Nancy V. Bolinger
11 Dec 2006
Lit-Based Research/ENG 113
Essay # 5
Originally titled The Tragicall Historie of Hamlet, Prince of Denmarke, this tragedy has been reproduced more times than any other play written by William Shakespeare (en.wikipedia.org 1 of 9). Prince Hamlet also has the lengthiest appearance of any character in all of Shakespeare's plays (en.wikpedia.org 6 of 9). In the play, Prince Hamlet is caught between balancing his need to avenge his father's death, dealing with the disgust he felt for Gertrude and Claudius' love affair, and maintaining the relationship he has with Ophelia without exposing his plans to kill his uncle Claudius for the murder of King Hamlet.
During the first act, Prince Hamlet meets the ghost of his father, King Hamlet. His father's ghost tells Hamlet that Claudius poured poison in his ear while he slept. The spirit also explains that he wishes for Hamlet to avenge his death, but not to punish Queen Gertrude for marrying Claudius. He tells Hamlet that she will have to answer to her conscience, and eventually God for her incestuous actions (absoluteshakespeare.com 1 of 4). It was believed during these times that when a person died, especially in such a tragic fashion, that their spirit lingered about while suffering in Purgatory. This could cause a normally virtuous person's spirit to become filled with malevolence and begin to meddle in living men's affairs (en.wikipedia.org 4 of 9). This belief caused Prince Hamlet to want to investigate his father's spirit's claims to ensure that they were indeed true. In order to do this, Prince Hamlet feigns madness in order to remain hidden from members of the court's suspicions while he plots his revenge on King Claudius (www.sparknotes.com 1 of 3). He also takes advantage of a group of actors who come to Elsinore Castle to perform by rewriting a play to recreate the scene of his...