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Hamlet and his character

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Hamlet Essay In 'Hamlet' by William Shakespeare, Prince Hamlet, the main character, brings about his downfall by putting on an 'antic disposition' which gradually becomes actual madness. The plot reveals this madness as it develops, and the personality of Hamlet changes throughout the play, showing his progression into madness. The main theme of the impossibility of certainty shows how indecision is a key factor in the forces from within that defeat him. At the start of the play, Hamlet is seen to still be grieving over the death of his father, Old Hamlet. He conceals his grief when Claudius, the new king and Hamlet's uncle, is addressing the Danish court and uses wit to control his anger and bitterness, saying to Claudius that he is "A little more than kin, and less than kind." ...read more.


As the play progresses, Hamlet decides to act mad in order to find out more after hearing from his father's ghost that his father was murdered by the new king. Hamlet uses his 'antic disposition' to pretend to be innocent when he sets a trap for Claudius further on in the play. He divulges to his friends, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, that: I am but mad north-north-west. When the wind is southerly, I know a hawk from a handsaw." He plots to have a group of players act out 'The Murder of Gonzago', a play very relative to the murder of Old Hamlet, to see what his uncle's reaction is to prove that it was him who killed his father. ...read more.


It is not definite whether his behaviour towards Ophelia is still a pretence or not, but she is deeply hurt by his words, yet is convinced he is mad. Hamlet's true madness from within is further shown when his mother, Gertrude, asks to see him in private to discover the cause of his apparent madness. When she asks him as to why he "hast thy father much offended", Hamlet loses control of his inner anger and allows his emotions to decide his actions. He talks back to her, hurtling insults at her, such as, "you have my father much offended". When he mistakes Polonius for the king when he is behind the arras, Hamlet stabs him, and appears not to care that he has just killed the wrong man, stating: Take thy fortune: Thou find'st to be too busy is some danger." This behaviour shows the drastic actions ...read more.

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  1. Ophelia Essay

    will be made to think that however sweet and innocent a person may be, they all have a breaking point. Hamlet passed his breaking point earlier in the play as he also went mad. In Act Four, Scene Seven Gertrude informs Claudius and Laertes of Ophelia's death.

  2. Hamlet & Madness

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