In representing intense human relationships in Hamlet, Shakespeare reflects human characteristics and so makes his play more accessible to audiences across the ages. In particular, Shakespeare explores familial relationships such as Hamlet’s strong love and loyalty to his late father, which manifests itself first as grief, then as a desire for revenge. Hamlet’s method of revenge is contrasted with Laertes’ in order to communicate the value of contemplation of rash action and to demonstrate the often blinding nature of revenge that leads to devastating events. These profound and complex relationships between Hamlet and his father and Hamlet and Laertes, captivates audiences through the drama they provoke, and thus gives Hamlet an enduring quality.
The intensity of Hamlet’s relationship with his father is most prominently seen when he encounters the ghost. His grief for his dead father, communicated through such descriptive language as “How weary, stale, flat and unprofitable / Seem to me all the uses of this world,” now fuels his anger at Claudius and his eagerness for revenge. He says to the ghost “Haste me to know’t, that I with wings as swift / As meditation or the thoughts of love / May sweep to my revenge.” Shakespeare uses words such as ‘haste’ and ‘swift’ to communicate Hamlet’s keenness, in conjunction with the metaphor of the wings which are a faster means of transport than feet. It is Hamlet’s intense love for his father that generates his vengeance in which Shakespeare reflects the human essence, making his play more accessible and captivating to audiences so that it may endure through the years. Love of family members, an idea still relevant today, is further expressed in Laertes’ rage at the death of his father: “To hell allegiance, vows to the blackest devil, / Conscience and grace to the profoundest pit! / I dare damnation.” The strong and widespread belief in heaven and hell during Shakespeare’s time, gives this...
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