Critical Analysis of Hamlet: Character Analysis and the Themes of Revenge and Manipulation

Better Essays
The play Hamlet is a text that despite its age and Elizabethan linguistic style is still resoundingly relevant to today’s modern audience due to its ability to move past time related contextual barriers and capture the universality of the human condition with its infinite confusion as evident in the character of Prince Hamlet, its ability to influence and manipulate as well as its reaction to such manipulation, revenge.

The character of Hamlet himself is very relatable today especially to young students, the reason that the play still thrives today is due to the universal relevance that his conflicting emotions hold for us. Hamlet being a university student of Wittenberg; intelligently tries like men today to justify his life, as can be seen evident of his quoting of both Aristotle and Boethius. However unable to express himself he runs rampant through his own thoughts creating elaborate wordplay and metaphors such as “get thee to a nunnery” which simultaneously means both a place of chastity as well as slang for a brothel, reflecting Hamlets confusion with female sexuality. He like a teenager is brash and impulsive, for every thoughtful soliloquy “To be or not to be” there is a burst of rage or impulsive remark, in his opening encounter with the ghost in Act i Scene iv he says “I’ll make a ghost of anyone who stands in my way” before running off after the apparition. Throughout the play he not only rages at the antagonist Claudius, but his girlfriend in Act iii Scene i and his mother in Act iii Scene iv of which the latter he stabs Polonius through the curtain without even seeing who was there. He interrupts his own production of the Mousetrap with rude remarks and condemns Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to death using his father’s signet ring while on route to England. An analysis of Hamlet’s character reveals that he clearly does not know what he wants, his thoughts are universally reflected by those of men today. In Hamlets 2nd soliloquy Act ii Scene ii he

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Good Essays

    Hamlet Essay In the play Hamlet written by William Shakespeare, several characters attempt to lure their foes into their death as payback for any wrongdoing. This highlights the main theme of revenge in the play. Revenge is a constant theme throughout the plot. Not only does it underlie almost every scene, but it also has a major effect on the story as a whole. Three of the main revenge plots within the play are Hamlet's aim to avenge his father by killing his uncle, Laertes' target to avenge…

    • 756 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Revenge Themes in Hamlet

    • 1062 Words
    • 5 Pages

    In the play ‘Hamlet' written by William Shakespeare in Elizabethan times, the theme of revenge is a constant throughout the plot. Not only does it underlie almost every scene, but it also has a major effect on the story as a whole. Two of the main revenge plots within the play are Hamlet's aim to avenge his father by killing his uncle, the king Claudius, and Laertes' aim to avenge the murder of his father by killing Hamlet. These two revenge plots play a major role in presenting to the audience the…

    • 1062 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Better Essays

    Theme of Revenge in Hamlet

    • 1109 Words
    • 5 Pages

    In Hamlet by William Shakespeare, the theme of revenge is so prominent that it could be considered its own character. The vengeance in Hamlet is essential to the development of Laertes, son of Polonius, Hamlet, prince of Denmark, and Fortinbras, prince of Norway. Revenge is an unnecessary evil causing humans to act blindly through anger rather than through reason. Referring as far back as Hammurabi’s idea of “An eye for an eye,” revenge is merely a chain of wrongdoings stimulated each time by a…

    • 1109 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark was written by the world renowned, English poet, playwright, and actor, William Shakespeare, between 1599 and 1602. Scholars suggest that Shakespeare’s inspiration came from the legend of Amleth, which follows the storyline of The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark very closely. Shakespeare’s tragedy takes place in the Kingdom of Denmark, where we meet a multitude of seemingly ordinary characters, who ultimately meet untimely deaths. The play revolves around…

    • 419 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Next, the issue of manipulation within Hamlet, where he bends people’s emotions to fit his will. Sociopaths use their charm and intelligence to manipulate others to get their wants and having a lack of empathy allows them to do this with no sense of guilt. Shakespeare expresses Hamlet’s feelings to his mother during the bedroom scene about her recent marriage, “Mother, you have my father much offended… Go, go, you question with a wicked tongue.” (2.4.14-16). Hamlet is upset yet feels no guilt when…

    • 227 Words
    • 1 Page
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Theme Analysis: Hamlet

    • 979 Words
    • 4 Pages

    HAMLET In William Shakespeare’s Hamlet many of the values, attitudes and critical interpretations stem from his relationships and interactions with other characters such as Claudius, Gertrude and Laertes. This can be explored in the thematic concerns of the dichotomy of action and inaction, social corruption and vengeance with the critical interpretations of late 20th century psychoanalysis and comparison to conventions of a revenge tragedy, specifically Thomas Kyd’s Spanish Tragedy. The prevailing…

    • 979 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Shakespeare's Hamlet is a complex play where many themes are intertwined - themes that are essential to the development of the play. The issue of death and disease, both physical and emotional is very prevalent throughout the duration of the play, as well as fate and divine intervention. The play also questions madness and whether it can be feigned, as well as corruption and its moral implications. Also the 'To be or not to be' soliloquy, where Hamlet not only questions life and death, but many of…

    • 1370 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Throughout the tragedy of Hamlet, Shakespeare writes about Hamlet’s journey of seeking revenge. The play begins with Marcellus and Barnardo taking watch over the Denmark castle one night and running into a ghost in the shape of King Hamlet who recently passed. Along with these two men enters Francisco and Horatio, Hamlet’s friends, who also witness the appearance of the ghost and decide to inform Hamlet of what they have seen. After explaining to Hamlet what they have seen they advise him to see…

    • 503 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    responsibility of revenge on the perpetrator falls to Hamlet, since he believes his father was murdered. Hamlet learned the events that unfolded during his father’s murder in the garden from a ghost that claimed to be the spirit of King Hamlet. In both soliloquies, his desire and drive to kill Claudius is “prompted to [his] revenge by heaven and hell” (2.2.547). His thoughts of revenge derive from seeing his father’s thought to be spirit in purgatory. The ghost that visited Hamlet may be the “devil”…

    • 512 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Hamlet Character analysis

    • 917 Words
    • 3 Pages

    Hamlet The tragic hero of one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays, Prince Hamlet is a frustrating character torn between duty to his father and his reluctance to commit murder. An educated and philosophical man of about thirty, his father was murdered by his uncle, who later married his mother. Having received a university education at Wittenberg; known for its humanist view, Hamlet often ponders the concepts of mortality and determinism, contrasting ironically with his fated fall. His debatable…

    • 917 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays