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Hamlets downfall stems from his inability to revenge. How is this fore grounded in the early parts of the play, breaking from the traditional conventions of an Elizabethan revenge tragedy?

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Introduction

Hamlets downfall stems from his inability to revenge. How is this fore grounded in the early parts of the play, breaking from the traditional conventions of an Elizabethan revenge tragedy? It can be said that Hamlet's procrastination and inability to act result in his eventual demise. Shakespeare forewarns the audience of Hamlet's flaws throughout the play, in his soliloquies and also through the exploration of the Elizabethan revenge tragedy. During the Elizabethan period, it was commonplace to write within the genre of the revenge tragedy. This particular genre was extremely popular with the public due to the themes it embodied. Namely restoring order through punishing vice and gaining personal retribution. Other features often included treason, incest and the appearance of a ghost. Hamlet's belief in the occult and fear of damnation embodies the feelings of people at the time, "The spirit I have seen may be a devil, and the devil hath power to assume a pleasing shape...perhaps out of my weakness and my melancholy...abuses me to damn me." Hamlet is unusual in that it is set in Denmark, a protestant country. When examining vice and human failings, Shakespeare and other writers often set their plays in catholic countries. ...read more.

Middle

The burden of revenge and the corruption around him leads to his supposed madness, brought on by his inability to cope with the pressure, he comments earlier in the play that he is no 'Hercules'. It is likely that Hamlet uses the disguise of madness to speak the truth, as it excuses him from the consequences of what he says. An example of this is Hamlet talking to Polonius about his mistreatment of his daughter, "You are a fishmonger [pimp]", as Polonius uses his daughter to get to Hamlet. Hamlet does not wish to be used in this way by the ghost, who may be an evil spirit, and so damn his soul, the main reason perhaps for his procrastination. Shakespeare uses soliloquies to share Hamlet's innermost thoughts with the audience, who sympathise with his various predicaments. These speeches establish Hamlets is more of a scholar than a man of action like his father; he realises this and admits that he is no 'Hercules'. Without the encouragement of the ghost to revenge it is doubtful that Hamlet would have ever killed Claudius. He has sworn to suffer stoically, and hold his tongue. Even when he is sure that the ghost speaks truth, he will not kill the king while he prays for fear that ...read more.

Conclusion

When it falls, each...petty consequence, attends the boist'rous ruin." Hamlet's death provides a fresh start for Denmark. He may not have perhaps made a balanced king, especially due to his outbursts of madness, thus he would be unbeneficial to the kingdom. This is expressed in the play when Rosencrantz says: "The cease of majesty dies not alone, but like a gulf doth draw what's near it with it." It is perhaps due to this reason that Hamlet must die, in order to fully restore order in Denmark. The breaking of the traditional revenge tragedy makes Hamlet so much more appealing to its readers, as it is not confined to the question of how to revenge. It answers questions to which everyone is prone to debate (do we "take arms" against our problems or suffer stoically?), hence its popularity. Shakespeare alerts us to Hamlet's various failings through soliloquies with the audience in which we hear his innermost thoughts. Hamlet's eventual death is due to a combination of emotional stress an inability to act, and his desire to always do the right thing, causing him to slip into a world where he doesn't have to act, but also to wastes valuable time. Hamlet is tainted by the corrupt, a reason in the end for why he must die. Elizabeth Dean ...read more.

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