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

Analyse Shakespeares presentation of the theme of betrayal in Hamlet and show how far your appreciation and understanding of this theme have been informed by your reading of The Revengers Tragedy.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Analyse Shakespeare's presentation of the theme of betrayal in Hamlet and show how far your appreciation and understanding of this theme have been informed by your reading of "The Revenger's Tragedy." Shakespeare revolves the theme of betrayal around the central character - Hamlet- and it is through Hamlet's introspection and his soliloquies that an audience is able to witness the theme of betrayal in action. Through Hamlet's soliloquies, an audience is exposed to his belief that Gertrude has betrayed his father. In Elizabethan times, Gertrude's marriage to Hamlet may have been regarded as incestuous and unlawful. Thus, Hamlet refers to the "sheets" of marriage as "incestuous." However, Hamlet's continual preoccupation with the "speed" in which Gertrude remarried, suggests that he sees the betrayal as more to do with the fact that Gertrude has not undergone a significant period of mourning. Conventionally, a period of mourning of one year would have been expected, whereas Gertrude remarried in two months. Hamlet likens Gertrude's actions to that of "Niobe" and by drawing such comparisons emphasises his belief in hypocrisy of her actions, thus betraying her deceased husband. ...read more.

Middle

Shakespeare further portrays men to be the instigators of betrayal, as Hamlet forgets that he ever loved Ophelia. Through, being overcome with intense hatred and anger at his mother, Hamlet denies ever having loved Ophelia, and orders her "to a nunnery." It is Hamlet who instigates such betrayal, as he previously says "My fair Ophelia - Nymph." Through "nymph" Hamlet is describing Ophelia as a beautiful maid, thus highlighting his love for her. Yet, his attitude thereafter is considerably callous, as he continually questions Ophelia on her "honesty." The continual questioning reflects that of a gruelling and in part contributes to Ophelia's later madness. Kenneth Brannagh has said that his interpretation of "Hamlet" suggests that Hamlet is aware of either Polonius and Claudius and Hamlet's continual repetition of "Get thee to a nunnery" emphasises his belief in all women being morally corrupt. Possibly, Hamlet betrays Ophelia because he ultimately loves her. He is aware of men being "arrant knaves" and as such may be protecting Ophelia. Nevertheless, his continual rejection of Ophelia and his violent sentiments highlight the concept that men were often instigators of betrayal at the expense of women. ...read more.

Conclusion

Hamlet's continual dwelling on the issues of the afterlife and the suggestion of the terrors of the Purgatory numbs him into inaction. Hamlet himself says "conscience make cowards of us all" emphasising his inability to kill Claudius swiftly is due to his continuous pondering over the potential consequences, since he is aware of the repercussions of revenge. Thus, at the end of the play just as Claudius is punished for his sins of betrayal, Hamlet must face his own punishment for avenging such betrayal. Shakespeare portrays betrayal as an inevitable consequence of the desire of characters to seek for power and greed. It is usually the male characters that attempt to gain from such positions, thus an audience are aware that men usually are perpetrators of betrayal. This is evident in "The Revenger's Tragedy" where Ambitioso and Supervacuo's desire to become Duke, which leads them to betray Lussurioso. Hamlet believes that his mother has betrayed his father and Ophelia is susceptible to carrying out such betrayal too, but it is more "female frailty" rather than betrayal that steers Gertrude's actions. Gratiana exemplifies such "frailty" through betraying her own children and succumbing to what was perceived as women's "natural sin." ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Other Criticism & Comparison 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 AS and A Level Other Criticism & Comparison essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    The English Patient

    5 star(s)

    He comes to the villa and begs Hana to leave because she cannot stay with all the bombs still left underground, undefused. Hana refuses to leave the English patient. Caravaggio and Hana go for a walk in the garden. Caravaggio allows her to loosen the bandages and change them, and Hana sees that someone removed both of his thumbs.

  2. Elaine Showalter argues that Ophelias tragedy is subordinated in the play. Through comparison of ...

    Instead she says, "I don't know my lord, what I should think". Here, we see how she is subordinate to men (here, her father), in a way that stresses her mental and intellectual 'frailty' and that of women in Elizabethan society.

  1. Compare and contrast how the destructive nature of love is presented in Shakespeares Othello, ...

    this by following up with 'That's the greatest torture souls feel in hell,/In hell: that they must live, and cannot die.'(A4 s1 l68) The contrast of emotions in Jean's anger and the Duchess's sorrow may seem far apart but they suggest that McEwan and Webster both use the destructive nature of love to emphasise the impact of loss.

  2. How are male/female relationships explored in the texts? William Shakespeares Macbeth; Carol Ann Duffys ...

    He is finally giving in to her and is starting to question the plan to kill King Duncan. This shows that it's not a traditional relationship if Macbeth is letting his wife control him. She now has total power for a while.

  1. How is forbidden love conveyed in both Shakespeares Romeo and Juliet and Malorie Blackmans ...

    This idea could foreshadow the future after his death, conveying the way that his death could alter the views upon Noughts and Crosses being segregated in the future. Much like in Romeo and Juliet, the couple have to sacrifice something regardless of what they choose, whether it be their unborn baby or Callum himself.

  2. How is the mood (atmosphere) created in the opening scenes of Hamlet and what ...

    characters in the play, which could be taken as the hamartia which will inevitably lead to his downfall during his pursuit for revenge. The shared context of the two plays also allows us to draw comparisons. Both plays are set in foreign countries to escape accusations of treason by writing about such corruption within an English court.

  1. Explore the relationship between Shakespeares Macbeth and the version produced in the BBCs Shakespeare ...

    Symbolism is used quite frequently throughout the entire drama. For example, in the play Lady Macbeth tells Macbeth that he is ?too full of the milk of human kindness?, deliberately digging at him, exclaiming that he is too soft and un-masculine.

  2. Compare and contrast the writers presentation of conflict and power between men and women ...

    Hardy uses this setting as there were ghosts of the past rumoured to be a wife and her husband, where a woman ?murdered her husband was half-strangled and then burnt ? of ten thousand spectators.? The ghosts of the past were metaphors for Susan and Henchard, who both have the past haunting them.

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