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Hamlet Character Essay

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William Shakespeare is known for his dark, romantic theatrical productions, and an example of Shakespeare’s world renowned work is the play Hamlet. In this play there are a variety of characters that contribute to the play’s plot and tones. For example, Polonius, Osric, and the Gravedigger include comedic relief to certain tones in the plot whereas Claudius, Laertes, and Fortinbras provide a sense of dark, sinister deceit within the plot. The main character, Hamlet, contributes to the play in a distinct way because he is portrayed in two different ways. The first way he is portrayed he is seen as the heir to the throne who is full of sorrow for his father’s death and distaste for his mother’s quick remarriage. Yet, Hamlet takes it upon himself…show more content…
One of the main reasons Hamlet’s madness is undeniably real is because he shows signs of mental instability long before he develops his plan to avenge his father’s death by fabricating a new personality. In the opening acts of the play Shakespeare provides a soliloquy for Hamlet that reveals the true thoughts, emotions, and feelings he possesses. In Hamlet’s first soliloquy he proclaims “His canon ‘gainst (self-slaughter!) O God, God,//Seem to me all the uses of this world!/ Fie on ‘t, ah fie! ‘Tis an unweeded garden” ( I.ii.136-139). Shakespeare uses a metaphor within Hamlet’s soliloquy to compare how Hamlet’s world is dreadful and unfavorable similar to the defected weeds of the earth. This metaphor enhances the dark, pessimistic view Hamlet has on his life and his situation, and it reveals Hamlet’s raw depression because he only feels despair and misery. Hamlet views the world through a negative lens because he feels like he is alone in the world mourning his father’s death while everyone else is busy celebrating his mother’s remarriage to his uncle. This causes Hamlet to contemplate self-slaughter or suicide because his heartache is too strong for him to withstand alone, and his suicidal thoughts symbolize how mentally unstable he is even before he discovers the murder behind his father’s death. Another example of how Hamlet was mad long before it was part of his plan…show more content…
The main reason he wants to be seen as weak is so that those people in position of power like Claudius and Polonius would undermine him. Thus, Hamlet only plans to act crazy whenever Polonius and Claudius are around him. However, Hamlet shows his mad or crazy behavior even when they are not around. For example, when Hamlet confronted Ophelia he did not know that Polonius or Claudius were listening in on their conversation. Yet, he still continued to act mad towards Ophelia by telling her “ You should not have believed me, for virtue / cannot so (inoculate) our old stock but we shall / relish of it. I loved you not.” (III.i.127-129). These cold and harsh words state a completely different attitude than his previous behaviors and tones he used when addressing Ophelia. This break up along with his father’s death adds even more misery than Hamlet expected to take, and that caused him to take an offensive stance against Ophelia. Hamlet genuinely reacts mad and crazed towards Ophelia even though he knows no one else but him and Ophelia are in the room, but the reader is able to understand that Claudius and Polonius are eavesdropping. This is an example of Shakespeare’s use of dramatic irony, and it enriches this scene because it illustrates that Hamlet’s madness is real. Thus, Hamlet maintains disturbed and unhinged qualities towards people
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