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How do aspects of disorder contribute to the tragedy of Hamlet?

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Introduction

How do aspects of disorder contribute to the tragedy of "Hamlet"? Tragedies traditionally consist of a story of great misfortune. I feel it is the disorder that is exposed in the play "Hamlet" that leads to the serious tragic events by the play's closure. It is Hamlet's confusion about grief, the ghost, his relationships and indeed his own position with the Court of Denmark that leads to his own personal tragedy. Claudius and Gertrude's relationship is peculiar; it certainly does not receive Hamlet's approval. 'Oh most wicked speed, to post with such dexterity to incestuous sheets' The natural family order is 'disordered' by the death and then the sudden marriage between Gertrude and Hamlet's uncle. The marriage took place within two months of Old Hamlet dying which might suggest that Gertrude did not truly love Old Hamlet, but she loved his status. She thrives to keep her strong position within the royal hierarchy; once again her status has been gained by marrying. Gertrude would be a widow therefore no longer Queen, and her speedy marriage insinuates desperation to keep her role. An incestuous relationship is also implied in my opinion between the protagonist Hamlet and his mother Gertrude. Freud many years later adapted a psychoanalytical theory. 'Every man wants to kill their father and marry their mother' this interpretation of Gertrude's relationship with Hamlet focuses on a psychological reading of this episode. ...read more.

Middle

The 'something rotten' could also be a reference to the supernatural spirit of Old Hamlet who has not gone to heaven due to un-absolved crimes. Hamlet thought of his Father, as a 'god like' creature, as it seems as though Hamlet had favoured his Father. Hamlet has a filial obligation to the Ghost which creates a dilemma for him. As duties of a son Hamlet is obliged to follow out out his father's instructions. Moral and religious codes are also confronted and as a result disordered in the play. The Bible states that one shall not murder but Claudius has sinned and murdered. Claudius has challenged the values of religion and Elizabethan audiences would have felt that important values had been disrupted. In Act 3 scene 3 Claudius prays for his wrongs, 'Oh my offence is rank, it smells to heaven' this expresses that Claudius regrets his actions and is asking for forgiveness. But then later on in the play he goes on to plot Hamlet's death. It is obvious that he is trying to fool religion as he is committing sins but still attempting to get through the gateways of heaven. Claudius is not dedicated to his religion and it seems he is trying to cheat god. The prayer communicates he can trick the law but he cannot trick God. ...read more.

Conclusion

'Critics begin trying to define the exact nature of the disorder, and they go astray'. Wilson thinks Hamlets condition is continuously over exaggerated and believes that people explore in too deeply into his madness, Wilson says that Hamlet's madness due to 'the burden which fate lays upon his shoulders', which is the burden of killing his Uncle, I agree with this to an extent. In the view that Hamlet has to seek revenge and it is what ultimately leads him to his feigned or real imbalance. I stand by people's opinion that Hamlet may be an adolescent in a man's body, therefore making the antic disposition an act for attention. This is understandable that he has acted out in this way as nobody seemed to notice him heavily until this had happened. They sympathise Hamlet but never offered there help to help him through. People were too involved in carrying on with normal life and celebrating the new marriage. In "Hamlet" we see a transgression from Aristotle's rigid formula. Much is used, but 'Hamlet' complicates the boundaries of revenge tragedy. Denmark is still disordered as the play ends with most of the royal family dying, and again King. This mirrors the start of the play which portrays a disordered recurring cycle. Disorder has been part of the play for entertainment value and for thematic significant. It is essential as it gives the play longevity and makes it memorable. It is no accident on the part of Shakespeare that disorder contributes to the tragic outcomes. ...read more.

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