William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet follows the life of Hamlet, the rightful heir to the throne of Denmark. Throughout the play Hamlet has to deal with the death of his father and remarriage of his mother, the betrayal and spying on by his closest friends and family, and his antic disposition, causing him to be increasingly isolated as the play continues. These three things affect Hamlet deeply and he avoids everyone in his attempt to isolate himself and make his plans on how to fix that which was made wrong from the beginning. Hamlet’s isolation all begins with a death and a sudden marriage within the family.
When Hamlet’s father dies, Hamlet goes through a mourning and grieving period in which he isolates himself from everyone. The death causes him to return from Wittenburg and have to face everyone he does not wish to see while mourning. After this not only does he have to witness the burial of his father but he also has to face seeing his mother remarry to his uncle Claudius who is also the new king of Denmark: “Why, she would hang on him, as if increase of appetite had grown by what it fed on. And get within a month – Let me not think on it – Frailty, thy name is woman -.” (1.2.145-148) Hamlet speaks of how he cannot understand how his mother was to remarry so soon. Hamlet is angry with his mother and calls her frail for leaving his deceased father. As Hamlet sees all of this happening to him, he attempts to avoid being near people and when he is near anybody, especially Claudius, he chooses to speak in the most sarcastic of tones: “But now, my cousin Hamlet, and my son – A little more than kin, and less than kind.” (1.2.65-66) This is Hamlets way of saying to Claudius that just because he has married Hamlet’s mother Gertrude, it still does not make him Hamlet’s father and that he does not approve of Claudius’ attempt at being fatherly and that Hamlet resents Claudius. Hamlet’s isolation is becoming more apparent as he continues to mourn for his late father and this isolation only worsens as he learns the true ways of his father death.
After the death of Hamlet’s father, Hamlet is quick to learn from the ghost of his father the Claudius was the King Hamlet’s killer and the death was murder. Hamlet must now seek to avenge his father’s death. To do this, Hamlet makes the decision to throw on an antic disposition to throw people off of his knowledge about the murder: “Here, as before, never, so help you mercy, How strange or odd so ever I bear myself, As I perchance hereafter shall think meet to put an antic disposition on-.” (1.5.186-190) Hamlet states that he will be acting mad so Claudius will not know about Hamlet’s knowing. He is also telling his friends so that they know of this and not tell a soul that his madness is only an act. This antic disposition that Hamlet puts on only adds to his isolation because he does not want anybody to talk to him so that he is further able to think and plan how is will get his revenge on Claudius. The more isolated Hamlet becomes from this act of madness, the more people become more suspicious of Hamlet which only worsens the isolation.
During the play Hamlet’s isolation is getting worse and worse, and it hits a peak when Claudius begins to send people to spy on Hamlet so that information can be gained in order to find out what Hamlet truly knows: “Good gentlemen, give him a further edge, and drive his purpose on to these delights. We shall my lord.” (3.1.28-30) King Claudius informs Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to spy on Hamlet and see what is truly wrong with him because now Claudius is suspicious. As Hamlet comes to realize everyone’s suspicions of him, he isolates himself even further from everyone in order to avoid them finding out what his true goals are. As people spy, Hamlet becomes angry and lashes out at people since he wishes to be left alone and does not like being spied on: “Where’s your father? At home, my lord. Let the doors be shut upon him that me may play the fool no where but in his own house.” (3.1.140-144) Hamlet says to not let Polonius out of the house because he knows that Polonius is being nosey and spying on him and that he should not play the fool anywhere but in his own abode. The more Hamlet’s spied upon the more he isolates himself from everyone, which only furthers everyone’s suspicions.
Throughout the play, Hamlet digs himself deeper and deeper into isolation and furthers himself from the other characters in order to follow through on his original goal. Beginning from a death and sudden remarriage in the family, to an antic disposition, and ending with all of his friends and family’s betrayal and spying, Hamlet grows extremely isolated from people. This isolation took over Hamlet in a way that could not be predicted from the beginning of the play and shows how Hamlet is truly a fascinating character to read about. William Shakespeare wrote a phenomenal play which continues to be enjoyed still 400 years later as Hamlet is one of the most studied characters in all of Shakespeare’s work.