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


Extracts from this document...


HOW DOES SHAKESPEARE EXPLORE THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE THEME OF APPEARANCE AND REALITY AND HAMLET'S COMMISSION TO AVENGE HIS FATHER'S DEATH? William Shakespeare wrote "Hamlet" between 1599 and 1601. Court and politics played an important part in Elizabethan life, just as they do in "Hamlet" where the Court, in late Elizabethan England, was full of lies and deceit. God gave us destiny and choice. Destiny is what God wants all to follow. Choice is human will that leads to sin. An example of human choice is Claudius killing his brother Old Hamlet, the King of Denmark so that he can be King and, in turn, marry Gertrude. He can only maintain an illusion of Kingship through lies and deceit. The Chain of Being was the way the Elizabethans viewed their universe. It demanded that the lowest peasant should be the best peasant and the monarch should be the best monarch. God has placed each of these people in that place. If a noble is to become King then he will be by God's will not his own. The Chain of Being is disrupted in "Hamlet" by Claudius, the brother of the King Hamlet of Denmark. This is an example of a person going against God's will. But it must also be questioned whether Hamlet's role of avenger, although a conventional theatrical stock character, is equally disruptive. Francis Bacon, an Elizabethan philosopher condemned revenge as 'a kind of wild justice'. (York Notes). ...read more.


Do it, England; for like the hectic in my blood he rages, and thou must cure me.' Claudius manipulated them, as they did not know what was going on. Hamlet knows that they have been sent for by the King and Queen. After the play, Hamlet casts aside his role of Avenger and Fool and shows his Princely anger and power; this is how he should have confronted Claudius. 'You would play upon me, you would seem to know my stops, you would pluck out the heart of my mystery, you would sound me from my lowest note to the top of my compass; and there is much music, excellent voice, in this little organ, yet cannot you make it speak. 'Sblood, do you think I am easier to be played on than a pipe? Call me what instrument you will, though you fret me, you cannot play upon me.' Claudius also manipulates Laertes into fighting Hamlet, after Claudius read the letters from Hamlet to say that he is alive, and so he poses the question 'will you be rul'd by me?' 'Ay, my Lord' is the reply (Act 4 Scene 7), and so Claudius is now manipulating Laertes, as he wants revenge for the death of his father and of his sister, and Claudius uses this to his advantage. The reason for using Laertes to kill Hamlet is that Laertes is geared up for the job and wants to do it 'to cut his throat i'th' church' (Act 4 Scene7); Laertes doesn't mind breaking the Chain of Being, as he says by wanting to cut hamlets throat in a church. ...read more.


kills the player King in the garden with poison, which not only points to Claudius killing his brother, but Hamlet wanting to avenge his father's death. Though the play doesn't really prove anything as Claudius will be upset and angry whether he did kill his brother or not as he can see that Hamlet is blaming him. Hamlet is no fool for the King, even though he tells the truth through the play within a play. Shakespeare, according to Ernest Jones in "Hamlet and Oedipus" 1949, says that Hamlet is a character suffering from psychoneurosis, and Dover Wilson described Hamlet's plight as "that sense of frustration, futility and human inadequacy". Freudian theory would have would have us believe that Hamlet had repressed his feelings of jealousy at his father's place as his mother's husband but they are released when his repressed desire for his father to be dead is fulfilled, with consequential guilt and depression. Ideas of incest and murder are too much for Hamlet; thus the delay and frustration and the "antic disposition". Hamlet's repression demands passionate outbursts especially against Guildenstern, Rosencrantz and Polonius, the conventional dotard whose role is to restrain the joy of the young. Hamlet's failure to "sweep to his revenge" (Hamlet, Act 1 Scene 5) is due to his repression. Whether, as Jones would have it, it is repression of sexual jealousy, or repression of his moral understanding that human vengeance is wrong, remains a puzzle. Hamlet's heroism is his ingenious determination to succeed. His Tragedy is the atmosphere of deceit in which he must act. ...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. Mighty opposites; Hamlet and Claudius.

    he sends a letter to Fortinbras and plots Hamlet's death while he is in England and he also gets other people such as Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, Polonius and others to spy on Hamlet and find out the reason of his madness, '' And can you by no drift of conference

  2. Comparing Hamlet with Fortinbras

    Another reason why Fortinbras is more successful is that he always takes action - admittedly sometimes a little too hastily, but he is efficient and has solutions to problems and even if his escapades are fuelled by madness, atleast he has the resources to carry them out.

  1. Hamlets dilemma - Why can't he act?

    the conditioned, popular belief was that anyone could be sent to hell if they displeased God. It was therefore considered every man/woman's goal in life to adhere to Christian principles in order to reach heaven, as opposed to hell/purgatory; and so this general fear among the English population resulted in

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

    While Hamlet is littering her with abusive comments, she cries out ' O'help him'. This cry could be seen as Ophelia asking Claudius and Polonious to stop Hamlet, yet they don't, and she is let down and left to deal with her problems herself.

  1. How does Shakespeare portray changes in Hamlets character in soliloquy one and four

    Proof of this is, "Sith I have the cause and will and strength and means To do't". In my opinion the reason Hamlet has not completed the revenge is because he's distracted by something. I believe that it is Fortinbras that distracts Hamlet from his revenge.

  2. Select two soliloquies from Hamlet and analyse their significance to the play as a ...

    Shakespeare keeps the audience focused on these themes by using imagery and metaphors. Imagery is used to express Hamlet's pain, "The heart ache and the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to" These words are telling the audience that Hamlet may believe that death is better than living with its pain and shocks.

  1. How does Hamlet and Ophelia's relationship evolves throughout the play of 'Hamlet'?

    By Act 5 Scene 1, Ophelia has turned mad and committed suicide. Hamlet has returned from England to find a burial ceremony, he then finds out it is Ophelia's. In this scene Hamlet finally admits that he loves Ophelia. I feel that this is the first time Hamlet has spoken

  2. Compare and contrast how Shakespeare and Marlowe explore attitudes to death and the afterlife ...

    Hamlet is worried what will happen in the afterlife, "an undiscovered country" which we know nothing about, he comments " to sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub" addressing his dismay at the potential horrors of the afterlife and so he decides to "bear those ills we have" .

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