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

Do you agree with critics who argue that Hamlet's death and the appointment of Fortinbras as king are deeply unsatisfactory and bring no real restoration of order to the play?

Extracts from this document...


Do you agree with critics who argue that Hamlet's death and the appointment of Fortinbras as king are deeply unsatisfactory and bring no real restoration of order to the play? At the end of Act Five, Shakespeare has re-established Hamlet as a traditional Elizabethan revenge tragedy through the bloody catharsis at the end of the play, the purpose of this being to cleanse Denmark of the corrupt and to restore order, although it is doubtful whether Hamlet's revenge achieves this aim. It is during Act Five that Hamlet regains his heroic status: "it is I, Hamlet the Dane" and his supposed madness diminishes. Hamlet once again embraces his Christian faith, realising that "there's a divinity that shapes our ends, rough hew them how we will", this theme would reflect the orthodox Christian beliefs of the audience. Hamlet now believes that God is in control, and that he can only slightly alter his destiny; perhaps Hamlet realises that it is destiny that Fortinbras should take the throne, although there is little else he could do to stop this. All Hamlet can do is give Fortinbras his "dying voice", which will perhaps stop civil war within Denmark. ...read more.


Issues such as suicide would interest the less blood-fixated members of the playhouse crowd, giving them something to debate about. When Hamlet does revenge, it results in a bloody massacre. Many critics feel that this is unnecessary, and argue that many of the characters should not have died. It can be argued that the bloody catharsis is necessary in ridding vice and restoring order in Denmark. It is certainly necessary to fulfil the audience's lust for the conventional tragedy of blood. It can be argued that Hamlet is not required to restore order, as the ghost asks him to "revenge this foul and most unnatural murder" and while he is doing this "taint not thy mind, nor let thy soul contrive against thy mother aught. Leave her to heaven". However, in saying this, the ghost implicates the removal of the traitors from the throne and from the royal bed. Although he does argue with his mother, her death is not a direct result of him. The poisoned chalice that was meant for Hamlet was instead taken by Gertrude. Using Hamlets philosophy we could say that this is divine retribution, and therefore she has been left to heaven. ...read more.


Claudius is a man of words, like Hamlet and although he avoids a war with Norway, this is only for a short time, as at the end his words have been in vain as Fortinbras takes the throne. A patriotic audience would realise the implications of an invading power taking over, and would realise why Hamlet gave Fortinbras his "dying voice". In the Branagh version of Hamlet, Fortinbras has all the symbols of the previous regime destroyed, including a statue of king Hamlet, perhaps an ironic gesture showing the ultimate failure of Hamlet in carrying out his father's wishes. Shakespeare's conclusion to Hamlet is entirely satisfactory in restoring order to Denmark. Fortinbras seems to be a good leader of people, much like old Hamlet who was dearly loved by the Danish people. Hamlet's blessing on Fortinbras, "he has my dying voice", whether reluctant or not, will ease the way for Fortinbras' take over. It is likely that Fortinbras will encounter resistance, as he is a foreigner imposing power, an idea shown in the Branagh version of Hamlet. Denmark, previously described by Hamlet as "an unweeded garden that grows to seed things rank and gross in nature" has been cleansed by the destruction of those corrupt persons in the bloodshed of Act Five. It can therefore be said that Hamlet has been successful in restoring social and moral order to Denmark and to the universe. ...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. Comparing Hamlet with Fortinbras

    Hamlet has a better case for revenge, because his father was murdered by his uncle, whereas Fortinbras' father was killed fairly, in a duel, against the late King Hamlet, therefore Fortinbras wants revenge on Denmark. Hamlet pursues his revenge sensibly, at first, by testing the words of the ghost with a play.

  2. How successful is Hamlet as a play about revenge? Consider both the modern and ...

    However, he also spends an equal amount of time speculating on Gertrude and Claudius's relationship. Throughout the play, Hamlet is shown to be plagued by the thought of his mother "in the rank sweat of an enseamed bend./ Stewed in corruption, honeying and making love/ Over the nasty sty."

  1. 'Hamlet is primarily a personal rather than a political tragedy' - To what extent ...

    This arguably shows that he is not hesitant about killing the king due to the welfare of the state, but so that he can carry out the murder perfectly to please his father. Alternatively, it could indicate a personal disinclination to adapt to the role of the revenge hero, as he has shown himself to be a reflective humanist thinker.

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

    This portrays the fact that Hamlet is one of the main causes of Ophelia's death, as he is cruel and fickle to her. Rather than air this new apparent taste for Ophelia in a respectful manner, Hamlet says his tenders in an open, disrespectful and almost joking manner.

  1. In order to show that Act 5 scene ii, is a fitting close to ...

    Polonius was often a victim of Hamlets word-play. Osric who is seen as a variant of Polonius, too becomes a victim of Hamlet's love for punning on words, as we see in Act 5 scene ii, lines 93- 94. Hamlet "No, believe me, `tis very cold, the wind is northerly."

  2. An exploration of how Shakespeare presents Hamlet's fear of death.

    For example, his mother who is now with Hamlet's uncle, only two months after his father was murdered. It could also be interpreted that Hamlet has a close relationship with his mother, and that the way the word "incestuous" is used is in fact ironic because he should not have those feelings for his mother either.

  1. Hamlet has been portrayed as a man with a fatal flaw,a misfit in a ...

    Hamlet also quotes "To be or not to be", as he ponders upon the advantages and disadvantages of suicide. Hamlet also embraces a less confrontational approach in the first soliloquy, where he candidly insults and mocks Claudius as a 'satyr'.

  2. How are the tensions which were a part of Elizabethan society shown through Shakespeare's ...

    The ambiguous nature of his suggestion that he is less involved with kin, and too much the son, portrays immediate detachment from the royal family, in particular from Claudius, and the lack of enthusiasm to be involved with the affairs of this family will reflect his lack of enthusiasm to take action when presented with his dilemma.

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