Free Essays on Good and Evil in Hamlet

Free Essays on Good and Evil in Hamlet

Length: 1106 words (3.2 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
 Good versus evil is a common theme in literature.    Often, the reader learns about the characteristics of the good and the evil through less important characters. These characters are sometimes referred to as "Foils”. In William Shakespeare's Hamlet foils are used primarily to reveal Hamlet and Claudius as good vs. evil. These two foils help us to piece the puzzle together. [Which two are "these two"?]


     Foil's [No ' H-50] are minor character's [No '] in a story who by their similarities and differences with more important characters, helps [SV - 1] the audience to better understand the main character in that story. Also another purpose of a foil is to provide the more meaningful character with simply someone to talk to. In "Hamlet" [Titles] there are many foils used but I am going to only speak of those who lend to the fact that Hamlet and Claudius represent good and evil. [3 sic] One of Hamlet's foil's is [No '] The Ghost of his father, the former King of Denmark. One of their similarities is their relation and knowledge of one another by being father and son. When Hamlet and The Ghost meet (Act 1, Scene 2, Line 10) the reader learns that the ghost is in fact Hamlet[']s father when he says "I am thy father's spirit." Another similarity is their intelligence. The play gives many examples of Hamlet's quick witted yet smart way of speaking. And when we meet the ghost he speaks with the same intellect, only without the sarcasm used frequently by Hamlet. The main similarity is their longing for revenge. The ghost beg's [No '] Hamlet to revenge his death[,] and at the time Hamlet seems to honorably agree. By this honor the audience instantly stereotypes Hamlet as being heroic and good.


     Hamlet and his ghostly father also have some extreme differences. An obvious one is that of the living and the dead. This difference, I feel, was done with great purpose. The ghost makes the absolute best foil because of the fact that he, who was murdered, came back from the dead to reveal his killer.  This seems to be more believable and more prideful than if say, Horatio tells Hamlet "I know who killed your father, [CS] I think you should go after him and kill for your father's honor." [Nice idea] Another big difference between them is trust.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Free Essays on Good and Evil in Hamlet." 21 Mar 2019

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

Free Will in Shakespeare's Hamlet Essay

- The Free Will of Hamlet Choices made by Hamlet, which ultimately lead to his death, are all guided by his own free will. In mourning his father's death, Hamlet chooses to do so for what others consider to be an excessive amount of time. “But to persever/ In obstinate condolement is a course/ Of impious stubbornness”(I.ii.99-100), according to Claudius. During this period of mourning, Hamlet meets his father’s spirit and promises to avenge his father’s death.  However, upon reflection, he questions the validity of the ghost’s message.  At this point he carefully goes about choosing a plan of action that will inevitably show that “the king is to blame” (V.ii.340) In following his plan, Haml...   [tags: Free Hamlet Essays]

Free Essays
566 words (1.6 pages)

Essay on Hamlet's Transformation from Good to Evil in Shakespeare's Hamlet

- Hamlet's Transformation from Good to Evil in Shakespeare's Hamlet Hamlet’s transforms from good to evil in the play Hamlet by Shakespeare. Hamlet experiences a lot of pain and becomes very anger because of his father’s death, his mother’s bad remarriage, and the loss of his only love, Ophelia. The losses that Hamlet has to deal with are the anger and lack of forgiveness build in himself. This allows Hamlet’s true thoughts and character to be revealed through his soliloquies. First, Hamlet reveals his wishes that he could just melt away and be gone; because if he dies, he would be free from the world....   [tags: Shakespeare Tragedy of Hamlet]

Research Papers
835 words (2.4 pages)

Free Hamlet Essays: Lonely Hamlet

- Lonely Hamlet Hamlet’s decision to keep the murder of his father a secret to himself, along with the betrayals of many of his close friends and family, leads to his eventual downfall. If someone was there for him, whether it was his mother Gertrude, his girlfriend Ophelia, or Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, maybe his timeless death could have been prevented. Instead, his mother sides with Claudius who wants to kill him, Ophelia won’t go behind her father, Polonius’, back to be with him and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern go behind Hamlet’s back and spy on him for Claudius....   [tags: Shakespeare Hamlet Essays]

Free Essays
766 words (2.2 pages)

Free Essays on The Foils of Hamlet

- The Foils of Hamlet      William Shakespeare wrote Hamlet the play, in the sixteenth century. This play displays a lot of foils in it. You might ask yourself, what is a foil. A foil is a minor character in a literary work that uses [?] similarities and differences to help characterize the main character. There are two important foils in this play.      One of the foils in the play is Laertes. He [Who?] compares Laertes to h[H]amlet by using similarities. Laertes (Polonius’ son) is similar to h[H]amlet in that they both want to revenge their fathers....   [tags: GCSE Coursework Shakespeare Hamlet]

Free Essays
605 words (1.7 pages)

Free Essays - Hamlet as a Tragic Hero

- An Examination of Hamlet as a Tragic Hero Webster’s dictionary defines tragedy as, “a serious drama typically describing a conflict between the protagonist and a superior force (such as destiny) and having a sorrowful or disastrous conclusion that excites pity or terror.” A tragic hero, therefore, is the character who experiences such a conflict and suffers catastrophically as a result of his choices and related actions. The character of Hamlet, therefore, is a clear representation of Shakespeare’s tragic hero....   [tags: Shakespeare Hamlet]

Free Essays
1445 words (4.1 pages)

Free Hamlet Essays: The Perspective of Aristotle on Hamlet

- Custom Written Essays - The Perspective of Aristotle on Hamlet One of the foremost Elizabethan tragedies is Hamlet by William Shakespeare and one of the earliest critics of tragedy is Aristotle. One way to measure Shakespeare's work is to appraise it using the methods of classical critics and thereby to see how if it would have retained its meaning. Hamlet is one of the most recognizable and most often quoted tragedies in the all of English literature. Aristotle, is concerned with the proper presentation of tragic plays and poetry....   [tags: GCSE Coursework Shakespeare Hamlet]

Free Essays
1960 words (5.6 pages)

Free Hamlet Essays: No Tragic Flaw in Hamlet

- No Tragic Flaw in Hamlet It was my observation after reading Hamlet, that the play and its main character are not typical examples of tragedy and contain a questionable "tragic flaw" in the tragic hero. I chose this topic because Hamlet is a tragedy, but one that is very different from classical tragedies such as Medea. I also found quite a lot of controversial debate over the play and its leading character. While reading through my notes, I found that, according to Aristotle, "the tragic hero will most effectively evoke both our pity and terror if he is neither thoroughly good nor evil but a mixture of both; and also that the tragic effect will be stronger if the hero is better tha...   [tags: The Tragedy of Hamlet Essays]

Free Essays
760 words (2.2 pages)

William Shakespeare 's Hamlet And Oedipus The King Essay

- The main protagonists in Hamlet and Oedipus The King had their own approach on the supernatural interference. Hamlet viewed the supernatural interference differently with Oedipus. The ghost appeared to Hamlet at the beginning of the play and told him about the murder of his father. It was the beginning of Hamlet’s quest – to avenge his father’s death. However, it’s up to Hamlet whether to believe the ghost or not. Hamlet was a Christian follower, he believed in Christ. And in Christian rules, they should only obey the Lord and no one else....   [tags: Oedipus, Sophocles, Oedipus the King, Hamlet]

Research Papers
1170 words (3.3 pages)

Hamlet as Victim and Hero Essay

- Hamlet as Victim and Hero      Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, a Shakespearean tragedy, tells the story of Prince Hamlet, who gained the knowledge of a terrible incident that his kingdom had suffered. Claudius, the king of Denmark and Hamlet's uncle, had killed his own brother, the king, who was also the father of Hamlet, and married his brother's widow. Hamlet suffered these traumas to a severe degree, and his only relief was to defeat his human weaknesses and correct the wrongs created by his uncle....   [tags: Essays on Shakespeare Hamlet]

Research Papers
1269 words (3.6 pages)

"This above all, to thine own self be true": Truth versus Self in Hamlet

- Truth versus Self in Hamlet by William Shakespeare "This above all, to thine own self be true" (Act I scene 3 line 78) as expressed in Shakespeare's Hamlet, Prince of Denmark is a philosophical idea that strips away moral standards, accountability, and that selflessness is evidence of true love, as taught by Jesus Christ. Professor Sir Walter Murdoch writes in The Policy of Polonius, "As a matter of fact, of course, the lines are nonsense, and Shakespeare was well aware that they are nonsense; he puts them in the mouth of a garrulous old gentleman who spends most of his time talking nonsense" **....   [tags: Hamlet, William Shakespeare]

Research Papers
1799 words (5.1 pages)

Related Searches

The ghost oh [sic] his father naturally assumes that his son shall do him the honor of seeking out Claudius and giving him a "taste of his own medicine." Towards the beginning this assumption seems logical. This is what makes the audience perceive that Hamlet is a good man, an honorable man and he seems ready to kill for justice. When in reality, whenever Hamlet is given the chance to do his father justice, he resists. [SC Frag -1]  In fact Hamlet holds off on killing Claudius until the very end when Claudius accidentally poisons Gertrude, Hamlet[']s mother, killing her.


     The ghost's main function in the play was to introduce us to who the bad guy is and makes Hamlet out to be the good. [SS - 1] Also it seems as though Shakespeare was looking for a character to place in the play for only a short period of time. And[,] in that time[,] his soul [sole] purpose would be to give Hamlet someone to talk to. By the ghost's presence in the play, Hamlet talks to him to reveal to the audience his, not so genuine, heroic and good morals and also to unveil the truth to how he really performs when asked to do such an honorable thing. [Examples?] This could also suggest the conflict of appearance vs. reality.


     In contrast to the goodnes of Hamlet revealed to the audience by his foil The Ghost, Polonius sheds light on the evil side of King Claudius and reveals to us his true feelings for Hamlet. One of Polonius's similarities to Claudius is that they are on the same side. This being because Polonius is the King[']s councillor and therefore we assume that they share a common bond and it is likely that they know a lot about one another. [SS - 1] Though their main similarity is that they both despise Hamlet and wish to have him banished. [Frag -1] They also both think that Hamlet has gone mad. Polonius says to himself (Act 2, Scene 2, Line 201) "Though this be madness, yet there is a method in't[.]" The fact that they believe him to be crazy gives them another similarity, that they are both fools to Hamlet's extremely smart scheme.


     The immense difference between the two characters is their reasons for hating Hamlet. Polonius hates Hamlet for an almost understandable reason. He knows that Hamlet is in love with Ophelia. Therefore Polonius is only out to protect the well-being of his only daughter. ["Inderstandable?" Hmmmm -- Fathers hate every man who is in love with their daughters?] Claudius on the other hand hates Hamlet for only unjustified and selfish reasons. He fears that Hamlet's intelligence may uncover the truth behind Denmark's new king. [, not .] the truth being that he is a murderer. To Claudius, this threat to his own life and his solid reputation, [no ,] gives him the right to take Hamlet's life. This shows the audience a true side of the king thanks to Polonius.


     Through conversation with Claudius, Polonius's use as a foil reveals to the audience King Claudius's unjustified and hateful feelings toward Hamlet and his reasons for these feelings, which in return points out how evil Claudius truly is. [Specific examples? Very short paragraph.]


     In William Shakespeare's "Hamlet" foils are used in many different ways to reveal to the audience important facts about the main characters. In this case, The Ghost and Polonius help to unveil the conflict of good vs. evil between Hamlet and Claudius. Although some may argue against the fact that Hamlet is good because of his sneaky brilliance. [SC Frag -1] For instance T.S. Elliott who is quoted for saying "Hamlet having made a mess, dies fairly well pleased with himself." [Frag -1] This of course suggesting that he too has evil within him. [Frag -1] But, no matter how you see Hamlet or Claudius, it is still very clear that The Ghost and Polonius make two very well placed foils in this classic Shakespearian play.


[ I like the thesis, but there is some confusion about the foils. The organization is solid, but the paper could use a lot more examples.]

Return to