as an admired and noble young man. However, fate and the turn of events lead the tragic hero to the depths of his fortunes. The tragedy starts with the death of the heroic King Hamlet. His brother, Claudius is the successor as King of Denmark and married the protagonist's mother. When a ghost of the late King Hamlet appears, Hamlet downfall begins. The ghost demands Hamlet to kill his uncle, Claudius, in order to avenge the late king's demise. Hamlet puts on an antic disposition to act insane so that he to will not be murdered. King Claudius senses something suspicious about Hamlet and sends for Hamlets two friends, Rozencrantz and Guildenstern to spy on his behalf. When a team of actors come to perform a play, Hamlet tells the players to perform a murder scene just like the one of his fathers. ...read more.

Middle

most wicked speed, to post, with such dexterity to incestuous sheets" When the protagonist is himself, he cannot cope with the world so the madness is a second personality, were he can express any of his feelings. If Hamlet were himself throughout the play, the noble prince would have been killed earlier or committed suicide. "O that this too too solid flesh would melt" Here the valiant prince is pondering suicide. Hamlet begins to wonder whether he has become insane but not only that so has his mother. She is really defensive of any criticism made of her son and argues with Claudius about her son's sanity, however, when Hamlet begins his conversation with the ghost she too begins to question his sanity. "Alas, how is't with you, That you do bend your eye on vacancy, And wih th' incorporal air do hold discourse? Forth at your eyes your spirits widly peep; And, as the sleeping soldiers in th' alarm, Your bedded hairs like life in excrements Start and stand to an end. O gentle son, Upon the heat and flame of thy distemper Sprinkle cool patience! ...read more.

Conclusion

Obviously, Hamlet's character offers more evidence, while Ophelia's breakdown is quick, but more conclusive. Shakespeare offers clear evidence pointing to Hamlet's sanity beginning with the first scene of the play. Ophelia's breakdown into madness and inability to deal with her father's death and Hamlet's rejection is dealt with neatly and punctually. There is little evidence against her madness, compared to Hamlet's intelligent plotting and use of witnesses to his actions. The climax of the play makes it what it is renowned for. Hamlet couldn't be the successor to the throne and had to die, as the play is a tragedy. As well as the protagonist through out the play was a young noble prince until he committed the crime of killing Polonius, therefore not being pure anymore. Tragic heroes have a flaw in their character and Hamlet was no different. Hamlet was too much of a perfectionist. This is a faultless ending is because it signifies the character of Fortinbras, a prince, comparable to Hamlet, trying to avenge the death of his father. Fortinbras succeeds in avenging the death of his father because he does not commit any sins in order to succeed. In any part of this play I do not think that Hamlet ever turned insane, even though throughout the play he was 'mad' (different terms). ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Hamlet section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Hamlet essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Hamlet - It's hard to define what revenge actually is.

    3 star(s)

    I think that even though Hamlet had a reason not to kill Claudius at that moment, he shouldn't have done because that is not Hamlet's character. If Hamlet was a revenger, then a lot of the play wouldn't have happened.

  2. Hamlet's Tragic Flaw leading to his Demise

    Laertes would even, 'cut his throat I'th' church.' (IV, vii,126) to avenge his father. At this point it is crystal clear that while Hamlet struggles to act on impulse, Laertes is exactly the opposite of that. Laertes would act immediately and knows that 'revenge should have no bounds.'

  1. Critical review of 'Hamlet'

    for old Hamlet is to be very melodramatic, like dressing in black. He wants everyone to know how true and real he is and can only express it through acting which he has grown to understand and appreciate. When Hamlet does not cry over it he is awoken to the

  2. How does Shakespeare present Hamlet's madness throughout the play?

    people prone to madness, as we later see from Ophelia's reaction to Polonius' death. However Hamlet has also got to deal with the betrayal of his Mother for marrying his Uncle, and the huge betrayal of his Uncle who not only has murdered his Father but also then hastily took his position as King and husband to Gertrude.

  1. Scene by Scene - Hamlet.

    governs how people think about them, overriding everything that is good. Of course this doesn't represent how Hamlet thinks about Claudius (who he detests for lots of reasons), and it's hard to explain what this is doing in the play -- apart from the fact that it's very true-to-life.

  2. A study of madness in Hamlet.

    particularly in Act 3 Scene 4 when Hamlet argues with his mother. He is wanting to show his mother a mirror which can reveal her true self so she can she how others see her. His mother does not understand this and feels it to be a threat on her

  1. An Analysis of Hamlets Philosophy of Life and Death in William Shakespeares Hamlet

    He does not comprehend how so many people are willing to die for nothing, when for him dying is a very hard thing to come to terms with. Shakespeare uses this scene to show Hamlet that death is not as significant as he makes it seem, but rather insignificant in the big scheme of things.

  2. Criticism on Hamlet

    The pretended madness of Hamlet causes much mirth, the mournful distraction of Ophelia fills the heart with tenderness, and every personage produces the effect intended, from the apparition that in the first act chills the blood with horror, to the fop in the last, that exposes affectation to just contempt.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work