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Examine the presentation of fathers in "Hamlet" with close reference to three key scenes.

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  • Essay length: 2286 words
  • Submitted: 19/06/2006
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University Degree Hamlet

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"Hamlet"

Tom Spooner

Examine the presentation of fathers in "Hamlet" with close reference to three key scenes:

Claudius, Old Hamlet and Polonius are all fathers and the way in which each is presented by Shakespeare is quite different. On the surface, the play is a revenge tragedy in which a grieving son seeks to avenge the death of his murdered father. However I think it has been very cleverly crafted by Shakespeare around a bleak theme of appearance versus reality that explores the corrupt, sinister region of the human nature that is present beneath the surface of us all. Shakespeare's portrayal of many of the characters in the play and in particular of fathers is as both malevolent and egotistical. Claudius' hypocrisy masquerades as fatherly love and concern; Polonius' obsequiousness and search for position masquerades as service to the King, using his daughter as a pawn in the process; Old Hamlet's torment and manipulation of Hamlet's emotions is passed off as regaining his honour. On the surface fathers are presented by Shakespeare as having to be loved, honoured and obeyed almost without question. However the effect this has on their children is quite catastrophic leading to

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