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

Character of Hamlet.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Character of Hamlet "Wer gar zu viel bedenkt wird wenig leisten" -Schiller " He who reflects too much will accomplish little" It is impossible to attain completeness in the assessment of any one's character and more so in the case of Hamlet's, for its note are complex and mysterious. But on rigorous study, Hamlet's character can be described though partly but adequately by the above quote. 'Hamlet' is the most famous, the most popular play in the English language. But to quote T.S.Eliot -"So far from being Shakespeare's masterpiece, the play is most certainly an artistic failure.... And probably more people have thought Hamlet a work of art because they found it interesting, than have found it interesting because it is a work of art. It is the "Mona Lisa " of literature." "The grounds of Hamlet's failure are not immediately obvious."T.S.Eliot in his essay "Hamlet and His Problems", says this and after his analysis he concludes that in order to understand Hamlet - the play and the character - we need to understand things, which Shakespeare did not understand himself. A similar view is aired by A.C.Bradley who says that the character of Hamlet as one can understand from the play cannot answer several questions which pertain to the logic and rationality of Hamlet's deeds like his idea to pretend madness and in order to get a reasonable answer one must try history where we find the story of Amleth,the Prince of Denmark which inspired Shakespeare to write this "Mona Lisa " of literature. ...read more.

Middle

The entry of Old Hamlet's ghost into Hamlet's life reveals the purpose of living to him. The ghost discloses to him the 'truth' behind the death of Old Hamlet and pleads for revenge. Hamlet at once believes in the disclosure of the apparition and comes to the conclusion that Claudius is the villain: " O villain,villain,smiling,damned villain ! ...That one may smile and smile and be a villain;" (Act I Sc v) He also takes an oath to avenge his father's death in 'writing' " So,uncle,there you are.Now to my word, It is," Adieu, adieu! Remember me:" I have sworn't" (Act I Sc v) To understand why Hamlet requires proof of guilt of Claudius after taking oath to avenge his father's death, we need to consider his mental state at the time he meets the apparition. He detests Claudius right from the beginning. Now punishing Claudius after listening to the apparition (since it is no concrete proof) would mean acting with a prejudiced mind that hated Claudius. Hamlet believes Claudius is the serpent that stung his father, but refrains to be overtaken by a prejudiced mindset. This is an indication of unquestionable wisdom on Hamlet's part. Hamlet has the quality of emancipating himself from personal prejudices , which is rare among humans. Does the instantaneous oath taken by him show that Hamlet is driven by impulses? Yes, Hamlet in fact , according to me acted by the impulse that the revelation of 'truth' brought in him. ...read more.

Conclusion

Because of the great intellectual activity ,he makes things more difficult to execute. To quote Coleridge - "In Hamlet, we see a great ,an almost enormous, intellectual activity ,and a proportionate aversion to real action consequent upon it, with all its symptoms and accompanying qualities. This character Shakespeare places in circumstances under which it is obliged to act ... " "... but he vacillates from sensibility and procrastinates from thought ,and loses the power of action in the energy of resolve."(A.W.V.). The word 'sensibility' here refers to sensibility as perceived by the whole world. Hamlet is essentially a tragic figure. He is a failure (at least in the worldly sense) in life because he fails absolutely in fulfilling the task laid on him ,but fulfilling at appalling and needless cost. And this failure is tragic in highest degree because he is one of whom the highest was hoped. Hamlet knows what he has to do. Though he has the capability of accomplishing the deed, he does it at the cost of his own life and the life of his dear Ophelia. The other six deaths may be, by some means can be held as a retributive justice against them for their own deeds. Except the deaths of king Claudius and 'his' Queen ,all the rest happen due to their involvement with the king. These deaths could have been avoided.But,once the death casts a shadow on someone," the rest is silence". Note: The actual age of Hamlet is in question due to evidences based on various grounds. In my opinion the knowledge of Hamlet's age can help in understanding his complex character to perfection. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE 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 GCSE Hamlet essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Is Hamlet a coward or someone driven by his conscience?

    4 star(s)

    He is efficient, confident, in control of affairs, in every way assured and poised. Hamlet identifies with Claudius in a way that restrains him from being able to kill him, hamlet has all the ability and the necessary desire, but Claudius has everything Hamlet wants, which leads to internal sub-conscious conflict on as well as his conscious conflicts.

  2. Ophelia Essay

    Hamlet from coming to any harm as her duty as his friend? Does Ophelia really care for Hamlet or does she fear him and want him out if the Castle? All four options could be true. I think she has told her Father of Hamlet's madness because she genuinely cares for him and wants to protect him.

  1. Mighty opposites; Hamlet and Claudius.

    Both Hamlet and Claudius appear intelligent in their soliloquies. Hamlet's state of mind as being intellectual first appears in his second soliloquy, as in his first one he is angry, depressed and confused. In his second soliloquy he questions what the ghost has asked him to do.

  2. Hamlet Coursework: Is Hamlet alone responsible for Ophelias death? - WJEC English Lit. ...

    The columbines would have been given to Claudius, as he has been a figure of adultery throughout. The columbines also signify the foolishness of adultery; therefore by giving them to Claudius she is being very brave as it is a rude statement she is making.

  1. An analysis of the soliloquy in Hamlet

    Where classical revenge tragedy is to do with action, Shakespeare's Hamlet is to do with inaction. Shakepeare has been studied through the centuries as an influential writer of his time, whose work continues to invite critical comment. 'There is no such thing as Shakespeare's Hamlet.

  2. Sigmund Freud, father of psychoanalysis, used Shakespeare's character, Hamlet, in a letter written to ...

    The Oedipus complex raises issues of active and passive homosexuality as is evident not only in issues such as the attack of the younger brother on the older one (Claudius killing Old King Hamlet), replicating the father-son conflict, but the poisoning story, representing also the castration of the father by the son.

  1. How Does Shakespeare Convey a Sense of Anomie in Hamlet Act 1, and to ...

    reality, as in 14th century Denmark (where the play is set), people believed that evil spirits could take the form of a pleasing figure to lure curious souls to their deaths. This heightens the feeling of anomie and tension, as the audience and characters try to find out whether this "portentous figure" has good or bad intentions.

  2. Ophelia in William Shakespeare's Hamlet

    She tells him that Hamlet came into her room as she was sewing and that he was acting very strangely. Why has she told her father? Is it because she feels afraid of what Hamlet might do to her and her family or is it because she wants to protect

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