Hamlet is a valued text because it explores challenging ideas of love and rivalry.
Discuss this statement in the light of your understanding of William Shakespeare's Hamlet. In your response, make detailed reference to the play.
Hamlet is one of Shakespeare’s most prominent and valued texts as it encompasses the universality of the human condition through the challenging ideas of love and rivalry. The universal ideas of love and rivalry are evident within contemporary society as aspects of human nature enabling the play to be valued in all contexts. Shakespeare presents a variation in the type of love from filial love to the romantic love between Ophelia and Hamlet, and the rivalry driven by vengence exerted from Hamlet and Laertes. Shakespeare adopted the Kydian Revenge Tragedy as a framework to convey the ideas of love and rivalry as the play explores these ideas through characters which reflect the Elizabethan society and the values and expectations of the period. The conflicts arising between ideas of love and rivalry directs the play towards tragedy as it is tainted by corruption, where those who are in contact with it suffer immense consequences – their lives.
The human idea of filial love and strong belief in duty fosters the underlying corruption throughout the play. In the opening scene, the play reveals Denmark is undermined by an unavoidable current of corruption “something is rotten in the state of Denmark”. Shakespeare’s portrayal of Hamlet as he mourns for his father’s death expresses the filial love he has for his father, regardless of being taunted for his “unmanly grief”. This affection is deepened through Hamlet’s passionate oath to avenge his father’s “murder most foul...strange and unnatural”. The entire play hinges upon Hamlet’s oath to the Ghost, as he is unable to resist the moral dilemma of being forced to carry out the Ghost’s bidding. This recognises the imbalance in the Chain of Being as “the time is out of joint” from the...
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