Acting In Hamlet Analysis

1068 Words5 Pages
Exposing Facades Through Acting in Hamlet To act is to create a different identity, to create a façade. Occasionally that façade reflects the truth. In William Shakespeare’s Hamlet the truth is revealed through the act of lying. This concept is shown within the play through various characters, especially in Act III scene II where Hamlet puts on a play of a man murdering a king and seducing a queen. Hamlet creates this “dumb show” to reveal the truth that Claudius had killed his father by examining Claudius’ reaction at the performance. Claudius is the first person to act as he acts not guilty in the murder of King Hamlet. After Hamlet encounters the ghost for the first time, he himself begins to feign madness. This initial acting is the catalyst to multiple character truths being revealed. Hamlet utilizes his strength as an intellectual to use acting to expose the true states of the other characters. Following Hamlet’s initial encounter with the ghost of his father, Hamlet becomes focused on avenging his father. Hamlet makes the justice for his father a priority and “wipe away all trivial, fond records/All saw of books, all forms, all pressures past, that youth and observation copied there,/And thy commandment all alone shall live/Within the book and volume of my brain” (1.5.106-110). Hamlet’s desire for justice becomes an obsession, and as Rhodri Lewis discusses in Hamlet, Metaphor, and Memory, Hamlet is not honoring his father’s memory but instead is trying to rid himself of it. Lewis suggests that in Hamlet’s second soliloquy “Something has clearly gone awry with what Hamlet expected to feel when presented with the circumstances surrounding his father's death; although the young prince's meditations move swiftly enough, the... ... middle of paper ... ... at the end of the play. In Bruce Danner’s Speaking Daggers Danner differentiates between action and acting. By acting Hamlet’s flaw of procrastination was illustrated as he was not acting to kill Claudius immediately. Instead he took time to plan it out and feigned madness to instill fear in Claudius. “In his portrait of prince hamlet, Shakespeare offers a courtier struggling with the divide between action and acting, a figure whose call-to-violent force is countered to be an obsession with the images of theater, text, and icon. An ardent admirer of theater, Hamlet nevertheless scorns theatrical improvisation because it sacrifices realism for cheap entertainment”(Danner). Hamlet’s intellectual aspects, as well as his procrastination, lead to him using his strengths for acting, to expose the truth. Scholars such as Nardo, Warley, Lewis, Spencer
Open Document