The Hesitation/ Indecision within Hamlet Hamlet, the hero in Shakespeare’s dramatic tragedy of the same name, goes to great lengths to establish the absolute guilt of King Claudius – and then appears to blow it all. He hesitates at the prayer scene when the king could easily be dispatched. Let’s discuss this problem of hesitation or indecision on the part of the protagonist. In “Acts III and IV: Problems of Text and Staging” Ruth Nevo explains how the protagonist is “confounded” in both the prayer scene and the closet scene: In the prayer scene and the closet scene his [Hamlet’s] devices are overthrown. His mastery is confounded by the inherent liability of human reason to jump to conclusions, to fail to distinguish seeming from being.
Ambiguity within Hamlet The Shakespearean tragic drama Hamlet, though recognized as an unexcelled classic of tragedy by many literary critics, is nevertheless ambiguous in various words and actions. This problematic dimension of the drama will be considered in this essay. Howard Felperin, in his essay “O’erdoing Termagant,” expounds on the ambiguity within Hamlet’s directives to the plays (“O, it offends me to the soul . . .”): Yet whether or not Hamlet’s account of the purpose of playing is also Shakespeare'’, the fact that it occupies a central place within the most theatrically self-conscious and complex of his plays makes it more problematic than is usually supposed, a text in certain respects ambiguous in its statement and inconsistent with the play that forms its context.
The Thought Process of Shakespeare's Hamlet "If Hamlet from himself be ta'en away, And when he's not himself does wrong Laertes, Then Hamlet does it not, Hamlet denies it. Who does it then? His madness. If't be so, Hamlet is of the faction that is wrong'd; His madness is poor Hamlet's enemy." (V.ii.230-235) Hamlet's self-description in his apology to Laertes, delivered in the appropriately distanced and divided third-person, explicitly fingers the greatest antagonist of the play‹consciousness.
Hamlet - A Question of Madness Hamlet's public persona is a facade he has created to carry out his ulterior motives. The outside world's perception of him as being mad is of his own design. Hamlet is deciding what he wants others to think about him. Polonius, a close confidant of the King, is the leading person responsible for the public's knowledge of Hamlet's madness. The idea that Hamlet is mad centers around the fact that he talks to the ghost of his dead father.
Hamlet – the Ambiguity The extent of the ambiguity within William Shakespeare’s drama Hamlet deserves consideration. Literary critics disagree in their assessments of how prevalent the ambiguity is in the work. Lawrence Danson in the essay “Tragic Alphabet” discusses the equivocation and ambiguity within the play: Equivocation – the conflict between the reality Hamlet perceives and the language used to describe that reality – has made all expression a matter of mere seeming, and Hamlet knows not seems. His rejection of the Claudian language extends to a rejection of all the symbolic systems that can denote a man. Thus, even his own punning (both verbal and silent) is inadequate: Hamlet chooses “nothing” since he cannot have “all”: ‘Tis not alone my inky cloak, good mother, Nor customary suits of silent black, Nor windy suspiration of forc’d breath, No, nor the fruitful river in the eye, Nor the dejected haviour in the visage, Together with all forms, moods, shapes of grief, That can denote me truly.
Such a man is exhibited as suffering a change in fortune from happiness to misery because of a mistaken act, to which he is led by his hamartia ("error of judgment") or his tragic flaw." It is important that this be clear, because I plan to demonstrate how Shakespeare makes Hamlet an atypical tragedy to begin with, and how controversial an issue Hamlet's tragic flaw is. Shakespeare's Hamlet is an atypical play to begin with, because the play's format doesn't conform to traditional Aristotelian concepts of the 3 unities. Shakespeare does not conform to unity of time, place, or action. Hamlet contains a "play within a play," sub-plots, and its action is not set in one day, but several.
Thus Hamlet equates "soul" with one's actions, so by his own comparison his soul is weak, as he does not take action against the king. The second sentence is furthermore a rhetorical question, beginning with, "Is it notŠ" So clearly Hamlet's lack of emotion is "monstrous" in his own mind at the very start of the monologue. The equation of "Hecuba" to "nothing" is then contrasted by Hamlet's "cue" being the murder of his father. Hamlet then states that the actor would "drown the stage with tears" if he were in Hamlet's position. The visual hyperbole which is compounded by the repetition of rhythm ("Make mad the guilty," "appal the free") and the deep assonance ("cleave," "ear," "speech," "free,") serves to further prove Hamlet's belief that he is inadequate, weak, since both the sounds and the exaggeration build to and are immediately compared with Hamlet himself.
Action and Accountability in Macbeth They say that life is what you make of it. Though there is much in the fabric of Shakespeare’s tragedies that complicates the relationship between action and accountability with regard to the tragic heroes, it cannot be assumed, simply because they find themselves in a difficult position, that they are engulfed and rendered powerless by the events that unfold in their midst. Even Iago, Shakespeare’s evil incarnate, remarks, “ ‘Tis in ourselves that we are thus or thus…we have reason to cool our raging motions, our carnal stings, our unbitted lusts” (1.3:316-326). Circumstance, then, simply does not negate guilt or responsibility. Given reason, we are capable both of the good and the evil behavior that seals our fate.
Chelsea House New Haven CT 1987. (page 23-37) Wheale, N. (2000) Nineteenth- and Early-Twentieth Century Critical Evaluations of Othello. Shakespeare Text & Performance