Hamlet Character Analysis

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One of the most famous quotes from William Shakespeare's works is "to be or not to be, that is the question." This quote was taken from Hamlet and was spoken by Hamlet. The quote can be interpreted in many ways, but Hamlet was speaking of his own philosophy. Hamlet makes frequent remarks regarding his philosophy of life, whether it be love, loyalty, family, etc. Further, Hamlet's philosophy can help explain the demise of the characters in the play. William Shakespeare wrote Hamlet around the year 1600. However, Hamlet was not to be performed life until the year 1602. William Shakespeare obtained his ideas for his plays from earlier literary works. Therefore, he could have created the story of Hamlet from several different resources, including using bits of history from the 12th Century. Shakespeare first authored Hamlet in rough form and as a story of a Danish Prince whose uncle murders his father, marries his mother and claims the throne. The Prince pretends to be shake off the acts of his uncle as a way to throw him off, thereby enabling the Prince to ultimately kill his uncle as a way to avenge his father’s death. However, Shakespeare eventually altered the main storyline in that he turns Hamlet into a philosophically-minded prince; one that would delay seeking revenge because he is uncertain as to whether or not his uncle actually killed his father. Further, Shakespeare keeps his audience guessing throughout the play. For example, he isn’t absolutely clear as to whether or not Gertrude, Hamlet’s mother, shares in the guilt; whether or not Ophelia and Hamlet remain in love; and even leaves Ophelia’s manner of death a mystery. Shakespeare wants to ensure that his audience realizes the answers to some of the questions ... ... middle of paper ... ..., yet seems sad. Hamlet indicates he feels sickness in his heart, but he has resigned himself to the idea of death and no longer fears the unknown of the afterlife. The play does not make it clear as to how or why Hamlet has this shift in emotions. Earlier in the play, Hamlet seemed obsessed with himself and his love for his family. However, as the play draws to a conclusion, Hamlet appears sympathetic towards others, yet still doesn’t seem to take responsibility for killing Polonius. In contrast though, Hamlet does appear to become in shock over the death of Ophelia. That is quite the contrast in emotions. Ultimately, Hamlet is killed by Laertes. This is ironic in that Hamlet’s very act of killing Polonius earlier is ultimately what led to his own death. Laertes killed Hamlet as a way of avenging Polonius’ death. Hamlet’s death is not shameful or heroic.

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