Victim of a Corrupt World
Troubled by royal treason, ruthless scheming, and a ghost, Denmark is on the verge of destruction. Directly following King Hamlet's death, the widowed Queen Gertrude remarried Claudius, the King's brother. Prince Hamlet sees the union of his mother and uncle as a "hasty and incestuous" act (Charles Boyce, 232). He then finds out that Claudius is responsible for his father's treacherous murder. His father's ghost asks Hamlet to avenge his death and Hamlet agrees. He plans very carefully, making sure that he doesn't kill Claudius when in he has already been forgiven for his sins. Hamlet accidentally kills Polonius, the King's advisor, thinking that it was Claudius hiding behind a curtain spying on Hamlet and his mother. This drives Ophelia, Polonius' daughter and Hamlet's love interest, insane. She then drowns in a suspected suicide when she falls from a tree into a river. Laertes, Ophelia's brother, teams up with Claudius and plot revenge on the strained prince. Hamlet agrees to a sword match with Laertes not knowing that Laertes will have a sharp, poisoned sword while he will be given a blunted sword. To make sure that their plan to kill Hamlet works, Claudius poisoned a drink to give to Hamlet but Gertrude ends up drinking it causing their plan to unravel. Laertes then wounds Hamlet with the poisoned sword, but in the scuffle they exchange weapons and Hamlet slices Laeretes with the toxic blade. He then slashes Claudius with the poisoned blade and forces him to drink from the toxic cup. The four of them die but with his dying breath, Hamlet pleads with Horatio not to drink from the cup so he can tell his tragic story and announces Fortinbras as the King of Denmark.
In this tragic story, Hamlet is a deeply sensitive man, too good and too noble to cope with or remain in the wicked world in which he finds himself. According to the prince, the whole world is corrupt, he disowns life by saying, "How weary, stale, flat,...
Cited: Boyce, Charles
Shakespeare A to Z 1991, Dell Publishing
Kronenberger, Louis and William Shakespeare
Hamlet: "A Riddle in Greatness" 1965, Hought Miffline Company
Hamlet 1992, Washington Square Press
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