William Shakespeare, Hamlet
The Tragedy, Hamlet (1599 and 1601) by William Shakespeare is a story of revenge. The play is about the Prince of Denmark by the name, Hamlet. His mission all through the play is to ravage for the death of his father who was murdered by Claudius his uncle. The Uncle is now the king and husband to his mother Gertrude. The play has come to be analyzed in psychological theories as it present vivid description of the course of feigned and real madness; from the early stage of Hamlet’s overwhelming grief to his rage in the final stages. The play explores the themes of revenge, treachery, moral corruption and incest.
The structure of the play and its characterization have made literary scholars to critically scrutinize the play leading to the observance of the theme that Hamlet hesitates to carry out the plan of killing his uncles as directed by his father’s ghost in scene 1. The reason for this procrastination is seen by others as a result of pressure due to ethical issues, and hamlet complex philosophies which involve killing and murder. Some scholars view this delay as an aspect of plot device to keep the readers in suspense. Recent studies have been developed to study Hamlets delay in carrying out the plan. This is that due to the unconscious desire for her mother makes him not to kill Claudius the man who sleeps with his mother, because this will make Gertrude accuse him. It is only after the death of Gertrude that Hamlet finds the way to kill Claudius with no guilt and or controversial explanations to make to his mother. Had he killed Claudius earlier, he would be forced to confess the love he has for her which is something hamlet thought with disgust.
Hamlet is the longest play written by Shakespeare which has greatly influence English literature tragedies in a powerful way. Hamlet became a famous play since the early 17th century for its vivid and ghost dramatization of insanity and melancholy. Through this play we get Shakespeare’s message that the aspects of morality play great role in determining the character of an individual. Hamlet is enthralled by his mission to kill. This torments him so much that he wishes to die than see a person die because of him. His soliloquies and monologues of to be or not to be portrays his thought process on the aspect of morality which he has grown knowing what is good from evil. He is therefore torn between adhering to his father’s mission to ravage on his behalf or to be moral and choose not to kill because this is considered as sin.
The play also presents the aspect of dreams which is totally different from dieing. This is because in death, one never wakes up. Dreams on the other hand are experienced when one is in sleep but those which one dreams about death make life itself an uncertain aspect. So is life a dream? The major concern for Hamlet is on the issues of mortality and death in the mission to kill Claudius. Hamlet being a humble and a person full of humor, he finds it had to kill a person and he wonders why soldiers are able to kill even with no guilt. This has left him to become a withdrawn person because he has to fists question the moral of his action. But then again he says to himself that, ‘you that you lost a father… it is therefore a filial obligation to do the obsequious sorrow” (Shakespeare I.ii.24).
The theme of mortality is also presented in the play, Hamlet. We see hamlet who is greatly depressed about both the wish of him not wanting to live and the murder of his father. He hopes to die by saying that, Oh that this too, too sullied flesh would melt, thsosusnugh resolve itself into dew, or that the everlasting had not fixed, his cannon, gain self slaugert, o God, God! (Shakespeare I.ii.26). in his speech we see that he wishes to die than to live and at the same time makes a wishes that the aspects of committing suicide could not be a sin. He however finds that he still has the responsibility of avenging for his father because he is alive.
Mistaking Plonius for Claudius, Hamlet kills him yet we see that Hamlet is not remorseful. He jokes about death which makes the audience see him as a psychotic person. The message from Shakespeare to the audience is that no man be it a peasant or a king can escape death and mortality that life is characterized by.
The playwright also presents the situation of women during the Elizabethan times. Women played a totally different role from today. The role of women was to be in the home and to take care of children as well as fulfilling the needs of the husband. They did not have much options of moving out of unhappy marriages. They could also be inherited just as how Gertrude has been inherited by the man who killed his father. This means that women’s lives were controlled by men. The aspects of true love were not important for men and women with held the love they had for Polonius is a patriarchy figure who is a dominating figure. He controls the life of his daughter in not being allowed to talk to a person she thinks she loves.
The aspects of tragedy in which a courageous character who is faced by powerful forces both outside and within him. The character Hamlet also presents the depth and breath of the spirit of human in the situation of defeat, failure and death. Hamlet is courage in the senses that he is not afraid to accomplish his duty and even death right from within himself. Hamlet accomplishes his task making the play a true tragic in both its flaw and sallow as a hero. This is however achieved after great delay with the procrastination of Hamlet. This tragic end leads to affecting of lives of Claudius and others around.
Hamlet presents several meaningful themes which lead tragedy as explained in this paper. This is a good example of a Shakespearean tragedy which has continued to be read and rewritten in many versions making it one of the most outstanding literary books especially with the various elements.
Hamlet, New York, Barnes and noble 2007 by William Shakespeare