Shakespeare’s play Hamlet is considered one of his four great tragedies. This play not only uses unearthly characters to instill fear, but it also uses foil characters to show the possible outcomes for the protagonist, Hamlet, himself. The crucial contrast Shakespeare creates between “what is” and “what seems to be” causes Hamlet, along with many other characters, to act in order to create the outcome they 9-want. However, no matter their attempts the play still ends with an inescapable tragedy for all of the characters. After his father’s ghost visits Hamlet, he learns he must avenge his father’s death. The difficulty in this task not only comes from the ironic reality that the murderer is his uncle, but also the internal struggle because …show more content…
Hamlet is seeking revenge for the death of his father and believes he has found the perfect time to stab Claudius. However as Hamlet is spying on his stepfather and about to pull out his sword, he sees him “praying”. Hamlet then decides that if he kills Claudius in this moment the new king may be forgiven for his horrible actions and go to heaven. However, this is only “what seems” to be going on, and rather than asking for forgiveness Claudius is giving a fake prayer. Claudius even says, “A brother’s murder. Pray can I not,/ Though inclination be as sharp as will,/ My stronger guilt defeats my strong intent” (3.3.38). This simple contrast between reality and appearance keep Hamlet from successfully carrying out his mission. However, William Empson wonders if there is another reason for Hamlets delay of action or is he simply acting. Empson says, “wonder why he delays, just as he himself wonders. No other device could raise so sharply the question of ‘what is theatrical behavior?’” Although Hamlet does not know the truth, as an audience we pity him because we can see both sides of this event. We are able to hear this distinct contrast between reality, or in this case a prayer, and fantasy when Claudius says, “O, what form of prayer/ Can serve my turn?” (3.3.51) Surprisingly, Claudius does not want forgiveness because he …show more content…
Hamlet puts on an antic disposition in the beginning act in order to prove Claudius’ guilt and avenge his father’s death, but as an audience we finally see how this “madness” affects other characters in later scenes. Most importantly one can see how this contrast not only affects, but also ends Ophelia’s life. Ophelia’s heart, that she believed was filled with love, is soon ripped into pieces when Hamlet acts mad and says, “I loved you not” (3.1.118). Later in the play, Ophelia finds out that not only has her father been murdered, but he was also killed by her own love, Hamlet. After this scene, Ophelia is lost and confused in emotions causing her to take action in the way she believes will benefit her best. This action includes taking her own life because she can no longer bear the pain of all the tragedies. As the queen describes this death she says, “Till that her garments, heavy with their drink,/ Pull’d the poor wretch from her melodious lay/ To muddy death” (2.7.181). These ironic moments again prove that the contrast in actuality and make-believe are crucial to the tragic ending of the play. In these moments, we feel pity and sorrow for Ophelia because we wonder if she had known the truth, would this have happened? Her desire to satisfy her own needs in this moment allow this tragedy to occur though; therefore, at the same time we wonder if the truth would have made a
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At first, Hamlet is successful, and society is convinced Ophelia is the reason for his madness, thus granting Hamlet more time to plot Claudius’s murder. This is achieved in Hamlet’s “to be or not to be speech” [3,1,57] when Claudius and Polonius spy on the conversation between Hamlet and Ophelia. During the Act, Ophelia displays traits of dishonesty and Hamlet uses this to his benefit and appears to go insane to convince Ophelia, Claudius and Polonius that Ophelia is responsible for his madness. Hamlet insists his madness is an “antic disposition” [1,5,179] and that “Thou this be madness, yet there is method in it”. [2,2,204] In the play, Hamlet uses his “antic disposition” [1,5,179] to refuse Ophelia’s affections, which is powerfully portrayed when he exclaims to her “get thee to a nunnery.” [3,1,138] By denying Ophelia’s love, Hamlet’s power in the relationship is effectively demonstrated, and it is shown he is in control of their relationship. In addition, this is reflected in Ophelia’s self-destruction, as she has no purpose to live a life without Hamlet or a man. Overall, Hamlet is successful in using his power over Ophelia for the sake of his
Living in an environment of deception and hostility, the reader can easily identify with Hamlet's anger. Most all compassionate audiences will be sympathetic to his plight. However, the origins of Hamlet's vehement actions toward his once beloved Ophelia can be debated from several different points of view. Whatever his reasoning may be, it is probably correct to assume that he regrets deeply every harsh world spoken toward Ophelia. He only realizes again what a beautiful and kind person she was- after her death.
“Hamlet is one of the world’s most famous tragedies. It describes the destruction of a royal family that results from Prince Hamlet’s revenge. By a dramatic and detailed presentation, Shakespeare reveals two main ideas of this play-one is “tragic hero”, and another is “civil strife”. In reality, the play “Hamlet” has been made to movies and even cartoons which convey these concepts in different ways.
A father is often seen as one of the most influential people in a person’s life. When that father returns as a ghost and commands you to seek vengeance for his death, it is understandable that this may cause some psychological issues. This complex relationship between Hamlet and his ghost father that drives a moral student to seek fatal vengeance on Claudius, the perceived source of his family’s suffering.
During the first act, Prince Hamlet meets the ghost of his father, King Hamlet. His father's ghost tells Hamlet that Claudius poured poison in his ear while he slept. The spirit also explains that he wishes for Hamlet to avenge his death, but not to punish Queen Gertrude for marrying Claudius. He tells Hamlet that she will have to answer to her conscience, and eventually God for her incestuous actions (absoluteshakespeare.com 1 of 4). It was believed during these times that when a person died, especially in such a tragic fashion, that their spirit lingered about while suffering in Purgatory. This could cause a normally virtuous person's spirit to become filled with malevolence and begin to meddle in living men's affairs (en.wikipedia.org 4 of 9). This belief caused Prince Hamlet to want to investigate his father's spirit's claims to ensure that they were indeed true. In order to do this, Prince Hamlet feigns madness in order to remain hidden from members of the court's suspicions while he plots his revenge on King Claudius (www.sparknotes.com 1 of 3). He also takes advantage of a group of actors who come to Elsinore Castle to perform by rewriting a play to recreate the scene of his father's murder. He does this with the hope of flushing a confession out of Claudius' guilty conscience. When Claudius sees the play, he stands up and leaves the room (en.wikipedia.org 5 of 9). After many more events, Claudius' guilt becomes more obvious. Claudius then begins to change his focus towards killing Hamlet, as he is beginning to become aware of the Prince's plans to kill him. Claudius then arranges a fencing match between Hamlet and Polonius' son Laertes and has Laertes poison the blade of one of his swords to be used in the match (Hamlet).
In the play Hamlet the main character named Hamlet is in pursuit of a personal vendetta of getting revenge on the person who killed his father. The reader can notice this when Hamlet’s father appears to him as a ghost later in the play. This personal vendetta is fueled by his hatred for King Claudius who is the murderer of Hamlet’s father. While trying to satisfy this thirst for revenge Hamlet comes to the conclusion that he needs to push Ophelia, who is the women he claims to love. Others might argue that Hamlet never really loved Ophelia; however this is not the case because of clear evidence in the play suggests that he is being thoughtful by thinking to protect her. Attempting to keep Ophelia safe Hamlet’s plan causes an unexpected series of events to be set in motion. Hamlet’s love for Ophelia was in fact a sincere love; however, due to a series of events that took place in Hamlets life causes distance between him and Ophelia. These events eventually aid in the death of Ophelia.
In a world full of hopelessness and horror, Ophelia represents a diming beacon of hope in Hamlet’s life. It is clear from the beginning that Ophelia's love for Hamlet is real and reciprocated in strength. Even after Laertes and Polonius try and convince her that even if Hamlet’s feelings for her were real, things between them could never work out, Ophelia insists that he “hath given countenance to his speech, [...] with almost all the holy vows of heaven” (11). She is convinced that Hamlet’s love for her is so real his feelings couldn’t be faked. Reluctantly Ophelia agrees to call things off with Hamlet at her father’s request even if it means pretending she doesn’t love him. From the beginning Hamlet conveys his dismal attitude towards the world through his devaluation of life; but Ophelia’s presence represents a light in Hamlet’s never ending darkness.
All lives end in tragedy. Ophelia has little self respect, lost sight in herself when control was taken away from her. Hamlet on the other hand, was able to control hi emotions and carry out his plan of being crazy while plotting revenge at the same time. These differences in the actions of character reflect the levels of self-respect and self-reliance. At certain times throughout the play Hamlet is undecided, “To be or not to be?” It reflects Hamlet’s inner struggle between life and death. Having dealt with many injustices, Hamlets strong self-reliance and self-confidence allowed him to die fighting to return Denmark into what it once
The first source that I have found on Shakespeare's play Hamlet is a website called Spark Notes. This non credible source off of the free web provides a summary of information on Shakespeare's play Hamlet. This website does not provide detailed information, it gives a very basic overview of the play. If you were to read the information on Spark Notes with out reading Hamlet, you wouldn't be able to receive most of the details that are in the play. The second source that I have found is an article from the library database's literature research center called, 'Hamlets Ordeals.'
Before the roles of Hamlet and Ophelia can be truly understood, one must first look at Shakespeare’s possible intentions when writing the play. Despite the fact that scholars can never know what Shakespeare “meant or intended” by any of his characters or works, context clues lead to various possible opinions. A number of Shakespeare’s plays “seem to have transcended even the category of brilliance, becoming so influential as to profoundly affect the course of Western Literature and culture ever after” (Rosenburg 101). One of the primary goals for tragic plays in Elizabethan times was to arouse pity from the audience (Wagner 94). Shakespeare’s work accomplishes this goal by following the tragic downfall of such an influential figure, while also following the stories of many other characters in the play such as Ophelia, Polonius, Claudius, Laertes, and
Hamlet is still a young man of great intellectual abilities, but whose mind and heart are both clouded by anger and sorrow, resulting in actions that might be viewed as madness. Hamlet’s affliction began even before the contact with his father’s ghost, and was worsened when the truth about Claudius was revealed to him by the apparition of his late father. Hamlet’s actions are not results of insanity but outcomes of the pain he suffers because of the loss and betrayal of loved ones.
Regardless of a person’s age or literary preference it is undeniable that William Shakespeare had a flair for composing dramatic tragedies. Tragedy is a powerful underlining theme which portrays the qualities of the human capacity. In one of Shakespeare’s most brilliant plays, Hamlet, tragedy is portrayed through the protagonist’s constant contemplation of suicide. Shakespeare often alludes to powerful images of death by using pathos and bereavement in life to be inconsequential. In the play, Hamlet, William Shakespeare produces a tragedy which illustrates the suggestion of suicide and the imagery of death as solutions to problems through Ophelia’s demise, the minor characters reflection upon death, and most importantly the protagonist Hamlet.
“To be or not to be” (3.1.56) the famous lines known far and wide from William Shakespeare's Hamlet. The play, Hamlet, is about how King Hamlet of Denmark has died and his son Prince Hamlet returns for his funeral only to hear that the guards have seen the ghost of his father. This mysterious appearance intrigues the young Hamlet and so he goes to see the ghost and when he does, the ghost tells him that he is the spirit of his late father and that he did not die naturally. Continuing on the ghost tells Hamlet that he was actually murdered by his brother and Hamlet’s Uncle Claudius. Vowing to avenge his father’s death Hamlet sets out upon elaborate schemes to confirm that Claudius did indeed kill his father. As the play progresses Hamlet slowly seems to become insane, during one of his rampages while he was with his mother, he stabbed Polonius through a curtain killing him. Polonius’ death set Laertes, Polonius’ son, on revenge on the murderer and in doing so Claudius and Laertes joined in arms to make Hamlet disappear from the world. To ensure Hamlet would die Laertes poisoned his fencing sword and Claudius poisoned a chalice. In the end they all died from poisoning from the sword or from the chalice. Shakespeare provided dimension upon dimension for Hamlet, he created a character as real as could be. His character was an educated witty, indecisive, suicidal, and insane gentleman.