Hamlet - Essays on Hamlet - Shakespeare's Hamlet
Hamlet - Essays, reports, papers on Shakespeare's HAMLET

Essays On Hamlet - About The Play

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   William Shakespeare's Hamlet has come down to us as the classic tale of a person tormented by his indecisive nature. Early in the play, Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, is visited by the ghost of his father, who was murdered some months before. The crime has remained unsolved, but the ghost tells Hamlet that the murderer was actually Hamlet's uncle Claudius, who in the meantime has married Hamlet's mother and is now sitting on the throne. The ghost calls upon Hamlet to avenge his death by killing Claudius. This is where Hamlet's dilemma and the debate over whether or not he was truly "mad" begin...

   Had Hamlet been an instinctual character, he would have immediately run and committed murder, and there would have been no play to speak of. But Hamlet cannot do this. He spends the next four and a half acts ruminating about the philosophical and ethical considerations of one course of action versus another, occasionally expressing his anxiety in little bursts of activity, most of which don't seem to get him any closer to avenging his father's death but which accentuate the debate over whether or not Hamlet was sane. Clearly, there is no question that Hamlet is really not a play of action, it is a play of psychology under extreme stress. Nonetheless, it is possible to trace Hamlet's actions (such as they are) throughout the play and show how they prepare us for the denouement to come.

    Had Hamlet not only killed his uncle but survived his uncle’s treachery, he would probably have continued to be deeply depressed for a long, long time. Under the circumstances, it may not have been unethical to expect such a cold-blooded murder to go unpunished; but it was certainly insensitive and unrealistic to expect Hamlet to do it. Hamlet was not mad, as some have accused, but he was much too finely bred and too sensitive for the situation in which he finds himself upon his return to Denmark. Overwrought by the circumstances of his father’s death, Hamlet should not have been expected to handle the responsibilities of his father’s revenge, and depression was the result..

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