The Downfall of Hamlet

Powerful Essays
In many of William Shakespeare’s plays, the main character is driven to make decisions based ironic situations they are faced with. Oftentimes, these decisions ultimately lead to their downfall. In William Shakespeares, Hamlet, the author uses both situational and dramatic irony to facilitate the downfall of his characters. In this tragedy,Shakespeare exemplifies this irony through Hamlet’s sexual tension for his mother, the irony surrounding the role of Laertes in relation to Hamlet as well as the situational irony surrounding the role of Claudius.

As the play progresses, it is obvious through Hamlet’s jealousy for Gertrudes love of Claudius creates situational irony which drives the plot. He is in love with Gertrude because she is his mother, and in his eyes she can do no wrong. However, this changes when he is forced to compete with Claudius for her affection because he is afraid of his eventual abandonment. He is jealous of their love. Although his actions are innocent in their intent, it is clear that his emotions are manifested in a sexual manner for Gertrude. This sexual tension is brought to fruition through the Hamlet’s reaction to his mother’s marriage. It is argued that, he cannot stand to see Gertrude with another man because in his eyes she is undeserving of anyones love but his own. He is disgusted by this, and it is argued that when,“Hamlet knew of the marriage, his whole soul was filled with nausea at the thought of the speedy hasting to ‘incestuous sheets’” (Dolpher 343). His nausea is a physical manifestation of the jealousy for Gertrude’s relationship with Claudius. Hamlet has a genuine and innocent love for his mother while Claudius desires Gertrude for her physical qualities. This is unacceptable to Hamlet ...

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... obvious that the downfall is conveyed through the authors use of irony as well as situations which foreshadow the future of the play.

Works Cited

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Lee Lerner and Brenda Wilmoth Lerner.Delaware: Jstor, 2005. 197-199. Web. 15 Jan. 2014.

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