In the play Hamlet by William Shakespeare a frightful calamity occurs. We see two characters Hamlet and Laertes who both seek to revenge the murderers of their departed fathers. Many of the readers may contemplate if Hamlet is crazy for what he believes to be true. Hamlet is dynamic, animated, and absurd in his madness. Shakespeare uses the dimmer light of reality to expose the brighter light of the plot. Throughout the play Shakespeare incorporates a theme of madness. Moreover, madness is brilliantly portrayed through the character of Hamlet.
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Depression, despair are the burning emotions in young Hamlet s soul as he attempts to come to terms with his father s death and his mother s illicit marriage. Hamlet is informed by his father that he needs to be avenged by the death of his brother Claudius. By this time Claudius has already ascended the throne, and married Hamlet s mother Queen Gertrude. Within the play the ghost of his father can easily bring forward Hamlet s sudden change in mood. Later in the play a troop of actors come to acted out a play, and Hamlet has them reenact the murder of his father in front of his Uncle Claudius. During the play Hamlet watches his Uncle Claudius to see his reaction when the actors perform the murder scene. Hamlet s plan works, his uncle throws a fit and runs out of the room, where Hamlet goes after him.
The next confrontation does not happen until the end of the play when Hamlet escapes from his uncle s ill murder attempt on his life. All of a sudden Hamlet s mother Queen Gertrude drinks a poison intended for Hamlet. When Hamlet is not looking Laertes stabs him with a poison sword then Hamlet takes hold of the sword, and does the same to Laertes. As this happens Queen Gertrude tragically dies from the poison drink. As Laertes is in his time of death, he reveals to Hamlet that his Uncle, King Claudius was behind it all. Hamlet then in a fit of rage murders his Uncle. Hamlet has now finally succeeded his fathers wishes through much time.
This play has a very unusual twist. Many of us wouldn t have thought that Hamlet would die but the reason for this is simple. Hamlet killed Laertes father but not intentionally so as a revenge for Laertes he must kill Hamlet. Polonius(father of Laertes) is murdered by Hamlet when Polonius is discovered listening to Hamlet, and his mother s Queen Gertrude s conversation. Hamlet unknowing of who the person behind the tapestry is , kills Polonius from where he was spying. When news of his fathers death reaches Laertes, he comes back with an entourage to see revenge for his fathers death. Laertes believes that Hamlets Uncle Claudius was responsible for his fathers death,
How came he dead? I ll not be juggled with.
To hell, allegiance! Vows to the blackest devil!
Conscience and grace, to the profoundest pit!
I dare damnation. To this point I stand,
That both the worlds I give to negligence,
Let come what comes, only I ll be revenged
Most thoroughly for my father.
(IV, v. 130 136)
King Claudius tells Laertes that Hamlet is the one who killed his father, so he then wants to kill Hamlet. Hamlet and Laertes have a duel but Laertaes stabs Hamlet with a poison sword when he isn t looking.
In this play two characters Hamlet and Laertes both seek revenge of their dead fathers. Hamlet with a passive and scheming approach manages to kill his father’s murderer, Claudius. Laertes as well kills his father’s killer, prince Hamlet. They both however accomplished their goals but at the ultimate price of both their lives.
Prince Hamlet seems to have very little control of his emotions. In fact, Hamlet admits this to Horatio, his confidant, when he says, sir, in my heart there was a kind of fighting, that would not let me sleep (V. ii. 4-5). This lack of restraint leads to Hamlet s unpredictable mood swings throughout the play. Hamlet s relationship with Ophelia easily spawns such dramatic alterations in the prince s attitude. Hamlet and Ophelia discreetly share an intense passion, but due to the extreme discontent of the majority of society in reaction to this passion, they must go their separate ways, which brings some harsh behavioral tactics. Hamlet leaps into Ophelia open grave at her funeral to dispute Laertes and claim,
I loved Ophelia. forty thousand brothers
Could not with all their quantity of love
Make up my sum.
(V. i. 264-266)
These abrupt mood changes also appear in Hamlet s relationship with his mother. He seemed to believe in his mother s purity and goodness, but eventually Hamlet seems to hold a great amount of contempt for Gertrude, especially when he mocks her words, and then snidely proclaims:
You are the Queen, your husband s brother s wife,
And, would it were so not so, you are my mother
(IV. i. 30-31)
Such mood swings as these definitely prove, if anything, that Hamlet could not keep adequate control of his emotions.
To further this idea of Hamlet s insanity, one can observe the prince s interaction with the ghost of his father. In act 3 scene 4 in which Hamlet sees the ghost of his father, while Gertrude cannot see the specter. It is important to remember that in all other encounters with the ghost, Hamlet was not the only person to behold the spirit. In this scene Hamlet alone sees this vision. This scene reveals Hamlet s madness.
In conclusion, what we believe really is the question is whether or not Hamlet truly is crazy or if we are just exaggerating. Hamlets change in moods can be easily understood by the ghost of his father, attitude changes and his tragic death. It is clearly illustrated that Hamlet has a number of emotions and anger as he attempts to come to terms with his fathers death and his mother s illicit marriage. In this play by William Shakespeare Hamlet is the only sane being.