Hamlet and the Universal Reasons behind Murder

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Composition 2

Hamlet and the Universal Reasons Behind Murder

There is a reason for every death, a dark motive for every assassination or brutal killing of another human being. It has been proven throughout human history that murder can be used as a means to a desired end. Characters in the Shakespeare drama, Hamlet, certainly use murder to their advantage in order to accomplish their goals. To gain political power and influence, murder is utilized by some major characters of the play. Vengeance in the form of murder is also prominent within the script; murder in this sense acts as a tool for justice and redemption. Intense sexual desires may have been key contributions to the motivation for murder within Hamlet. Finally, some characters desire to murder themselves; suicide may seem to be the only logical option to escape a world filled with many horrors such as murder itself.

Politics are not always morally positive and without corruption. The political “atmosphere” of Hamlet is no different. The epitome of political corruption within the play can be attributed to King Claudius, the brother of the deceased King Hamlet. The murder of Hamlet by his bloody hands is the event that ignites the drama that unfolds afterwards and is a perfect example of using murder as a means to a desired goal; this time, the goal was the Danish crown as well as King Hamlet’s young wife, Gertrude. King Claudius’ crime is not an uncommon occurrence. As stated by John Safer in an essay titled “Hamlet Inconsistent”, “princes, we have learned from countless examples throughout history and drama, plot, scheme, maneuver, risk, and sometimes lose their lives in their attempts to become kings.” (Safer) Even Hamlet can be accused of having thoughts of murder in order to gain political power as King of Denmark; it was supposed to be his throne after his father’s death until Claudius snatched it from him through skillful deception.

Prince Hamlet’s two long-time friends, Guildenstern and Rosencrantz, both intended to use murder to gain political influence with King Claudius. Like Claudius has done with his dear older brother, they were even willing to murder someone close in their lives, Prince Hamlet. In order to gain Claudius’s favor, Guildenstern even stated “Most holy and religious fear it is, to keep those many, many bodies safe that live and feed upon your majesty.” (Act 3, Scene 3, Lines 7-10 Crowther) This statement is regarding Hamlet’s seemingly insane state; Guildenstern (and Rosencrantz) had essentially turned their back on Hamlet and decided to go down a corrupted path. Their greed allowed the murder of their former best friend to be a virtually simple and necessary task. Guildenstern even further confirms this; “But we both obey and here give up ourselves, in the full bent, to lay our service freely at your feet to be commanded.” (Act 2, Scene 2, Lines 29-32 Crowther)

Vengeance plays a key role in the drama; three sons within the text have their own story of revenge within the plot. (Shmoop Editorial Team) The most important revenge story within the script follows Prince Hamlet’s desire to kill his uncle, Claudius, for the cold assassination of his father, King Hamlet, with a deadly poison in the King’s slumber. His vengeance does not come swiftly although, as Hamlet’s tragic flaw is his indecision and hesitation to commit to any one action. Hamlet’s indecisiveness allows the drama of the play to unfold and spiral to even further tragedy and catastrophe. Hamlet sought vengeance because his goal was partly to end the corruption and madness within the confines of the Royal Court of Denmark. Hamlet in essence, “recognizes the decay of the Danish society”. As stated, this task of restoring society would be accomplished when the representation of this decay, Claudius, dies. ("Hamlet By William Shakespeare Character Analysis: Hamlet.") By killing Claudius, Prince Hamlet would avenge Hamlet Senior’s death and restore order...
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