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HOW DOES SHAKESPEARE EXPLORE THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE THEME OF APPEARANCE AND REALITY AND HAMLET'S COMMISSION TO AVENGE HIS FATHER'S DEATH?

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Introduction

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.

Middle

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.

Conclusion

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.

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