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Hamlet College - Essay Example

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One of the most intriguing themes of Shakespeare's Hamlet that has baffled critics for centuries is the protagonist's brooding nature and inability to take decision. One of Hamlet's first-act soliloquies (Act I, Scene V, 92-112) is a response to the shocking revelation made by the ghost of his father…
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Hamlet College

Download file to see previous pages... But this does not move Hamlet to immediate action, which is generally the logical response to such information. Instead it seems to present him with a puzzle, something to be thought out and solved prior to taking any action. His famed "To be or not to be" soliloquy highlights his inability to face his mortality and his contradicting battle with suicide, one minute he is ready to die and the next bogged by fear of the afterlife.
He stuns us with impressive soliloquies; his emotions emerge like a repressed torrent let loose, but he fails utterly in evolving beyond them. Why, then, such powerful emotions are followed by inaction That, perhaps, is his nature as some critics say: this is what he is, the antithesis of Macbeth. Many see him as a victim of Oedipus complex, which has relegated him into a belated adolescent. Others still see him as suffering from an overdose of chastity. Others go further: is he not simply a puritan or an irresolute homosexual
However, another reading is quite opposed to this. Considering the events in the play, he's not indecisive, rather an incredibly decisive, sharp, and clever individual. In an instant he kills Polonius, fights pirates, engineers the demise of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, rises to face Laertes, plays at insanity, and cleverly traps Claudius with the "Mouse Trap". He is terrible and ruthless in his actions. If Hamlet is capable of these, he is certainly capable of exacting his revenge. It is his quest to avenge his father the right way, under the right terms of heaven and society that prevents him from action.
Closely woven with the theme of indecisiveness is the theme of falsity and seeming. This is demonstrated at the very onset of the play. It appears to the world that the King died of snakebite. However, the reality is that he was poisoned to death by this own brother. It appears that the Ghost is a necessary evil (according to Elizabethan conventions) emerging from the unfathomable depths of hell; the reality, however, is that he is the harbinger of truth, the one who imposes the motive of revenge upon Hamlet. Since Hamlet is plagued by doubts regarding Ghost's true intentions, he decides to put on an antic disposition-he feigns madness. At times Hamlet's feigned madness has appears to be real. This theme is carried throughout the play-the duel scene, too, presents the dichotomy between truth and falsity. Draped in the garb of a healthy competition, the duel is actually a machination of Claudius' cruel intentions, which ultimately leads to the brutal death of the four main characters. Apparently, the best manifestation of this theme is the "Mouse Trap". The actors, in the guise of mythical figures, actually perform the real events. Throughout the play, Shakespeare presents us with events and situations, which are liable to doubts and questions.
Agonized by his mother's decision to marry Claudius so soon after her husband's demise, Hamlet becomes cynical ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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