Analysis of Hamlet and Claudius

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The Achilles heel of Wilson’s argument is his repetitive use of the word causality and the hypocritical manner in which he approaches Hamlet and Claudius respectively. He implores his audience to disavow or “refuse to be diverted from a clear vision by questions of praise and blame, responsibility and causality” (Wilson Knight, G. 1957: 186) in terms of how the audience views Hamlet but re-introduces causality in terms of Claudius who “as he appears in the play is not a criminal. He is-strange as it may seem- a good and gentle king, enmeshed by the chain of causality linking him with his crime.(Wilson Knight, G. 1957: 188)” He seems to be trying to wash Claudius clean of his sins and the effects these have had on Hamlet’s state of mind, which might have been different if Claudius’ actions had been, by removing causality from our view of his actions and their consequences but tries to purge the audience of, or redirect sympathy to Claudius by referring to him as a “good and gentle king”(Wilson Knight, G. 1957: 188) who has gotten entangled in the web of cause and effect of one evil deed. This approach is unbalanced and this essay will aim to establish a full analysis of both Hamlet and Claudius’ behaviour and mental states by examining the play and the essay in terms of causality as a prime factor. Firstly, Knight tries to persuade us of the fact that the chain of causality might have been broken if Hamlet had left the past in the past and forgiven his uncle’s treason. This however is an unrealistic expectation of any character. Death and its consequences become an obsession of Hamlet’s as his father’s ghost reveals the truth of his death to Hamlet. This signifies the beginning of Hamlet’s mental deterioration and his inn... ... middle of paper ... ...reme provocation which does not betray either moral code. In conclusion Hamlet is portrayed as a different type of tragic hero, one that is not undermined only by his own fatal flaw but by the direct result of faith in a system that is, in itself, flawed and unjust that holds power over the universal man. Hamlet is idolised because it is commendable for any heart to try, even if they sometimes stumble, to remain honourable and just when confronted with all the wicked things that surround us. References: Wilson Knight, G. 1957. Embassy of Death: An Essay on Hamlet. In: The Wheel of Fire: Interpretations of Shakespearean Tragedy. Fifth ed. New York: Meridian books, pp. 184-191 Shakespeare, W. 1993. Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. In: The Illustrated Stratford Shakespeare. London: Octopus Publishing Group Ltd: Chancellor Press, pp. 799-831
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