Hamlet Themes

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Hamlet, morality, providence, humanity and the state
What does Hamlet teach us?

1) Questions of Morality
2) The power of providence
3) The nature of humanity
4) The strength of the state

* is Hamlet ‘right’ to commit murder in the name of justice * is ‘justice’ mote important than ‘duty’ to the law, to the king, to ones country? * Revenge is a contradiction, because it requires and act of injustice on behalf of justice * In many ways Hamlet the character explores these questions. He represents a Human, tasked with an impossible choice * He is torn between notions of: Honor (father/Ghost) Faith (God) Loyalty (State/King) * It could be argued that he betrays all of these, and is destroyed as a result * Or, is he loyal to all of these, and a hero as a result? * What do you think?

* Shakespeare is asking us, where should our allegiance lie? * In such a changing world as Elizabethan England, Hamlets actions can be viewed as having far reaching consequences * What is our ultimate authority? God? The state? Our consequence?

Power of Providence

* God will be victorious
* Order must be restored
* The king has been ordained by God and is the top of the chain of being * There is no such thing as chance, everything leads to Gods will * Diving justice will prevail
* Death to all characters deemed corrupt
* Life to those that are good, that serve and are dutiful. * Fortinbras – a warrior king, restores order.

Hamlet and divine justice

* Hamlet is embroiled in the corruption of the state. He is part of a morally corrupt family and has plotted the killing of a king. As a result he must die * Claudius, despite his corruption, represents rule and authority. His death cannot go unpunished.

The Nature of Humanity

* Hamlet – a doomed but heroic figure?
* Although hamlets fate (and that of the play seems ordained), it is his actions within these parameters that...
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