Hamlet is a character that we love to read about and analyze. His character is so realistic, and he is so romantic and idealistic that it is hard not to like him. He is the typical young scholar facing the harsh reality of the real world. In this play, Hamlet has come to a time in his life where he has to see things as they really are. Hamlet is an initiation story. Mordecai Marcus states "some initiations take their protagonists across a threshold of maturity and understanding but leave them enmeshed in a struggle for certainty"(234). And this is what happens to Hamlet.
Although Hamlet is a little old to have this experience of coming to be a man, we have to realize that his circumstances are not typical. He has lived as the son of a king. He is a scholar who has spent his life studying. He has lived in a world that is not the typical world. And the extraordinary and horrible circumstances that lead him to his manhood break his will and his spirit and eventually cause him to lose his life. Hamlet has experienced a significant change of knowledge and this change does lead him into an adult world, although this is a world that Hamlet cannot live in. Hamlet, through the relationships with his mother, father, and Ophelia, does become a man. But Hamlet's disposition is so fragile, and he is so idealistic that this new world that he faces is not a world that he would ever be comfortable in, and it is not a world that he can live in.
In the beginning of the play, Hamlet's father comes to him as a ghost from the grave. He tells Hamlet of his uncle's betrayal of him and tells Hamlet that he must kill Claudius to set things right. Through this event, Hamlet...
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...became a man, he is still left with uncertainty that ultimately results in his death. Unfortunately, this uncertainty of Hamlet's is one that cannot be overcome. Hamlet is a story of realizing that the world is not what we thought it was, that everything is not good, and that there are bad people in the world. It is a story about searching for the meaning behind it all and about trying to figure out how to make a decision. It is a story about becoming a man and Hamlet is the kind of character that keeps us enthralled until the very end.
Berman, Allison. "We Only Find Ourselves." Hamlet reaction papers. Wynnewood: FCS, 2000.
Lugo, Michael. "Thus Conscience Does Make Cowards of Us All." Hamlet reaction papers. Wynnewood: FCS, 2000.
Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. 1600? Ed. Sylvan Barnet. New York: Signet Classic, 1998
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