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

How does Shakespeare present the two revengers in Hamlet and how might a modern audience respond to their situations?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

> How does Shakespeare present the two revengers in Hamlet and how might a modern audience respond to their situations? Hamlet is the tragic story of the Prince of Denmark. His Uncle Claudius who has become king and married Hamlet's mother has murdered Hamlet's father. Hamlet descends into a rage and plots to take his revenge on Claudius. Polonius, the King's counsellor, sends his son Laertes to France and warns his daughter Ophelia not to see Hamlet or accept anymore of his love letters. Hamlet plays at madness to trick Polonius and Claudius. Ophelia reports Hamlet's eccentric behaviour to her father. Polonius then insists that Hamlet has become demented, and cautions Ophelia to keep her distance. He then reported Hamlet's bizarre behaviour to the King and Queen. Perceiving Hamlet as a possible threat to the throne, Claudius hires Rosencrantz and Guildeiistern, old friends of Hamlet, to spy on the prince, to learn whether he is mad. But Hamlet sees through the plan. A company of travelling actors visit Ellsinore, and Hamlet persuades them to perform a murder scene that was actually a re-enactment of the death of the old King. He is sure that if Claudius had killed his father, guilt will show on his face. ...read more.

Middle

It is apparent here that Hamlet is playing at madness in order to trick Polonius into believing that he is in fact mad. However, at times in the play it is questionable whether Hamlet is entirely sane or not. For example, when Hamlet speaks with his mother in act 3, scene 4 she is unable to see the ghost as Hamlet can, or imagines he can. Leading her to believe he is mad "this is the very coinage of your brain"(3.4.137). It also leads the audience to wonder on Hamlet's state of mind, could it be that the ghost is a creation of Hamlet's brain? It could well be that hamlet has gone in mad with grief and imagined the ghost. In this case is killing Claudius justified? As it is impossible for Hamlet to make a sensible decision if he is in fact mad. Some of Hamlet's violent outbursts to Ophelia indicate that Hamlet may have had an element of madness about him. However, his behaviour in general throughout the play would suggest to a modern audience that Hamlet was simply reacting to the awful grief and stress he is put under by his fathers murder and his mother's marriage to his uncle. In my opinion I believe the audience would feel that Hamlet is not mad or indecisive, he's just human, he lashes out at people and keeps them at a distance because he is simply unsure of whom to trust. ...read more.

Conclusion

Although Laertes took a much more direct approach than Hamlet, wasting no time, they both however, accomplished their goal but at the ultimate price of both their lives. It is ironic that both the revengers are murdered with the same sword. Even the King is killed with the same sword and by his own poison. In a revenge tragedy everyone is justly served for his or her actions. Hamlet has murdered and must therefore die, Claudius has murdered and must therefore die, the Queen has had an incestuous marriage and therefore dies. The only person that dies without a reason or as an act of revenge is Ophelia. It is therefore symbolic that she is the only one of the characters not murdered with a sword or poison but instead slowly lets herself be drowned by the river in which she fell. As is the case with revenge tragedy the major characters are all slain. Fortinbras says, "He (Hamlet) is likely to have proved most royal" (5.2.391-392) It is important in a tragedy for the tragic hero to have been great. Hamlet would have made a great King therefore his death is a tragedy. The play as a whole still appeals to modern audiences as much as it would have appealed to an Elizabethan audience. However, a modern audience would certainly have sympathy for Hamlet's situation and therefore react better to him than to Laertes. Sam Armstrong Page 1 5/9/2007 ...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

    'Something is rotten in the state of Denmark' - At the end of the ...

    3 star(s)

    Yet it is not the Ghost that is actually rotten. He no longer exists as a person to contribute to the state of Denmark apart from in Hamlet's mind. Hamlet's mental state is the main theme of the play. He is suicidal and in mourning at the loss of this

  2. Critical review of 'Hamlet'

    It would be a welcome relief for he would have finished what he had set out to accomplish but is finding too many faults getting in the way. Hamlet and his mother have a typical conversation of a Mother and Son where they become slightly heated, sharp and cutting with each other.

  1. Hamlet's Tragic Flaw leading to his Demise

    (IV, iv, 66) . Hamlet is already away from the castle of Elsinore, heading to England with his escorts Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. It is rather too late for Hamlet to declare that his "thoughts be bloody" because Claudius and Laertes have already planned for his death.

  2. Discuss Hamlet's attitude to death and the afterlife, giving indications to how both contemporary ...

    And with such maimed rites? This doth betoken The corse they follow did with desperate hand Fordo it own life. 'Twas of some estate. Couch we awhile and mark'. Hamlet wonders who is being buried because the funeral rites are incomplete.

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

    When Claudius sees Ophelia behaving this way he says: "Poor Ophelia,' 'divided from herself and her fair judgement, Without the which we are pictures or mere Beasts'' (Lines 86-87)

  2. Examine how Shakespeare explores the role of women in Hamlet. What might the response ...

    Ophelia's madness may have been a result of the way she was treated in an inferior way by three main people in her life. This emphasizes the extent to which Ophelia was oppressed by the opposite sex and what effect it had on her and other women.

  1. Hamlet is considered to be the greatest play ever written. The themes of the ...

    The 'sane' Hamlet talks about his mother's injudicious marriage to Claudius, he feels that this is incest; in addition he always talks about her sex life "Oh

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

    This huge escape, along with all the events prior enable Hamlet to realize how insignificant everyone is in life. Hamlet now believes that regardless of what a person does, it will not matter because ?there [is] a divinity that shapes our ends?(5.2.11).

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