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Finding Fault in Hamlet
The old English is difficult enough to understand when it is clearly spoken in a direct manner, but it is even more difficult when Hamlet, Prince of Denmark speaks so sarcastically and indirectly. Throughout Shakespeare' play, Hamlet is very indirect and speaks in a way that is not easily interpreted by the other characters. It seems as though he never speaks in an honest manner, never disclosing his true thought to anyone. Even if Hamlet ever says something that sound sincere, the audience is not sure of whether it is yet another of Hamlet's games, or if he is really telling the truth. The ambiguous way that he speaks is however, not the cause of his downfall; the actions of all those involved is what causes everyone to either kill or be killed.
In numerous scenes throughout the play, Hamlet uses sharp wit and sarcasm to speak in a way, that confuses the other characters. For example, in Act 2 and Scene 2, with Polonius and Hamlet, Hamlet is speaking in a very sarcastic and confusing manner to Polonius, but he in turn doesn't notice the meaning of Hamlet's words because he just assumes that Hamlet has gone crazy, resulting in his awkward speech. In a scene with Hamlet and Ophelia, Hamlet tells her that he never really loved her and that she should "get to a nunnery". She believes him, because Hamlet speaks in an honest way; however, later at Ophelia's funeral we discover that he had lied to her, and that he did really love her.
In his famous "to be or not to be" silioque, Hamlet is, again, very ambiguous. In this speech, he seeks as though he is contemplating suicide or weather to just keep living. He makes himself look like a confused and crazy young man; however, he tells Horatio that he is truly not crazy. No one knows what to believe from whom. Hamlet always says two things at once, and he then acts in a way, that is completely unpredictable. I think he played crazy to confuse Claudius and Polonius in order to avenge for his father's death. At the same time that he is playing the mad man, to Claudius, Polonius and his mother, he plays the untruthful and confused boyfriend to Ophelia. No one ever knows what Hamlet's true intentions are.
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While Hamlet's indirect and blurry speech is the reason for much chaos and commotion at the castle, Elsinore, it is the actions of all the involved that cause the tragedy. The emotions that are sparked within all the other characters by Hamlet's unpredictable actions and cryptic remarks are what cause drastic and unrational actions from Ophelia, Leartes, and Claudius. Leartes and Claudius' hate for Hamlet is increased by his vague language, causing both to go to drastic measures to kill him. All the misunderstanding between Hamlet and Ophelia is what may have driven her to madness, but it was Polonius' murder at the hands of Hamlet that drove her to suicide.
Hamlet does speak very sarcastic and cryptic, but it is not his indirect speaking that causes his downfall. It is the assumptions and misinterpretations that cause emotions to arise, these in turn cause crazy actions by all characters that result in this dramatic end. It is not only Hamlet, but all the other characters that are equally responsible for the tragic story.