Literature & Composition II PREP
31 October 2014
Literary Analysis of Hamlet
“He is justly served. / It is a poison tempered by himself.” (Hamlet, V, 2 , 359-360). In the play, Hamlet, by William Shakespeare, Hamlet is the son of the late King Hamlet. The old king appears before Hamlet and tells him he was murdered my Claudius, Hamlet’s uncle. Hamlet vows to kill Claudius in order to avenge his father’s death. Polonius is the father of Hamlet’s girlfriend Ophelia. Mistaking him for Claudius, Hamlet stabs Polonius to death. His son Laertes kills Hamlet, and Hamlet kills Laertes and Claudius. Hamlet is unable to overcome his antagonist because of his savage action. The use of tragic flaw, soliloquy, and dramatic irony make Hamlet a tragedy.
Young Prince Hamlet is a reflective intellectual and the heir to the throne of Denmark, but he is driven to his downfall because of his tragic flaw; acting violently on impulse. The ghost of Hamlet’s father tells him that Claudius killed him, and orders Hamlet to kill him. Hamlet declares, “ Remember thee? / Yea, from the table of my memory / I’ll wipe away all trivial fond records, / All saws of books, all forms, all pressures past / That youth and observation copied there, / And thy commandment all alone shall live,” (I, 5, 104-113). Hamlet promises that he will eternally commemorate and obey the ghost’s order to kill Claudius. He will forget everything else he knows and let the ghost command him. This leads Hamlet into committing violent acts without thinking because he doesn’t think rationally; his sole motivation is hatred. Hamlet’s mother Gertrude gives consent to Polonius to eavesdrop on a conversation between Hamlet and herself. Hamlet hears Polonius hiding be...
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...tch lightheartedly. The audience knows Laertes still passionately hates him for causing Polonius and Ophelia’s deaths, and he is currently plotting Hamlet’s murder. There are many instances in Hamlet that the audience knows something that Hamlet does not, creating dramatic irony.
While Horatio directs his comment, “He is justly served. / It is a poison tempered by himself,” (V, 2, 359-360) at Claudius, the phrase could be applied to Hamlet. He is a tragic hero, and his violent impulses lead to his downfall. He expresses his anger and motivation through soliloquies. Hamlet reacts with vehemence which often causes him to impetuous and brutal. The events leading up to his death heavily involve dramatic irony. In the tragedy Hamlet, Shakespeare uses these elements to convey that rash, violent actions result in one’s demise. The elements used in Hamlet make it a tragedy.
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