Catharsis in Shakespeare's Play Hamlet

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Muhammad 1
Salman Muhammad
Ms. K. Rodgers
ENG4U0
November, 28, 2012
Written Analysis and Brief Dramatic Sketch of Catharsis Catharsis is derived from Greek verb “Kathoros” which translates as to purify or to make clean. The term has been applied to numerous situations such as medicine and literature. In medicine, catharsis may literally mean the removal of excess material from the body that is produced due to an illness. In psychiatry, the early social scientist also interested in the term to describe the moment when a person clearly articulated a past memory and was able to feel it fully, often, especially according to Freud, leaving the person free of the pain of the past. However, catharsis takes on a slightly different meaning in literature. The term refers to any emotional release that brings about a moral renewal or welcome relief from tension and anxiety. The usual intent is for an audience to discharge emotions and leave feeling this relief from tension and anxiety after having viewed a tragic action in a play.
The catharsis that Aristotle writes of occurs at the end of the play when the audience can finally breathe a sigh of relief. This catharsis in Hamlet is brought about by the swordfight. Hamlet must fight with Laertes, and in the process, Gertrude is killed, Claudius is killed, Laertes is killed, and Hamlet himself is killed. But the catharsis is achieved when a warring prince from Norway comes upon the scene of death, hears the tragic story of Hamlet's life, and decides to treat Hamlet's body like that of a hero. Although the ending is tragic, it does contain an element of closure, thus bring about a catharsis for those who have watched it.
Catharsis is quite pleasurable because it involves a feeling of astonishment and a state of trance where the person experiencing it, while watching a tragedy, thinks there are others who are the recipient of even greater tragedy than him. One feels an emptying of feelings and resolving of raging

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