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Hamlet on The Great Chain of Being being disturbed and leading to a bad ending

By yuyu_sy Mar 21, 2004 777 Words
"The time is out of joint; O cursed spite, That ever was I born to set it right!"# This quote is from the play Hamlet, by William Shakespeare, spoken by Hamlet. He knows that the Great Chain of Being is disturbed and he is the one that has to set it back to normal. The Great Chain of Being is a scale where everything is put in its place, from Heaven to Hell. Disturbing the Great Chain of Being will result in a bad ending. In Hamlet, Shakespeare shows that disturbing the Great Chain of Being can lead to bad ending. The characters Hamlet and Claudius can prove this, since they both disturb the chain in the play.

In the play, Hamlet is the son of the former king. When King Hamlet dies, Claudius inherits the throne because Hamlet is too young to be King. Afterward, Hamlet finds out that it was Claudius that killed his father, so he devotes himself in avenging his father's death. Although he is trying to set the chain back to normal, but also disturbing it, since Claudius is King. While Hamlet finds a way to kill Claudius, he acts mad in front of people he does not trust. Polonius, being nosy and ambitious, volunteers to spy on Hamlet while he speaks to his mother. When Polonius thought Gertrude was in danger, he screams for help. Hamlet mistakes him as Claudius and kills him without even thinking. Polonius' death and Hamlet neglecting Ophelia causes her to feel lost, and go insane. "We know what we are, but know not what we may be"# This quote foreshadows how she feels lost in this world, and do not now what she is going to do in the future. She feels there are no place in the world for her anymore, so she chooses to leave it and drowns herself. Hamlet disturbing the chain has caused Polonius and Ophelia's death. This is also how it leads to how Laertes and Hamlet dies.

Hamlet killing Polonius is also disturbing the Great Chain of Being. Thus, causes the death of Laertes and himself. Killing Polonius causes Laertes to want to kill him to avenge for his father. Claudius knows that Hamlet wants to kill him, so he persuades Laertes that Polonius' death is all Hamlets fault. Claudius send Hamlet to England, thinking that he would never return after that. When he finds out that Hamlet did not die, he creates a plan with Laertes to kill Hamlet. The plan is have Laertes ad Hamlet has a duelling match, then have Laertes wound Hamlet with a poisoned sword. When Laertes and Hamlet fights in the match, Laertes wounds Hamlet with the sword, but then they switch swords and Hamlets wounds Laertes. In the end, they both die from the poisoned sword. Hamlet wanting to kill Claudius at the beginning already breaks the chain, and then he kills Polonius, causing different kinds of trouble and then death at the end.

Another character that disturbs the Great Chain of Being is Claudius. He kills his brother King Hamlet so he can be the king, and then marries his brother's wife. This causes the deaths of Polonius, Gertrude and himself. Claudius caused the death of Polonius is because if Hamlet did not want to get revenge for his father, then he would not have mistaken Polonius for Claudius and kills Polonius. "How now? a rat? Dead for a ducat, dead!"# This quote proves that Hamlet wanted to kill Claudius, instead of Polonius. Thus Polonius died for Claudius in a way. After Polonius dies, Claudius comes up with the plan of duelling match, and the poison drink in case Hamlet does not get wounded. When Hamlet wins the match, Claudius congratulates Hamlet with the poison drink, but Gertrude takes it and drinks it for her son, and dies. Then when Hamlet finds out that the plan is all Claudius' idea; he kills Claudius with the poisoned sword and makes him drink the poison drink. Claudius breaking the Great Chain of Being caused the death of himself and of other people around him. This includes how Claudius killing people or him causing their deaths.

In conclusion, the above arguments proves that in Hamlet, Shakespeare shows that disturbing the Great Chain of Being cab result a disastrous ending for anyone that is involved. In the play, Hamlet and Claudius both disturbs the chain, causing themselves and their family and friends to die. Claudius breaks the chain by killing is brother and marrying his brother's wife. Hamlet breaks it by wanting to restore the chain, since Claudius broke it, but while restoring the chain, he also breaks the chain.

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