The Importance of Fear in Hamlet Essay

The Importance of Fear in Hamlet Essay

Length: 1064 words (3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

The Importance of Fear in Hamlet

    Fear plays an important role in Shakespeare's tragic play, Hamlet. Within the play, the main character, Hamlet, attempts to overcome his fear and fulfill his father's revenge. Hamlet's apprehension toward death prevents him from carrying out the murder of Claudius. Although confrontation with death is avoided for as long as possible, Hamlet comes to recognize his weakness, and faces this anxiety.


Displaying an 'antic disposition', Hamlet first attempts to side step his trepidation by feigning madness. After meeting with his fathers proposed ghost, Hamlet attempts to distance himself from the thought or evidence of death. Hamlet notifies his friends, Marcellus and Horatio, of his plan to distract the kingdom from his real intentions. Although Hamlet proposes this as a way to fool those in Denmark, in the last lines of his meeting with Horatio and Marcellus, he curses that this revenge be placed upon him. This is the first indication of Hamlets reluctance to perform murder. Hamlet then returns to Claudius and Gertrude, at the castle, and acts out his madness for them and for the visitor, Polonius.  Upon speaking to Polonius, Polonius picks up upon Hamlets 'madness', yet decides that this unnatural nature is because if Ophelia's behavior toward Hamlet. Indication of Hamlets fear is presented when Polonius asks leave of the prince. Hamlet then states that Polonius can take anything from him, anything but his life. Hamlet repeats thrice this idea of taking anything 'except [his] life.' Not only does this indicate how compulsive Hamlets fake insanity is becoming, but how afraid he is of dying. During the 'To be or not to be' soliloquy, Hamlet contemplates his view of death. As he go...

... middle of paper ...

...nd bear the 'burden' of his fathers retribution.   


Sources Cited and Consulted:

Bloom, Harold. "Introduction." Modern Critical Interpretations: Hamlet. Ed. Harold Bloom. New York City: Chelsea House Publishers, 1986. 1-10.

Danson, Lawrence. "Tragic Alphabet." Modern Critical Interpretations: Hamlet. Ed. Harold Bloom. New York City: Chelsea House Publishers, 1986. 65-86

Findlay, Alison. "Hamlet: A Document in Madness." New Essays on Hamlet. Ed. Mark Thornton Burnett and John Manning. New York: AMS Press, 1994. 189-205.

Goldman, Michael. "Hamlet and Our Problems." Critical Essays on Shakespeare's Hamlet. Ed. David Scott Kaston. New York City: Prentice Hall International. 1995. 43-55

Rose, Mark. "Reforming the Role." Modern Critical Interpretations: Hamlet. Ed. Harold Bloom. New York City: Chelsea House Publishers, 1986. 117-128


Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Discord and Fear in in Hamlet Essay

- It is clear that Hamlet is not a perfect character. His struggle to avenge his fathers death with a lack of physical confidence and uncertainty creates more problems than it does resolution. As Hamlet becomes more uncertain and unable to avenge his father’s death, his emotional saturation and lack of physical confidence propels himself and other characters further into discord and tragedy. However, by the time Hamlet undergoes mental transformation and equalizes the imbalance between physical confidence and emotional saturation, the characters have already began their final fall into a resolution of death....   [tags: Hamlet, Shakespeare]

Strong Essays
996 words (2.8 pages)

Analysis Of Shakespeare 's ' Hamlet ' Essay

- The explicit behaviors and reactions of characters within a dramatic tragedy serve not only to augment the play’s action and plot, but also to underscore the distinct qualities of each persona. William Shakespeare, in particular, establishes the discrepancies in personality among the characters of Hamlet through clear conditions that markedly portray the motives and ambitions of even minor characters. By combining complex attitudes and manners, Shakespeare develops immensely multifaceted individuals who present variety as well as conflict for the piece as a whole....   [tags: Gertrude, Hamlet, Characters in Hamlet]

Strong Essays
1221 words (3.5 pages)

Essay about The Importance of Claudius' Guilt in Shakespeare's Hamlet

- The Importance of Claudius' Guilt in Hamlet     In the first three acts of the play Hamlet, King Claudius go through a subtle, but defined change in character.  Claudius role in the play begins as the newly corrinated king of Denmark.  The former king, King Hamlet, was poisoned by his brother, Claudius, while he was asleep.  Claudius, however, made it known to everyone that the king died of a snakebite in the garden, and thus no one knew of the murder that had just taken place making his murder the perfect crime.  The only problem that Claudius must deal with now is his conscience....   [tags: GCSE Coursework Shakespeare Hamlet]

Strong Essays
865 words (2.5 pages)

Essay about Scenes in Shakespeare's Hamlet

- When one reflects on the questions they are asked in life, one of the most thought provoking questions is “what is your favorite movie?” Though a trivial question, one constantly finds oneself baffled trying to think of a movie in which they can truly say is their favorite. Once one comes up with an answer to this question, the preceding question is “why?” What is it that truly makes a movie great. One can argue the characters, or the story line that makes the movie great. But ultimately it is the memorable scenes in which make the movie ones favorite....   [tags: Hamlet, Shakespeare]

Strong Essays
654 words (1.9 pages)

Essay about William Shakespeare 's Hamlet - Thought Of Revenge

- Thought of Revenge Shakespeare 's Hamlet Theme is the underpinning element of all literature. It is inherent in the characters ' struggles and therefore to the story itself. In William Shakespeare 's play Hamlet, the theme of revenge develops plot and character. Revenge consumes Hamlet 's every move throughout the entire play. This all starts from the moment his father 's ghost tells him that his horrific death was not accidental. He was murdererd; poisoned by the new King, Claudius, also known as Hamlet 's uncle....   [tags: Hamlet, Characters in Hamlet, Gertrude]

Strong Essays
1586 words (4.5 pages)

Social Class And Power Of William Shakespeare 's Hamlet Essay

- Social Class and Power Used to Control and to Disrupt William Shakespeare was one of the first to introduce many to the distinct divide in social class and those who where in power. Some of Shakespeare 's most famous literatures & playwrights tell the stories and air the dirty laundry of people associated high in power and social class. In William Shakespeare’s Hamlet Shakespeare gives many examples of social class and power and how they both can destroy and disrupt when greed and unrighteousness gets in the way....   [tags: Hamlet, Characters in Hamlet, Gertrude]

Strong Essays
1353 words (3.9 pages)

The Tragedy Of William Shakespeare 's Hamlet Essay

- In every society throughout history, there has been a common fear of the disastrous collapse of the world around them, resulting. This “fear” has resulted in numerous stories and religious beliefs surrounding the apocalyptic fall of man’s corrupted society, including the Book of Revelation, the final book of the Christian Bible. William Shakespeare’s tragedies, especially the tragedies written in the early 1600s, all display this collapse of authority in one way or another. Shakespeare’s Hamlet is the classic example of this prevalent break down of society....   [tags: Hamlet, William Shakespeare, Characters in Hamlet]

Strong Essays
1549 words (4.4 pages)

Essay on The Great Chain of Being in Hamlet

- The main concept of the Great Chain of Being is that every existing thing in the universe has its “place” in an outlined hierarchical order. Where it is placed depends on the amount of spirit and importance in society it has. The chain commences at God and progresses downward to angelic beings, kings, princes, nobles, regular humans, animals, plants, and many other objects of nature. According to this theory, all existing things have their specific function in the universe, and causing any kind of disorder on the higher links of this chain courts disaster....   [tags: Chaos, Anarchy in Hamlet]

Strong Essays
1096 words (3.1 pages)

Essay about Ophelia and Hamlet in The Tragedy of Hamlet

- Ophelia and Hamlet In 1600, William Shakespeare composed what is considered the greatest tragedy of all time, Hamlet, the tragedy of the Prince of Denmark. His masterpiece forever redefined what tragedy should be. Critics have analyzed it word for word for nearly four hundred years, with each generation appreciating Hamlet in its own way. While Hamlet conforms, without a doubt, to Aristotle's definition of a tragedy, one question still lingers. Did Shakespeare intend for the reader or viewer of Hamlet to feel greater sympathy for Hamlet, or for Ophelia, Hamlet's lover....   [tags: GCSE Coursework Shakespeare Hamlet]

Strong Essays
1557 words (4.4 pages)

Hamlet's Behavior in Hamlet by William Shakespeare Essay

- Hamlet's Behavior in Hamlet by William Shakespeare Hamlet's behavior affects that of the other characters in the play in that his action drastically alters, not only their perception of Hamlet and his intentions, but also their actions and words in dealing with Hamlet. It is difficult to classify Hamlet as either sane or insane; however, it is certain that his mad behavior, whether feigned or authentic, serves only to heighten the confusion and eventual suspicion of the court, particularly Ophelia, Rosencrantz and Guilderstern, and Polonius and Claudius duo....   [tags: Hamlet William Shakespeare Plays Essays]

Strong Essays
1180 words (3.4 pages)