Essay on The Significance of the Players in Hamlet

Essay on The Significance of the Players in Hamlet

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The Significance of the Players in Hamlet

   Most characters in Hamlet present themselves as something other than themselves or how as we, the audience, or another character thinks they should appear.  Two of the main characters in this play, Hamlet and King Claudius, are constantly acting as something other than their true nature.    Ironically, the characters that invoke changes in Hamlet and King Claudius to reveal their real personalities are the players, merely actors themselves, not showing true emotion: (in this short analysis, I will attempt to display the truth revealed by the players) they agitate King Claudius and allow Hamlet to see their appearance as more accurate to the truth than the appearance of "real life characters," therefore triggering him to take action.  Despite their fraudulent feelings, the players play a key role in showing the audience, not to mention Hamlet and King Claudius themselves, their true emotions on a tragic situation.


            One of the most difficult feelings is being a teenager - as some believe Hamlet to be - and not yet understand how you are supposed to react to certain situations.  In act 2, scene 2, Hamlet sees one of the players perform a dramatic monologue to showcase his talents.  His performance is very dramatic and filled with emotion. At the end of the scene in Hamlet's soliloquy, he reveals he cannot believe that an actor can muster up more emotion about a story than he can about his real life.    "What would he do / Had he the motive and [ the cue ] for passion / That I have?  He would drown the stage with tears" { 2. 2. 540-42 }.  What if the player had on his mind what Hamlet does?  Would he kill Claudius?  Hamlet appears to conclude that indeed he wou...

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...s to do so.  If it was not for the players, we would not understand King Claudius (or would get to) if Hamlet was not influenced to test his character by reenacting the murder.  The theme of appearance versus reality in Hamlet could not be revealed with such depth without the help of the players, acting to invoke reality.  The situations they create are vital to the play and to the development of Hamlet and King Claudius.


Works Cited

Bradley, A.C.. Shakespearean Tragedy: Lectures on Hamlet, Othello, King Lear and Macbeth. New York: Penguin Books, 1991.

Danson, Lawrence. "Tragic Alphabet." Modern Critical Interpretations: Hamlet. Ed. Harold Bloom. New York: Chelsea House, 1986. Rpt. from Tragic Alphabet: Shakespeare's Drama of Language. N. p.: Yale University Press, 1974.

Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. Ed. T. J. B. Spencer. New York: Penguin, 1996.

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