On Hamlet - About The Play
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essays & thesis statements analyzing Shakespeare's "Hamlet"....Download
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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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