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  • Level: GCSE
  • Subject: English
  • Essay length: 1779 words

Hamlet's strengths and weaknesses

Extracts from this essay...

Introduction

'We admire Hamlet as much for his weaknesses as for his strengths.' -Jessica McGrath Hamlet is a very complex character who changes a lot throughout the play. In fact I think that somewhere along the lines, he loses his sanity. If I am right then he would be an insane person, pretending to be insane, making it very hard for the audience (including myself) to have any definite feelings towards him. He does a lot of things which would normally be considered unforgivable, but given the circumstances, he still manages to be loved by the reader / audience and we feel sorry for him when he dies. His personality is similar in the sense that it is complex. He has strengths and weaknesses, things we like and things we don't like, but we still love him even if he is a murderer, and verbally attacks his mother and girlfriend. We also gain insight to some of his redeeming qualities. He is loved so much by the general danish population that Claudius considers him a threat to his kingship even when Hamlet has adopted an antic disposition. If his is so then he must be loved for a reason. He certainly isn't all bad, that we know for sure. You cannot help but admire his loyalty to his father, his determination to complete the task the ghost asks of him, the fact that he will

Middle

We see multiple times throughout the play that Hamlet likes to use his wit and wordplay to confuse those around him. The Shakespearean audience would have enjoyed his way with words. We see examples of this when he makes Polonius change his opinion several times, and makes the courier of a message take off and replace his hat three times before letting him deliver his message. Do you see yonder cloud that's almost in shape of a camel?.... Very like a whale." Hamlet always thinks two steps ahead. However, in that sense, his intellect is also a weakness. We see before the boat trip that he was always planning things, always thinking about the next move and how to act it out, but followed very little of it through until the end. That is just the type of person he was until after he sends Guildenstern and Rosencrantz to their deaths, when his anger peaks at the thought of his very own friends betraying him for the king and he loses it. Less pleasant examples of him using his words to hurt and berate people are when he attacks his mother, accusing her of incest and moving on too soon after Hamlet senior dies. Gertrude must beg him to stop. "No more, sweet Hamlet". He also causes Ophelia to be confused and insulted.

Conclusion

He can entrust Horatio with his confession of killing Rosencrantz and Guildenstern without fear of resentment from Horatio, "he should the bearers put to sudden death, not shriving-time allow'd". Hamlet is indeed a very complicated character with many strengths and weaknesses. his strengths help to endear him to us, and when he is good, he is pretty great. However given what he has been put through, the audience can also appriciate his weaknesses and understand why he has them. He also covers his weaknesses adequetely with his strengths so that they do not hold him back for long before he overcomes them. This is very admirable of him and nearly makes Hamlet an inspirational character to a degee. Even though Hamlet has caused the deaths of multiple people, he has done so to fulfill his father's last wish and to avenge him. He could have just ignored the wish, and gone on with his life (which probably would have been much longer), but he didn't. He remained true to himself and those he cared about until the very end. I cannot help but feel pity for Hamlet's death as he was a very dutiful and good-intentioned character with a lot of potential to be a good leader, if only he had gotten a chance to prove it, "For he was likely, had he been put on, to have prov'd most royal".

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