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the themes in Hamlet

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Introduction

Themes of Hamlet Zareef Hamid 11B Hamlet by William Shakespeare is a revenge tragedy that illustrates a tragic hero's struggle with two opposing forces: moral integrity, and the need to avenge his father's murder. Hamlet the prince of Denmark discovers from his father's ghost that his father has been murdered with malicious premeditation and this atrocious act was committed by none other than his uncle Claudius. Inevitably Hamlet is instigated to seek revenge, however is incapable of such action due to the need for certainty and other emotional, psychological, and ethical factors; thus he remains indecisive. Through Hamlet's complex, divided, introspective character and with the help of such an intriguing plot Shakespeare exposes the themes of immorality, revenge, and death; which are evidently the most significant and recurring themes throughout the play. Immorality plays a significant role in the play. The plot commences with Claudius not only committing the immoral act of regicide but also repulsively seducing the queen into marriage; completely disrupting the natural order of Denmark. Therefore Claudius has deprived the prior king "of life, of crown, of queen" Such corruption leads to Denmark being represented as a physical body which has been made ill as the people come to believe that "something is rotten in the state." ...read more.

Middle

This shows Hamlets need for certainty and deep contemplation. Even after The king's outburst when he had the perfect opportunity to kill whilst he was praying, Hamlet failed to perform. Hamlet states "Now he is praying...a villain kills my father and for that, I, his sole son, do this same villain send to heaven"( III,iii). It is evident that Hamlet is a man with "too much reason" (III.ii) and not enough action. One could argue that it is as if he develops excuses for not completing the deed, mainly because he is human and that the deed is immoral. Therefore he is incapable of performing such action immediately. This proves that every action; even revenge is affected by rational considerations, involving the need for truth or certainty as well as moral, physiological and emotional factors. Nevertheless it seems as though Hamlet disbelieves the notion of performing a deed in a purposeful and controlled way; because when Hamlet does take action; killing Polonius, he prefers to do it irresponsibly, blindly and viciously. It evidently shows his thirst for revenge as well as the obscurity and complexity of his character. Hamlet's blind, irrational, and impulsive, manner of killing Polonius without being aware of his identitiy formulates the beginning of a vicious cycle of retribution; as Hamlet becomes a part of Denmark's squalor and misery. ...read more.

Conclusion

Hamlet also believes that life is meaningless because after death all physical beauty is lost. So with Yorick's skull in hand he reminisces upon all the moments he spent with Yorick and what has become of him now. Likewise, regardless of how women emphasize on their beauty; as Hamlet states "to this favor she must come."(V.i.192-195) Evidently Shakespeare, through the voice of Hamlet proves that all the greed and lust for power eventually leads to nothing in the face of death. Shakespeare's utilization of the significant intertwining themes of death, revenge and immorality, he is able to coherently elucidate how immoral injustice can never be restored and unless all the corrupt players are purged and a new king, in this case Fortinbras, is crowned. In addition Shakespeare also exposes that ultimately revenge is not the solution for internal peace but rather when committed it brings forth chaos and disorder within the society; forcing death to be the only resolution to cleanse the corruption and bring back peace and harmony to the state. In the process of the play these universal themes are dealt not in the conventional sense but in a reality based fashion which any human being can easily relate to, and this is what makes Hamlet such a tour de force. ...read more.

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