A Critical Analysis on Hamlet
In one of the greatest plays, Hamlet, William Shakespeare introduces a tragic story of the royal family of Denmark, which contains elements of politics, loyalty, heroism, friendship, and love. Allan Massie, a writer for The spectator, argues that Prince Hamlet is “an indecisive and self-questioning Romantic intellectual (the Gielgud interpretation), or as a mixed-up kid, immature, uncertain of himself, veering from self-love to self-loathing by way of self-pity.” However, Hamlet, the prince of Denmark, seems to be a completely different person at the end of the play compared to the beginning. After the death of his father, the quick remarriage of his mother, the potential true cause of death of his father, and the rotten state of Denmark, Hamlet, the protagonist of the play, learns a lot intellectually. Hamlet changes dramatically over the course of the play and teaches readers humanity through his dramatic experiences in his life. Hamlet is a philosophy college student in Wittenberg, where has a close relation to Martin Luther’s Protestant Reformation during the Renaissance. By the influence of Protestantism, Hamlet develops his own philosophy critically. However, his immaturity appears when he is called back to Denmark and hears his father’s death. He is very depressed and unable to control his emotion because of his father’s sudden death and his mother’s quick remarriage with his uncle Claudius, the new king of Denmark. In his first speech, he reveals his helplessness and irritation, which clearly demonstrates his immaturity and weakness. Hamlet expresses his grief that “To be, or not to be: that is the question;
whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them?” (Shakespeare 1127). While Hamlet is suffering his grief, the sprit of his father appears. Hamlet discovers that hamlet’s uncle, Claudius, murdered his father. Hamlet decides to revenge as “Haste me to know't, that I, with wings As swift as meditation or the thoughts of love, May sweep to my revenge” (Shakespeare 1102) At this moment, revenge becomes the clue of the play. During his revenge, he learns to understand romantic love, loyal friendships, heroism, and death. Hamlet learns dealing with romantic love by sacrificing his love to Ophelia for his revenge on Claudius. Hamlet’s love to Ophelia is sincere, faithful, and obsessive, and it appears in his actions, including his romantic poem and his great affection to her. In Act III Scene I, when Hamlet realizes that he cannot stay with Ophelia, he suggests Ophelia that both of them to be not married with other people and that to demonstrate her chastity by going to a nunnery. Furthermore, in Act V Scene I, at Ophelia’s funeral, Hamlet fights with Laertes and claims, “I loved Ophelia. Forty thousand brothers could not with all their quantity of love” (Shakespeare 1178). However, his revenge brings his love tragedy as David Smith states, "Hamlet's cruelty to Ophelia is one of the most powerful and moving dramatic gestures anywhere in Shakespeare". Hamlet fails to learn to understand Ophelia’s desperate feeling and makes her crazy to the death. He does not even seem to feel guilty about her death. Although their romance could have been sweet one; however, it ends up with dramatic tragedy because of Hamlet’s revenge for his father. He learns the complex of romantic love through his revenge on the father of his love. In addition to his romantic love, Hamlet learns dealing with parental love as son’s responsibilities. Hamlet seems to be very indecisive and obedient to his mother at the beginning of the play when his mother asks his to stay in Denmark instead of going back to Wittenberg to continue his study. However, his behavior towards his mother completely changes after discovering the true reason of his father’s death. Hamlet challenges to finish the sprit of his father’s...
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