Hamlet Theme Analysis

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In William Shakespeare’s tragedy Hamlet, the title character’s logical soliloquies, and over thinking of situations inhibit his abilities to act on his passions. It’s safe to say that Hamlet was a logical and reasonable person right from the start. In the society he was raised in most actions carried out through passion were considered taboo. Take jealousy, lust and vengeance for example; in the play all of these passions are put into satisfying action by the people surrounding Hamlet. Everyone but Hamlet makes a move based on emotion; Claudius murdered his brother for his crown, Gertrude quickly married Claudius, and Laertes takes revenge on Hamlet. The prince, instead, takes the path of thought and only allows himself to do what he makes himself believe is the most logical.

In the beginning Hamlet is distressed. He feels no compassion for his new stepfather considering him “a little more than kin and less than kind” (I.ii.67), as Claudius is not a replacement for his father and Hamlet refuses to accept that. He most definitely does not stand for Claudius referring to him as ‘son.’

His relationship with his mother isn’t any better. Hamlet feels a strong resentment toward this whole marriage business and expresses his displeasure through riddles in court. “Ay, madam,” he says disdainfully toward his mother’s insistence that he stop mourning and that death is a common occurrence, “it is common” (I.ii 76). In Hamlet’s eyes she has betrayed his father by marrying so soon, in fact by re-marrying at all; especially to Claudius, the king’s brother. Claudius attempts to make it look like everyone is friends in the eyes of the court by trying to sympathize with Hamlet but ends up just telling him to suck it up and deal with his father’s death like a man. “Take it to heart? Fie! ‘tis a fault to heaven/A fault against the dead, a fault to nature” (I.ii 104). Hamlet’s mourning is not natural to his family much as their marriage is not natural to him. So when his new daddy dearest refuses to let him out of the country to go back to school Hamlet feels even more out of place because now, he can’t escape.

In every soliloquy we hear from Hamlet there is talk of suicide. The most obvious of all, “to be or not to be, that is the question:” (III.i.63) Or earlier mention of self harm after the coronation of the new king. “Or that the Everlasting had not fix’d/His canon ‘gainst self-slaughter” (I.ii.134).

However, Hamlet is a logical guy and he knows suicide would cause a big mess and besides, in the first soliloquy it is evident that Hamlet would rather be anywhere but Denmark, even the grave but he finds there are better things to be ranting about; like his mother’s remarriage. “O God! a beast that wants discourse of reason/Would have mourn’d longer--married with my uncle,/My father’s brother, but no more like my father/Than I to Hercules” (I.ii.154). Hamlet can’t find a single good thing to come out of this union and his opinion of his mother has been flipped onto its head. So he deals with an internal conflict; “But break, my heart, for I must hold my tongue!”(I.ii.162), he can’t exactly go around telling everyone that his mother is a whore. She’s the queen and he the prince, it would be more trouble than it’s worth to go about making accusations especially since Claudius made it clear that he was weird for mourning for so long. So, onward goes Hamlet’s little self/Claudius loathing party.

Hamlet’s trusted friend Horatio tells him some very interesting news. Horatio tells Hamlet that his father’s ghost had been spotted in the courtyards and that it wouldn’t answer to anyone no matter what. Horatio believes that our young prince must see what this ghost has to offer. Hamlet is excited to say the least when the ghost appears “That I will speak to thee. I’ll call thee Hamlet,/King, father, royal Dane. O answer me!”(I.iv. 47). He follows the ghost and the ghost tells Hamlet that he was murdered by Claudius and that Hamlet...
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