The Domino Effect in William Shakespeare's Hamlet


Length: 1304 words (3.7 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Excellent
Open Document
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Text Preview

More ↓

Continue reading...

Open Document

The Domino Effect in William Shakespeare's Hamlet
If there is one game that turns the gears in the mind of a child, it is dominos. The excitement that builds as one carefully sets up each domino at a time, being sure not to tip any of the pieces over until he or she creates a marvelous maze with curves and zigzags swooping side to side. Finally, after diligently finishing his or her masterpiece, the big moment arrives. The excited child slowly reaches over to the very first domino that he or she has set up, and taps it. The youth watches in awe as a chain reaction occurs right in front of his or her eyes. The child thinks to itself, "Wow. I cannot believe that one action can affect so many of the other dominos." The chain reaction of a domino set relates with the complex events that occur through out William Shakespear's tragedy, "Hamlet". When King Claudius murders his brother at the beginning of the play, he "taps the first domino" in a series of murders that eventually revenge him to his own death. By tracing the domino effect that Claudius begins after killing Hamlet senior, the theme of revenge becomes prominent through the play.
The play's plot begins when King Claudius pours poison into his brother's ear. There are many reasons that cause Claudius to take his brother's life. Obviously, Claudius envies everything that Hamlet senior owns. As a character, Claudius presents himself as a greedy, self-absorbed person. He will go to extremes in order to obtain whatever he desires. He certainly reaps the benefits with his cheap sin by receiving the thrown to Denmark and the lovely queen's hand in marriage. His manipulative style fools many people while he poses as the rightful king; that is until Hamlet meets his father's ghost and learns of his stepfather's ungodly sin. The ghost plays a crucial part in the play by sharing King Claudius' dirty secret with Hamlet. At this point the initial theme of revenge is set into motion. Hamlet lays low until he is certain of Claudius' guilt, which is proven during the play "Mousetrap." Although Hamlet's idea concerning the play works brilliantly, he also makes a terrible mistake acknowledges Philip Burton, the author of The Sole Voice.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"The Domino Effect in William Shakespeare's Hamlet." 123HelpMe.com. 22 Nov 2017
    <http://www.123HelpMe.com/view.asp?id=169091>.
Title Length Color Rating  
Ophelia in William Shakespeare's Hamlet Essay - Ophelia in William Shakespeare's Hamlet “Follow her close, give her good watch, I pray you” (IV.5.73). Ostensibly, Shakespeare’s Hamlet is the riddling, enigmatic, inscrutable theatrical character par excellence. His motives, madness, conflicting morals and existential struggles are ambiguous to say the least. When analysing his character, Laertes and Fortinbras are often brought in as examples of less extreme characters dealing with similar but more tangible dilemmas. The idea that there may be someone who exceeds Hamlet in instability and incomprehensibility is unfathomable....   [tags: William shakespeare hamlet Essays] 2775 words
(7.9 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Significance of the Ghost to William Shakespeare's Hamlet Essay - Significance of the Ghost to William Shakespeare's Hamlet In Shakespeare's 'Hamlet', the ghost plays a key role in influencing the destinies of the other characters. The ghost is important to the play as it symbolizes both fate and catalyses the plot. It also brings the play into the revenge tragedy genre, which allows foreshadowing to occur and helps the audience, both Elizabethan and contemporary to better understand the play and appreciate it. The late King Hamlet is forced to roam the earth as he was murdered before he could confess to his sins, having to remain in purgatory till his sins are washed from him and he is able to enter into heaven....   [tags: William Shakespeare Hamlet] 1576 words
(4.5 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Death in William Shakespeare’s Hamlet Essay - “So shall you hear of carnal, bloody, and unnatural acts, of accidental judgments, casual slaughters, of deaths put on by cunning and forced cause,” (Hamlet, Act V, Scene 2, Lines 381-384). So says Horatio, best friend of Prince Hamlet in the final few lines of the play. He speaks these words after the deaths of Hamlet, Claudius, King of Denmark, Gertrude, Queen of Denmark, and Laertes, son of Polonius. Also dead are Hamlet, King of Denmark, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, former friends of Hamlet, Polonius, councilor to the King, and Ophelia, daughter of Polonius....   [tags: William Shakespeare Hamlet] 956 words
(2.7 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
The Thought Process of Shakespeare's Hamlet Essay - The Thought Process of Shakespeare's Hamlet "If Hamlet from himself be ta'en away, And when he's not himself does wrong Laertes, Then Hamlet does it not, Hamlet denies it. Who does it then. His madness. If't be so, Hamlet is of the faction that is wrong'd; His madness is poor Hamlet's enemy." (V.ii.230-235) Hamlet's self-description in his apology to Laertes, delivered in the appropriately distanced and divided third-person, explicitly fingers the greatest antagonist of the play‹consciousness....   [tags: William Shakespeare Hamlet Essays]
:: 4 Works Cited
4084 words
(11.7 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
William Shakespeare's Hamlet Essay - William Shakespeare's Hamlet Hamlet is a play about intrigue, suspicion, treachery, and revenge. Its characters, the vast majority of whom are experienced members of the court, move through this world with varying degrees of ease, but all are accustomed to the forces at work. Hamlet’s reluctance to act out the revenge he knows is his duty does help the modern-day audience relate to him, perhaps, but at the end of the day he is still a part of this foreign culture, driven by customs and expectations very different from those that govern the life of his audience....   [tags: Shakespeare Hamlet Essays] 1757 words
(5 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
The State of Mind of Hamlet in Shakespeare's Hamlet Essay - The State of Mind of Hamlet   The Elizabethan play The Tragedy of Hamlet Prince of Denmark is one of William Shakespeare's most popular works.  One of the possible reasons for this play's popularity is the way Shakespeare uses the character Hamlet to exemplify the complex workings of the human mind. The approach taken by Shakespeare in Hamlet has generated countless different interpretations of meaning, but it is through   Hamlet's struggle to confront his internal dilemma, deciding when to revenge his fathers death, that the reader becomes aware of one of the more common interpretations in Hamlet; the idea that Shakespeare is attempting to comment on the influence that one's state of min...   [tags: GCSE Coursework Shakespeare Hamlet]
:: 1 Works Cited
965 words
(2.8 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Free Essays - Asides in Hamlet - Free Essays - Asides in Hamlet Asides... what is an asides. Unlike a soliloquy that is spoken when the speaker is the only actor onstage, an aside is spoken by an actor when there are other actors present on the stage. The aside is also meant for the audience, but sometimes an aside is spoken to an actor(s) on the stage, but not to all of the actors on the stage. How do the asides in “Hamlet” by William Shakespeare effect the dynamics of the play....   [tags: Shakespeare Hamlet Essays] 1575 words
(4.5 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
The Theme of Madness Characterized by Ophelia and Hamlet in Hamlet by William Shakespeare - The Theme of Madness Characterized by Ophelia and Hamlet in Hamlet by William Shakespeare In Hamlet, Shakespeare incorporates a theme of madness with two characters: one truly mad, and one only acting mad to serve a motive. The madness of Hamlet is frequently disputed. This paper argues that the contrapuntal character in the play, namely Ophelia, acts as a balancing argument to Hamlet's madness or sanity. Ophelia's breakdown and Hamlet's "north-north-west" brand of insanity argue for Hamlet having a method to his seeming insanity....   [tags: Papers Hamlet Shakespeare Essays] 1154 words
(3.3 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
The Character Horatio in Shakespeare's Hamlet Essay - The Character Horatio in Shakespeare's Hamlet In the play Hamlet, by William Shakespeare, the confidant Horatio is created to serve a number of different purposes. Horatio is a flat character. He is a loyal, obedient, and trustworthy companion to Hamlet. His character does not undergo any significant transformation throughout the play, except that he serves as a witness of the death of Hamlet, Claudius, and Gertrude. Horatio's role in the play seems to be as a utilitarian character that Shakespeare created in order to heighten the suspense of the play....   [tags: Shakespeare Hamlet Essays]
:: 1 Works Cited
1244 words
(3.6 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Madness and Insanity in Shakespeare's Hamlet Essay - Madness and Insanity in Shakespeare's Hamlet        Shakespeare's Hamlet is a master of deception. Hamlet decides to make Claudius believe that he is insane, but the scheme backfires when everyone, except Claudius, falls for it. Ophelia is one of those who believes Hamlet lost his mind, and when he does not return her love, she is so brokenhearted that she commits suicide. Near the end of the tragedy, Hamlet plays the part so well, that he convinces himself he is insane. Clearly, Hamlet's plan to put on an antic disposition is a tragic error....   [tags: Essays on Shakespeare Hamlet]
:: 4 Works Cited
795 words
(2.3 pages)
Better Essays [preview]

Related Searches




Burton goes on to explain that "Hamlet has succeeded in his purpose, but in his impetuosity he has also revealed his knowledge to the king and has thus put him on his guard, in uncovering the kings secrets he has also uncovered his own (Burton 303)." In other words, by acting so smugly when he sees the king's reaction about the play, Claudius also becomes aware that Hamlet knows of his wrongdoing.
Hamlet, distraught and filled with hatred for Claudius, declares revenge on his father's death.
Haste me to know't, that I with wing as swift
As meditation or the thoughts of love,
May sweep to my revenge ( 1.5.29-31).
There is one problem, however, because his procrastination with the revenge on his uncle is so severe that he takes the lives of Polonius, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern before actually murdering Claudius. William Hazlitt, the author of Characters in Shakespear's Plays: Hamlet, interprets Hamlet as a character that "seems incapable of deliberate action, and is only hurried into extremities on the spur of the occasion, when he has no time to reflect…(Hazlitt 165)." An excellent example that relates with the thoughts of Hazlitt occurs in act three, scene four of the play. When talking to Gertrude in her chamber, Hamlet stabs Polonius through a hanging drapery thinking that the listener is really Claudius spying on the two's conversation. "How now, a rat? Dead for a ducat, dead (3.4.23-24)." After Polonius' murder, the plot begins to speed up, bringing the play to a dynamic set of events.
After Hamlet's treatment toward her, and her father's murder, the beautiful Ophelia commits suicide, thus another domino falls. The situation that Ophelia is forced into most definitely points to craziness because her lover is also the murderer of her father. As a result of Ophelia's death, Laertes irately seeks revenge on Hamlet. At poor Ophelia's funeral the two men get into an argument in which Hamlet states, " I loved Ophelia. Forty thousand brothers could not with all their quantity of love make up my sum . . . ( 5.1.241-243)." This claim infuriates Laertes; therefore he devises the perfect revenge with Claudius' assistance. To activate the plan Laertes challenges Hamlet to a duel. He then laces his sword with a deadly poison. In addition to the poison on the sword, Claudius poisons the wine as well.
Claudius and Laerte's plan acts as a catalyst in the ending scenes of the play. The theme of revenge steps up to a new level as the play nears the end. First, Claudius poisons the wine by dropping a pearl into the cup after he toasts Hamlet. He soon realizes that his actions are costing him more than he bargained for when his beautiful wife, Gertrude, drinks the poisoned wine.
No, no, the drink, the drink! Oh my dear Hamlet!
The drink, the drink! I am poisoned (5.2.288-289).
Laertes takes this advantage and stabs Hamlet's arm while he turns his attention to Gertrude's strange behavior nearby. While Hamlet watches his dying mother, he realizes that he will soon die as the laced tip of Laerte's sword has no cure. Hamlet then revenges Laertes by stabbing him with his own murder weapon. Claudius stands dumbfounded as Laertes confesses the king's involvement in the death of his mother along with the announcement that he will die in a short time as well.
It is here, Hamlet. Hamlet, thou art slain;
No med'cine in the world can do thee good.
In thee there is not half an hour's life.
The treacherous instrument in thy hand,
Un bated and envenomed. The foul practice
Hath turned itself on me. Lo, here I lie,
Never to rise again. Thy mother's poisoned.
I can no more. The king, the king's to blame (5.2.292-299).
Claudius realizes that his transgression has been uncovered for everyone to know. He cannot defend himself as Hamlet wounds him with the poisoned sword. Hamlet then pours the poisoned wine into Claudius' mouth before he too turns to Horatio and dies.
In conclusion, "Hamlet" is perhaps Shakespear's most brilliantly written play. Its complexity really adds emotion as the play's dramatic ending ends in Bing. Bang. Boom. The theme of revenge throughout the play is easy to trace by means of the domino effect. In other words, the long process that Shakespear takes to develop the play's unique theme is like the child, carefully setting up his or her dominos. On the other hand, the ending of "Hamlet" is quick and dramatic like when the dominos come crashing down after being tapped. Claudius' revenge eventually revenges himself. He not only loses Gertrude in his own ignorance and greed but also dies by means of his murderous weapon at the beginning of the play. Whether it be an eye for an eye or a tooth for a tooth, revenge definitely has a way of coming back to the one who initiates it.

Works Cited
Burton, Philip. "The Sole Voice." New York: "The Dial Press." 1970. 302-303.

Hazlitt, William. " Characters of Shakespear's Plays: Hamlet." Hamlet William Shakespear.
Ed. Cyrus Hoy. New York: W.W. Norton, 1992. 164-169.
Shakespear, William. Hamlet. Ed. Cyrus Hoy. New York: W.W. Norton, 1992.


Return to 123HelpMe.com