English Thesis Paper
A great number of lessons can be learned from Hamlet by Shakespeare. A very important lesson is that not everyone wants a leader, but every kingdom needs one. What is meant by this is that in a kingdom there will always be people who are not in favor of the person in charge. However, in a functioning kingdom a strong leader is of essence. The arrival of Fortinbras in Act 5 Scene 2 of Hamlet is clear evidence that Shakespeare was in hopes of a noble leader replacing Elizabeth. Shakespeare believed that corruption was swarming in the state of England, and a noble leader was needed to replace her.
Horatio makes it clear that conspicuous proceedings are going on in the state of Denmark. “In what particular thought to work I knew not, but in the gross and scope of my opinion, this bodes some strange eruption to our state” (Horatio-Act.1 Scene 1- Lines 79-81). This was quite and deep quote that was made by Horatio. What Horatio was trying to say here was that something fishy was going on in his state, and that a change of the guard was needed. He was not quite sure what exactly was going on, but Horatio could sense that revolution was bound to take place. Our secondary source made it clear that there was rebellion sprouting in England. As it reads, “The seeds of rebellion sprouted in the North, far from London and the influence of the court, amid a rugged landscape dominated by magnates who clung to their old ways and resented royal intrusions” (What Life was like in the Realm of Elizabeth P. 47). This quote is supportive of Horatio’s assertion that conspicuous behavior was going on in the state. This quote makes it clear that there was resentment to the ruler in place, and that a people’s uprise was certainly on its way.
In Hamlet it becomes clear that the state of Denmark was in for a rude awakening. In fact, it is said outright by a character in the play. “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark”(Marcellus- Act 1 Scene 4 line 100). This statement made it clear that Shakespeare, through other characters in the play, was hinting at the fact that there was need for change in the way that the kingdom was being run. This statement shows that Shakespeare clearly was voicing his own opinion through a character in his play. In our secondary source we found that “Poverty was rising and vagrancy with it”(What Life was like in the Realm of Elizabeth p. 78). Vagrants are individuals without regular income who travel from place to place and are seen as a threat to social order. The government was certainly not fond of these vagrants. The government considered most of these vagrants to be idlers who chose to be poor and lazy. This just adds pollution to the already clouded air of the kingdom of England at the time. In addition to the corruption and the threat of rebellion, the people were getting poorer, and the government’s view of their people was becoming more and more pessimistic. The issues associated with Elizabeth were enhanced in 1568. “Peace at home was shattered in 1568 with the arrival of Elizabeth’s Catholic cousin Mary Stuart, who had been forced to abdicate the Scottish throne” (What Life Was Like in the Realm of Elizabeth, p. 80). Elizabeth faced a great deal of turmoil with the arrival of her cousin. Elizabeth knew that there was a constituency of English Catholics who wanted Mary to be their ruler. In fact, Elizabeth felt so threatened by her cousin that Mary was sanctioned to house arrest. A rebellion by Mary’s supporters broke out, but it was quickly extinguished by Elizabeth’s troops. However, this made it quite clear that Elizabeth was not supported as the leader across the board.
Shakespeare is emphasizing a kingly quality through the words of Hamlet. “Rightly to be great is not to stir without great argument, but greatly find quarrel in a straw when honors at the steak” (Hamlet Act 4 Scene 4 lines 52-54). Speaking through Hamlet, Shakespeare is showing that...
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