An Analytical Essay on the Significance of the Players in Hamlet
The significance of the players exceeds the sole purpose of entertainment, as each possesses the power to unveil the "occulted guilt" (3.2.75) and conscience of the King. Hamlet assumes the responsibility to advise these players with precise and adequate direction so that a "whirlwind of passion" (6) may not effectively separate Claudius from personally identifying with the play. Hamlet's enthusiastic approach toward direction may be so that he encourages the players to "suit the action to the word, the word to the/ action, with this special observance, that you o'erstep not/ the modesty of nature" (16-18). However, this exercise of caution may justify Hamlet's too often delayed attempt toward the action of avenging his father's murder. His direction confines him to the overflow of words as he experiences imprisonment within the truth of his own identity.
Hamlet grants himself the opportunity to momentarily direct himself, yet it remains unknown as to whether he directs a representation of truth or a falsity. He exemplifies madness so well, as the sight of "a damned ghost" (77) insanely induces his imagination and comfortably transforms his identity to one of lunacy. This role he acquires is one he portrays so explicitly well as an actor that he easily utilizes it as the foundation for his players. He instructs the players:
Nor do not saw the air too much with your hand,
Thus, but use all gently, for in the very torrent, tempest,
And, as I may say, whirlwind of passion, you must acquire
And beget a temperance that may give it smoothness. (4-7)
Abstinence from overly dramatizing the actions of the play may be reflective of Hamlet's character prior to his escape from true self: a once-lived life of normalcy focused more wholly on "smoothness" (7) rather than an uncontrolled "torrent, tempest, / ...whirlwind of passion" (5-6)....
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