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hamlet analysis

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❶The circumstances he has to manage emotionally are difficult, to say the least. Hamlet laments that he, who has cause, cannot avenge his father, while the actor is able to convincingly portray the emotions over imaginary characters and actions.

William Shakespeare

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He is at once the consummate iconoclast, in self-imposed exile from Elsinore Society, while, at the same time, he is the adulated champion of Denmark — the people's hero. He has no friends left, but Horatio loves him unconditionally.

He is angry, dejected, depressed, and brooding; he is manic, elated, enthusiastic, and energetic. He is dark and suicidal, a man who loathes himself and his fate. Yet, at the same time, he is an existential thinker who accepts that he must deal with life on its own terms, that he must choose to meet it head on. There is special providence in the fall of a sparrow. Hamlet not only participates in his life, but astutely observes it as well.

He recognizes the decay of the Danish society represented by his Uncle Claudius , but also understands that he can blame no social ills on just one person. He remains aware of the ironies that constitute human endeavor, and he savors them. Though he says, "Man delights not me," the contradictions that characterize us all intrigue him. How noble in reason, how infinite in faculties, in form and moving how express and admirable, in action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a god!

As astutely as he observes the world around him, Hamlet also keenly critiques himself. In his soliloquys he upbraids himself for his failure to act as well as for his propensity for words. Hamlet is infuriatingly adept at twisting and manipulating words. He confuses his so-called friends Rosencrantz and Guildenstern — whom he trusts as he "would adders fang'd" — with his dissertations on ambition, turning their observations around so that they seem to admire beggars more than their King.

And he leads them on a merry chase in search of Polonius ' body. He openly mocks the dottering Polonius with his word plays, which elude the old man's understanding.

He continually spars with Claudius, who recognizes the danger of Hamlet's wit but is never smart enough to defend himself against it. Hamlet carefully observes and listens to what the Ghost says and is later left with a bewildered attitude. The Ghost continually tempts and persuades Hamlet to take revenge for his father and kill Claudius. From here on out, we are left to see Hamlet contemplating on whether or not what the Ghost said was true or whether or not he has to kill his uncle.

We are already left with an image that Hamlet has a grudge toward Claudius and after meeting the Ghost, Hamlet is now left to think whether he should take revenge or not. Hamlet is deciding whether or not he should kill the king right then and there but is constantly unable to make up his mind. Even if he were to take revenge right now, the king was praying, so by killing him, he would be send him to heaven.

Hamlet shows his cautiousness in this scene, which I will be talking about later. Hamlet decides to kill Claudius another day, but is left with an uncomfortable mind to kill him when he is in the act of doing wrong deeds and when he is positive that Claudius had killed his father.

Another quality that stands out for Hamlet is that he is extremely cautious and intellectual. Some may say he overuses his intelligence while ignoring his emotions and going with his instinct. This is what causes Hamlet to hold back on taking revenge against Claudius. Hamlet is then careful with his actions and thinks things through because he knows the value of having the accurate facts; otherwise, he may unreasonably kill his uncle and have to deal with the consequences.

Hamlet begins to realize that his anxiety and pressures cause him to doubt that reason alone can solve his problems. However, Hamlet connects both his emotion and reason and avoids his temptation to commit suicide. Although he chooses to stay alive and revenge his father, he still lacks the motivation to actually kill Claudius.

Hamlet is shocked that Fortinbras would sacrifice many soldiers to conquer a little patch of ground, whereas, Hamlet is struggling on killing one man with good reason. Hamlet realizes he was blinded by his intellect and seems to be impressed by Fortinbras who quickly turns thought into action, and from then on, Hamlet decides to have bloody thoughts. Many of the characters in Hamlet are involved in duplicity designed to deceive, betray, or destroy others.

The recurring motif of acting, seeming, illusion, and deceit as opposed to sincerity, being, reality, and honesty illustrates this underlying duplicity throughout the play.

Hamlet tells Gertrude his grief is genuine: Polonius instructs Reynaldo to use indirection to learn how Laertes is comporting himself in Paris. Hamlet laments that he, who has cause, cannot avenge his father, while the actor is able to convincingly portray the emotions over imaginary characters and actions. Claudius and Polonius set Ophelia as bait to Hamlet, to try to learn the cause of his madness. Hamlet is totally honest with Horatio about the Mousetrap plot because Horatio is beyond flattering, or being beguiled by falseness.

Claudius discovers that his true thoughts cannot give way to his desired action of praying; yet Hamlet is fooled by the appearance of Claudius at prayer and does not murder him.


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The Ghost of Hamlet (the dead king) tells Prince Hamlet that his uncle Claudius is the murderer. Throughout the rest of the play, Hamlet seeks to prove Claudius’ guilt before he takes action against Claudius.

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Themes are central to understanding Hamlet as a play and identifying Shakespeare's social and political commentary. Mortality The weight of one's mortality and the complexities of life and death are introduced from the beginning of Hamlet.

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