Hamlet’s Absurd Awareness

2240 Words9 Pages
For being considered one of the greatest English plays ever written, very little action actually occurs in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The play is, instead, more focused on the progressing psychological state of its protagonist, after whom the play is name, and his consequent inaction. It is because of this masterpiece of a character that this play is so widely discussed and debated. Hamlet’s generality, his vagueness, his supposed madness, his passion, his hesitation, and his contradictions have puzzled readers, scholars, and actors for centuries. In this paper I will attempt to dissect this beautiful enigma of a character to show that Hamlet is much more self-aware than many people give him credit for and that he recognizes that he is an actor in the theatre of life. He understands and accepts the role he is given, he studies it carefully and thoughtfully, he rehearses and even converses with fellow actors, and he gives one final performance. Shakespeare’s Absurdist Play If you take the time to think about Hamlet overall, very little actually happens on stage other than the death of Polonius and the dual in the final scene. In fact, most of the action of the play takes place offstage and the audience is made aware of it through the discourse between characters after the fact. Brian Pearce makes a very interesting connection between Hamlet and the absurdist world of Samuel Beckett’s play Waiting for Godot in that both plays are characterized by a distinct lack of real action but focus more on the words. Hamlet is, in fact, Shakespeare’s most absurd play in the way it is written with a focus on the inner workings of its main protagonist as well as several of the other characters to the point where the speech takes priority over the... ... middle of paper ... ...the rest of the play. The play ends with Hamlet’s death and possibly the clearest thought we’ve seen from him since the beginning of the play. Hamlet instructs Horatio to tell his story and to crown the invading Fortinbras king of Denmark. Hamlet is ready to take his final bow. Works Cited Breuer, Horst. "Shakespeare's HAMLET, III.i.56--88." Explicator 40.3 (1982): 14. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 15 Mar. 2010. Levy, Eric. "THE PROBLEMATIC RELATION BETWEEN REASON AND EMOTIONS IN HAMLET." Renascence 53.2 (2001): 83. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 15 Mar. 2010. Pearce, Brian. "Hamlet, the Actor." Shakespeare in Southern Africa 19.(2007): 63-69. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 15 Mar. 2010. Shakespeare, William. The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. Ed. Barbara A. Mowat and Paul Werstine. New York: Washington Square, 2002. Print.
Open Document