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Hamlet's Character as a Tragedy

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Introduction

Hamlet's character as a Tragedy A tragedy is when something awful has happened, in this case, Hamlet's father, Old Hamlet, has died. A 'Revenge Tragedy' is set. Hamlet's mission is to avenge his father's death. A 'Revenge Tragedy' is always a very exciting theme for a story and that is why it was popular in Elizabethan times and still appeals to audiences of stage and film productions nowadays. In the first scene there is a threat of invasion, when the guards are absolutely terrified about the ghost's appearance, it also creates a puzzle about whose the ghost is and why he has returned (because ghosts usually mean bad news). There is a lot of tension because the audience isn't really sure what is going to happen. Audiences of both stage and film productions nowadays still like to see this sort of atmosphere created because it 'grips' them to the story/play. Also, horror stories are as popular with audiences of today as they always have been. This scene is set for horror, via the ghost. This is why revenge tragedy is important to the Elizabethan audience and today's audience. I am going to investigate three scenes from Hamlet. The first time we actually meet Hamlet (Act One, Scene Two), just before the play (Act Three, Scene Two) ...read more.

Middle

The audience can see all of Hamlet's emotions spilling out as he says these words. He is probably very emotional because of his father's death and he is now recreating it in a play he is writing. "There is a play tonight before the King: One scene of it comes near the circumstance Which I have told thee of my father's death." Hamlet establishes Claudius' guilt when Claudius asks, "How fares our cousin Hamlet?" Hamlet promised Horatio to be 'idle', and deliberately interprets 'fares' as meaning 'feeds', so he replies as if Claudius has asked him what he has eaten, "Excellent i'faith, of the chameleon's dish: I eat the air, Promise - crammed. You cannot feed capons so." Hamlet explains that he eats the air of the chameleon (lizard) that it ate when is was alive, and explains that you cannot feed capons (fat chickens) air because they wouldn't be fat. To the audience and characters in the play, this is a sign of madness from Hamlet as, by saying these words, he has absolutely baffled them. The stage is set up for the audience to watch the 'dumb show' and the characters are set sitting down ready to watch the play. ...read more.

Conclusion

This is where the scene brings out Hamlet's intellectual curiosity and his speculative powers. "Who is thy fellow?" Hamlet is trying to find out who is in the coffin. He overhears Laertes arguing with the priest about the last rights, and this is when the film/story tells the audience it is about time to find out what Hamlet's reaction will be to the death of Ophelia. Hamlet goes mad at the news. He says, "What, the fair Ophelia!" And cry's, as his mother tries to comfort him. My view on Hamlet's character at this stage is that he has dramatically changed throughout the play through madness. He didn't really express his love verbally for Ophelia, and he did treat her badly and use her at times. Now she is dead, he mentions, "I loved Ophelia; forty-thousand brothers Could not with all their quantity of love Make up my sum. What wilt thou do for her?" This is where staging helps bring out the meaning of how much Hamlet loves Ophelia. Hamlet argues with Laertes that his love for Ophelia was infinitely greater than his. There again, in the quote above, Shakespeare uses a metaphor to describe Hamlet's emotions. Hamlet is a compelling character, his actions and thoughts are continually analysed and this probably, more than anything else, is the reason for Hamlet's enduring appeal. ...read more.

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