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What evidence is there to suggest that Hamlet would have become a successful leader of Denmark had he survived?

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Introduction

What evidence is there to suggest that Hamlet would have become a successful leader of Denmark had he survived? In the final scene Forthinbras declares that Hamlet, ".........................Was likely, had he been put on, To have proved most royal;" By examining traits of Hamlet's character and comparing his to the characters of others in positions of power I will discuss whether this statement is correct. In Act 1 Scene 2 Shakespeare shows Hamlet has many leadership qualities. He is kind to Horatio when he tries to make out he is a truant. "I would not hear your enemy say so," He has created a strong friendship with Horatio and the guards, Marcellus and Barnardo, respect him even though he has not become King. He can discuss his grief over his father's death frankly and openly with them. This show of trust for, and respect from, his piers is very important in a prospective leader. Hamlet is bitingly witty when talking of his father's funeral and mother's wedding. "Thrift, thrift, Horatio. The funeral baked meats Did coldly furnish the marriage tables." This not only shows his bitterness but also his sharp intelligence. ...read more.

Middle

Claudius also fails to understand Polonius' character and places too much trust on his judgement in state matters. Polonius' influence is shown. "Thou still hast been the father of good news" This misjudgement proves fatal for Claudius because the news Polonius brings of Hamlet's madness being that of a distracted lover in Act Two Scene Two is incorrect. Claudius is distracted from taking any steps to remove Hamlet because of this. Hamlet's own perceptiveness is shown again in his understanding of Polonius as he aptly describes him as a "foolish, prating knave." However Claudius has qualities such as ruthlessness, that make him a good leader, and which, Hamlet is lacking. When Claudius has realised the full threat Hamlet poses to him he has no quibbles about having him sent to his death in England immediately. Hamlet only possesses this strength when he seals the letter to have Rosencrantz and Guildenstern killed. He declares, "They are not near my conscience." Claudius has the character of a leader who wants to drink and party in the style of royalty with his people. This may make him popular with some but Hamlet takes this view against Claudius' 'custom,' "................................It is a custom More honoured in the breach than in the observance." ...read more.

Conclusion

Despite all Hamlet's kingly qualities the view of Ophelia in Act Three Scene One must be considered. She believes that through feigning madness Hamlet has destroyed all the virtues he was previously warrant to. "Oh what a nobler mind is here o'erthrown!" This means that Hamlet has disqualified himself from the chance being elected to the throne as he has destroyed his own self. This may be a just argument but we must consider the true extent of Hamlet's insanity and believe that Hamlet would be able to return to his intelligent and discerning self after Claudius' death. In the final scene Shakespeare shows us that Hamlet couldn't be successful leader of Denmark. He still has not the tenacity to take his revenge. He only kills Claudius in retaliation to an attack upon himself and not because of any merit of his own. This procrastination would be a serious failing in a prospective leader because ruthless decisions and actions would need to be taken without the moralising that Hamlet's character exemplifies. His other qualities, though still intact despite the feigned madness, would not compensate for his lack of resolution. Shakespeare highlights this flaw by including the characters of Claudius and Fortinbras who are both ruthless and decisive. ?? ?? ?? ?? Rachael Rhodes L6J ...read more.

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