Top-Rated Free Essay

Strong Emotions in Williams Shakespeare's 'Hamlet'

Better Essays
Hamlet
In Act 1:1 of Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’ the audience is shown the ghost of the dead King Hamlet and the genre of a revenge tragedy is introduced. The scene is set in the night which immediately creates a sense of mystery, intrigue and apprehension, linking to the feelings created by the idea of ghosts and the supernatural which were typical of Elizabethan revenge tragedy playwrights. Shakespeare also uses various language techniques to create this mood in this scene. The scene begins with the guard Bernardo asking the question ‘Who’s there?’ creating a tense mood of uncertainty. Half lines are also used by Shakespeare to create a broken rhythm in the conversation, increasing the feelings of insecurity and unease as the text does not flow. The discussion about the Ghost is full of contrasts and tensions showing the uncertainty felt by the characters. Marcellus states ‘Horatio says tis but our fantasy/ And will not let belief take hold of him’, showing the audience that Horatio is sceptical towards the existence of the supernatural. We see that Horatio is an educated, rational character as Marcellus seems to respect and depend on his opinion for deciding on the existence of the ghost. This loyalty in Horatio’s opinion juxtaposes with the treacherous news that Hamlet is about to receive regarding his father’s murder by Claudius. As Horatio is an educated character, his part-acceptance of the Ghost’s existence could persuade the audience to believe in the Ghost as well, as Horatio’s testimony is far more convincing than what the superstitious watchmen say. Marcellus goes on to call the Ghost ‘majestical’ but Horatio says that it acted ‘like a guilty thing’. This indicates that there’s confusion over the Ghost’s intentions and origin from the start. The Ghost also foreshadows the tragedy to come. Horatio wonders if it ‘bodes some strange relation to the eruption to our state’ and suspects the Ghost may have some supernatural knowledge of the ‘country’s fate’ which could save Denmark. This and the Ghost’s military uniform reminds the audience of the likelihood of war, building more tension. This and the Ghost’s silence when it enters build suspense and stronger feelings of uncertainty in both the characters and audience. The Ghost’s origin and motives are already being questioned without being resolved developing the theme of doubt; this is unusual for a typical Elizabethan revenge tragedy showing us that Shakespeare challenged traditional conventions.
In Shakespeare’s time the church taught that revenge was a sin – it was wrong for a man to settle disputes himself as the Bible says revenge is God’s responsibility. This explains why when Hamlet sees the Ghost of his father he wonders whether it is the ‘devil’ in a ‘pleasing shape’ because it tempts him to commit the sin of revenge. This temptation emphasises Hamlet’s strong feelings of love and loyalty to his father as he is willing to go against God in order to please his father by avenging his death. The conflict between Christian values and the duty of blood revenge would have contradicted with the Protestant Church’s teachings and became a common theme in Elizabethan revenge theatre. This may have been because religious upheaval during the period made people question their beliefs. This means the audience may have been able to empathise more with Hamlet’s situation allowing him to build a stronger relationship with the audience and expose his emotions more throughout the play, especially during his soliloquies. Although the Ghost rejects Hamlet’s pitiful feelings, the Ghost’s first move is to stir it up by describing his purgatorial suffering. In Act 1 Scene 5 the Ghost terrifies Hamlet with the prospect of divine wrath but then calls upon Hamlet’s sense of filial duty to commit a deed that will condemn him to it. The Ghost described murder as ‘most foul, as in the best it is’, and the murder of a king who is also a near relative as ‘most foul, strange and unnatural’ whilst asking the Prince to commit such a crime. It dwells luridly upon Gertrude’s sexual depravity but then tells Hamlet not to think ill of her. Hamlet is given a battery of double messages and the Ghost’s ambiguity provides Hamlet with feelings of confusion and hesitation which delay his revenge. This spiritual dilemma threatens Hamlet’s sanity and causes him to doubt his beliefs. Hamlet’s faith in humanity is already shaken by his mother’s hasty marriage but in this scene he has to rethink his entire world view, as the Ghost’s uncertain origins and motives suggest to him that there are no certain moral truths, even in the afterlife.
In his conversation with his father’s ghost, Hamlet states, ‘that I, with wings as swift/As meditation or the thoughts of love/May sweep to my revenge.’ This quotation expresses further Hamlet’s feelings of love for his father as before he is even aware of Claudius’ actions he is promising his father that he will avenge him. The metaphor ‘with wings as swift/ As meditation or the thoughts of love’ suggest that Hamlet will take action and justify the situation immediately, even faster than a person falls in love at first sight suggesting not only the speed of which he will act, but showing that he is susceptible to romantic feelings, perhaps relating to how quickly he fell in love with his love interest in the play, Ophelia. After reading the play we can see that this quotation is quite ironic and highlights Hamlet’s fatal flaw, - inaction, as he is not as outgoing or courageous as he builds himself up to be when he fails to kill Claudius in Act 3 Scene 3. The repeated bird-like imagery used by Hamlet here to describe himself in ‘with wings as swift’ and ‘sweep to my revenge’ suggests Hamlet sees himself as quite majestic and powerful, showing that here Hamlet sees himself as strong, maybe due to his position as a Prince or perhaps Hamlet feels it is necessary to make himself look more powerful in order to impress and honour his father, showing his ongoing love for him. This confused simile is also used by Shakespeare to signal Hamlet’s unfitness for the role of revenge hero as Hamlet’s lyrical words, ‘meditation or the thoughts of love’ are deliberately out of tune with the powerful bird-like imagery and the sentiments the situation demands. The Ghost’s response is a cunning mixture of ironic praise and implied criticism, ‘I find thee apt, / And duller shouldst thou be… / Wouldst thou not stir in this’. ‘Dullness’ and a feeling of failing to live up to what is expected of him, will be something Hamlet castigates himself for a number of times before sailing away from Denmark halfway through Act IV.
Scene 2 of Act 1 is in stark contrast with Scene 1. The first scene has a dark, foreboding atmosphere, whilst in Scene 2 Shakespeare introduces a brightly lit and seemingly carefree court introduced by a ‘flourish’. This ‘flourish’ seems uncomfortable and inappropriate to the audience given that King Hamlet has only recently died. There is a sense throughout the scene that the court is pretending that everything’s normal and is trying to shake off the gloom and anxiety that lay beyond the castle walls in Scene 1. The figure of Hamlet stands alone, isolated by his black clothes and evident hostility to the king. Claudius is introduced as an able King, the slave of a murderous ambition; he presents himself as someone whose judgment controls his passions. He says ‘discretion’ has overcome his natural grief for his ‘dear brother’. This respectable way of addressing his deceased brother is dramatic irony and seems very insincere to the audience given the circumstances of his murder. Claudius uses odd, contrasting combinations of words such as ‘wisest sorrow’, ‘mirth in funeral’ and ‘dirge in marriage’ which don’t work together. Shakespeare uses this and the fact the Claudius deals with three items of business before confronting Hamlet to suggest to the audience that he feels far uneasier than he seems to be. His apparently comfortable control of affairs is abruptly checked by the Prince’s cryptic but evident hostility. There is a striking discord between the steady rhythm and melodious tone of the blank verse which Claudius’ speech followed and the Prince’s witty, staccato responses showing the cracks and tension in their relationship. Hamlet’s words are rude and oblique and he speaks in riddles sot that he can be rude to Claudius whilst giving little away to the court. We see Hamlet’s feelings of hatred towards Claudius in his aside, ‘A little more than kin, and less than kind.’ Here we can see how much Hamlet hates Claudius as he rejects the idea of bearing any relation to him. Hamlet is ‘more than kin’ now he’s both Claudius’ nephew and stepson however he feels he is ‘less than kind’ in two senses of the word: he is neither kindly disposed towards his uncle, nor does he feel he is of the same species due to Claudius’ inhumane, treacherous actions in murdering King Hamlet. Shakespeare uses this quotation as an aside to create an exclusive, intimate relationship between Hamlet and the audience. Hamlet continues to speak in a private language where a word has many different meanings: ‘Not so, my lord; I am too much I’ the sun’. The isolation of the phrase ‘my lord’ suggests Hamlet’s speaking in a sarcastic tone to highlight his lack of respect for Claudius. Claudius’ fawning, calling him his ‘son’, revolts Hamlet. He is having too much of the ‘son’ and also of the ‘sun’, suggesting that he still carries gloomy feelings of grievance and sadness after his fathers death.
It is only when Hamlet’s mother, Queen Gertrude intervenes that Hamlet begins to speak more intelligibly, if still defiantly, suggesting that he respects his mother, however, his morals are more important. Sorrow is one of Hamlet’s most evident emotions throughout the play, initially the only cause being his father’s death. In this scene however, we see that another source of his melancholy is his mother’s hasty marriage to Claudius which causes him to be very distant, dismissive and disrespectful towards his mother. Surrounded by people whom Hamlet sees acting as if nothing shocking has happened, he is stung by her words, ‘Why seems it so particular with thee?’, suggesting that Hamlet continues to feel too much sorrow in his fathers death. Hamlet takes this to be an accusation that his mourning is play-acting, he feels this is unfair as it his mother who must have been acting the bereaved widow just a week or two previously. Hamlet replies, ‘Seems, madam! Nay it is; I know not ‘seems’.’ This twisted repetition of his mother’s words is used by Hamlet to comment on Queen Gertrude’s morals and continues throughout the scene, showing Hamlet’s wit and intelligence in his short, quick sarcastic replies. The apostrophes on the word ‘seems’ suggest Hamlet takes quite an ironic tone, perhaps he is calling his mother a liar for ignoring Claudius’ role in his father’s death. This disrespectful way of talking to his mother emphasises how deep his sorrow and bitterness towards the remarriage of his mother is for him to insult her in such a mocking and quite aggressive tone. Shakespeare’s audience would have been struck by the parallels with the scandal surrounding Mary Queen of Scots as she too failed to observe a proper period of mourning for her husband. She chose to remarry a few short month’s after her Henry’s death, compounding her disrespect for custom by marrying Bothwell, the man commonly believed to have murdered her husband.
Shakespeare uses soliloquy so Hamlet can share with the audience feelings he could not voice in public. His soliloquy in Act 1:2 is the first time the audience sees him alone. It introduces Hamlet as a depressed young man, fantasizing about death and anxious about his mother’s remarriage. It begins, ‘O, that this too too solid flesh would melt/ Thaw and resolve itself into a dew!’ emphasising Hamlet’s sadness and despair in his suicidal thoughts. The imagery of melting into‘dew’ is quite gentle showing us that Hamlet perhaps does not wish for any revenge or conflict, he desires to simply be able to ‘melt’ away from the whole situation showing his longing for happiness and inner peace. The word ‘resolve’ also suggests that Hamlet sees death as a positive thing that could bring him joy, therefore showing the audience the height of his depression. The repetition of the word ‘too’ and use of the exclamation ’O’ throughout his speech show Hamlet’s frustration and despair as he feels trapped with no way out. Hamlet seems to have decided that his only way of finding happiness would be through death; however, God has ‘fix’d his canon ‘gainst self-slaughter’. The ‘canon ‘gainst self-slaughter’ is the sixth commandment which forbids all murder, including suicide, which informs the audience that Hamlet is a loyal character as he continues to maintain his faith regardless of his awful circumstances. This commitment contrasts with Claudius’ treacherous actions as unlike Claudius, Hamlet feels bound by such an injunction. Hamlet’s lack of an escape is emphasised by Shakespeare in the fact that almost all the scenes in the play are set inside Elsinore Castle. This creates a claustrophobic feeling which provokes Hamlet’s frustration as it suggests Hamlet is imprisoned by the events in his life.
Hamlet continues, describing the uses of the world as ‘weary, stale, flat and unprofitable’, highlighting his depression as he fails to find even one positive aspect. His use of a list makes the negative points seem endless as he describes the world as dull and drained in his eyes. The listless tempo of his words conveys his weariness and exhaustion emphasising his desire to give up and end his life. The whole verse starts and stops, punctuated by expressions of pain and confusion whilst the disjointed rhythm and dislocated progress of Hamlet’s thoughts communicate to us his inner turmoil. When Hamlet moves on to speak of his father we see that King Hamlet was obviously a figure of eternal love and respect for the Prince. He was not just and ‘excellent’ King but superhuman, at the opposite end of the human spectrum from Claudius: ‘Hyperion to a satyr’. The picture Hamlet paints of his father’s love for his mother is also on an epic scale, he was so loving to her ‘that he might not beteem the winds of heaven / Visit her face too roughly’. This conjures up the image of a huge protective figure, shielding Gertrude from all dangers, showing the audience that Hamlet saw his father as a hero and a role model. Hamlet’s very positive view of his father encourages him to have a negative opinion on Gertrude as he feels highly insulted that she thinks anyone would be capable of replacing his father, especially a weak and scheming man like Claudius. Hamlet’s bewilderment and disgust at his mother’s hasty remarriage and sexual depravity is revealed in his comparison of her to an experienced post-horse. The disgust is present not only in the imagery but in the sounds of Hamlet’s words. Hissing sibilants not only make the speaker spit the words out in anger, but convey the young man’s nausea as, fascinated by the disgusting, he imagines his mother and his uncle in bed together: ‘Had left the flushing in her galled eyes, / She married. O, most wicked speed, to post / With such dexterity to incestuous sheets’. The intensity of Hamlet’s disgust here underlines how impossible he finds it to come to terms with the incestuous union of hid uncle and his mother and the indecent haste of his mother’s re-marriage. Hamlet also uses the word ‘flushing’ ambiguously, as it can also mean ‘blushing’ or ‘washing-out’. The closeness of these meanings reflects Hamlet’s concern that his mother’s tears of grief gave way to the blushes of desire too quickly.
In Act 3:1 Hamlet performs his ‘To be or not to be’ soliloquy which once again discusses suicide, but this time he never refers to himself whilst talking. This suggests that Hamlet is only considering suicide as a philosophical idea and is used dramatically to establish Hamlet as characteristically detached, reflective, analytic, thinking and moral. The soliloquy, describes Hamlet’s morbid and tempestuous feelings. Prior to the soliloquy, Hamlet’s emotions have been in turmoil due to the appearance of his father’s ghost and his mother’s marriage to his uncle. Shakespeare’s use of literary techniques such as diction, imagery and syntax give the reader insight into Hamlet’s thoughts and feelings as he contemplates death and the afterlife, and the problems of life.
Throughout the soliloquy, Shakespeare’s use of punctuation reveals where Hamlet begins to grow particularly emotional. The phrase ‘... and by a sleep to we end the heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to...’ is much longer then the short, terse phrases surrounding it, drawing the reader’s attention. This long phrase shows the swelling of Hamlet’s emotions, and allows the reader to deduce that Hamlet greatly dislikes his earthly pains and finds the bliss of death to be a ‘consummation devoutly to be wish’d’. This quick terse phrase helps to emphasise Hamlet’s opinion of death. Hamlet continues to say, ‘for in that sleep of death what dreams may come when we have shuffled off this mortal coil, must give us pause.’ Hamlet’s fears of the afterlife are emphasised by his outpouring of emotion, which he then pulls quickly to a stop. Hamlet shows uncertainty and indecision throughout most of his soliloquies, which Shakespeare uses to suggest to the reader that Hamlet’s over-thinking is his fatal flaw as a protagonist and the cause of his inaction.
Shakespeare’s use of imagery also helps to convey Hamlet’s belief that he is alone and battling against all odds. Hamlet talks of the ‘slings and arrows of outrageous fortune’ and of ‘taking arms against a sea of troubles.’ By stating that fortune bears weapons of war, Hamlet conveys the idea that he does not find fortune to be some kindhearted goddess, but cruel and unjust. The second phrase evokes an image of a lonely soul standing proudly alone as wave after wave of terrifying adversaries’ attempts to bring him down, which is how Hamlet feels at this moment. During the time of the soliloquy, Hamlet has no one to consult about the death of his father, and therefore feels that he is adrift with nobody to help. Hamlet mentions ‘the whips and scorns of time,’ comparing time to a cruel taskmaster that drives men and women forward unwillingly. Hamlet does not appreciate the manner in which time has torn away the things he loves, including his father, and finds the passage of time to be painful.
Shakespeare’s use of rather unusual syntax, especially colons and semicolons, draws the reader’s attention to specific areas. Colons and semicolons tend to be a rather sparsely used form of punctuation, and its overuse indicates that something particularly significant is about to be told. ‘To die: to sleep; no more’ and ‘To die: to sleep; to sleep: perchance to dream.’ are all amazingly short phrases of two or three words, separated by a semicolon or colon. The reader gains a feeling that Hamlet’s thoughts grow ponderous here, and become so heavy that he is only able to express himself in simple phrases. Unlike the aforementioned long phrases, these are filled more with thought then emotion. In the selections, Hamlet equates dying to sleeping which leads the reader to believe that perhaps he does not find death quite so intimidating. Of course, further along in the soliloquy, Hamlet begins to have his doubts.
Some of Hamlet’s doubts can be found by studying the diction of the play. The land that men travel to after death is referred to as the ‘undiscovered country,’ a term sufficiently ‘scary’ enough to give the reader pause, doesn’t completely nullify the possibility of suicide. Hamlet also uses words such as ‘fardels,’ ‘ills’ and “calamity” in describing life, showing how much he dislikes the futility of life. He also describes men as being ‘cowards’ when they contemplate death and fear what is to come. Because Hamlet has been indecisive in taking action against his uncle, this may be a possible reference to what he thinks of himself, a coward.
Act 3:4 is the only time in the whole play when Hamlet and Gertrude are alone. This allows the audience to observe their relationship and see how Hamlet truly feels about his mother. Hamlet’s internal exclamation of ‘Mother, mother, mother!’ could sound quite childlike and demanding. This suggests to the reader that perhaps Hamlet still has childlike needs for his mother and is possibly pleased that she has called for him. This phrase, however, is said ‘within’ and so we see that Hamlet does not want Gertrude to see his weak and childish desperation for his mother. On the other hand the exclamation mark could suggest that the phrase is exclaimed with anger, showing his frustrated and angry feelings towards Gertrude. Hamlet obviously feels rejected and isolated by Gertrude’s words, ‘Hamlet, thou hast thy father much offended’ as she chooses to defend Claudius over her own son. Gertrude refers to Claudius as Hamlet’s ‘father’ which offends and disgusts Hamlet as he wants to be of no relation to him. This encourages Hamlet to reply to his mother with short, sarcastic, twisted repetitions of her words, similar to his replies in the banquet scene in Act 1:2, perhaps showing the audience how strong his feelings of anger and disgust towards Gertrude due to her remarriage are, because as the play has developed these emotions have not changed. Hamlet states, ‘you question with a wicked tongue’, showing his anger towards his mother’s actions as he describes her as ‘wicked’ suggesting she is evil. Perhaps he sees her questioning as influenced by the sinful, corrupt Claudius which encourages his feelings of frustration and jealousy, as Hamlet feels replaced in Gertrude’s affections.
Hamlet continues to say, ‘You go not till I set you up a glass / Where you may see the inmost part of you.’ Here we see that Hamlet still remains loyal to his mother as he tries to save her from her sinful feelings for Claudius, showing that he still holds some hope for their relationship. He is saying that metaphorically, she needs to look at herself in a ‘glass’ or mirror for her to rediscover her true emotions. Perhaps Hamlet feels that Claudius has a hold over his mother and is wickedly controlling how she thinks and acts and so she needs to search deep down for the ‘inmost part of her’ in order for her to regain self-control. Although Hamlet’s actions are mainly driven by his anger and sorrow after the murder of his father, here it is suggested that some of his despair comes from the remarriage of his mother and his quite selfish and childish refusal to let Gertrude share her affections with anyone other than himself. We see how powerful Hamlet’s anger and hostility towards his mother must be when she replies ‘thou wilt not murder me?’ as she feels Hamlet’s hatred has developed so much that he would murder his own mother. It also could suggest to the audience that Gertrude is not completely naïve and does have some feelings of guilt towards her remarriage, as she lacks to interpret Hamlet’s fairly simple words correctly and is quick to change the conversation from his accusations of her wrongdoings.
However, Gertrude continues seemingly unaware of why Hamlet has any reason to despise Claudius, suggesting that she is completely oblivious to the fact that he murdered her previous husband. Hamlet describes her remarriage as an act ‘That takes off the rose / From the fair forehead of an innocent love / And sets a blister there.’ A rose is a delicate and beautiful piece of nature and a traditional symbol of pure romance, suggesting that Gertrude and King Hamlet’s love was untainted and wholesome, in contrast to how Hamlet sees Gertrude and Claudius’ evil and contrived relationship. Hamlet feels that Gertrude has stolen this precious, romantic symbol of love from her previous, true relationship with his father and replaced it with a ‘blister’ in her relationship with Claudius. A ‘blister’ is painful and ugly suggesting that Gertrude’s recent remarriage is agonizing and repulsive to Hamlet. In Elizabethan England, prostitutes were sometimes branded with a hot iron which would cause a blister to form; Hamlet could be speaking ambiguously here once again to try and shame and embarrass his mother, the highly disrespectful insult showing his feelings of disgust and loathing towards her.
Hamlet’s last soliloquy falls in Act 4, Scene 4 and it takes place right after he has spoken to a Norwegian captain and learnt that young Fortinbras’s troops are about to invade some part of Poland in order to acquire a small territory which, according to the captain, ‘hath in it no profit, but the name.’ The information given to Hamlet by the captain stimulates his thoughts of revenge and makes him scold himself for his inaction. The soliloquy begins with interesting imagery, ‘How all occasions do inform against me’. Hamlet feels he is on trial; one occasion after another comes in to give evidence against him showing that he feels isolated and unable to succeed. Hamlet goes on to try and define what separates man from animals. ‘Beast’s exist ‘to sleep and feed’, however, God gave humans reason and the duty to use it. Comparing himself to the likes of an animal, which suggests his sense of uselessness and self degradation, at the same time, confirms his feelings of guilt and thus illustrates the intense emotional impact it must have on him to begin to come to the realisation of his fatal flaw, inaction. He continues to argue that thinking, making moral choices is what distinguishes humans from beasts, - traits which Hamlet has shown throughout the play but now Hamlet questions whether thinking is healthy. If he cannot be charged with ‘Bestial oblivion’, perhaps he has the opposite tendency which he describes as, ‘some craven scruple / Of thinking too precisely on th’event - / A thought which quartered hath but on part wisdom / And ever three parts coward’. His confusion and self-questioning as to why he has failed to avenge his father, as of yet, is also reflected in the short, divided syntax.
Hamlet goes on to discuss Fortinbras’ ambition and ability to act with respect and admiration. The fact that Hamlet’s compliments a rival army emphasises to the audience his true desire to fulfill his intentions. He states ‘Witness this army, of such mass and charge, / Led by a delicate and tender prince, / Whose spirit with divine ambition puff'd’. The description of Fortinbras as ‘delicate’ and ‘tender’ contrasts with the description of his army of such ‘mass’ and ‘charge’. This shows the audience that Hamlet admires the fact that Fortinbras can physically appear quite weak and forgiving, however, is in control of such a large army of people who respect him and will fight alongside him. This also highlights Hamlet’s isolation and encourages the audience to feel empathy for him in his situation as we see him stood alone, delivering the soliloquy with no alliances to help him fulfill his requested, revengeful duties. Hamlet describes Fortinbras’ spirit as ‘puff’d’ or increased with ‘divine ambition’, the word divine meaning his ambition is both marvelous and powerful. His complimentary words suggest that he is almost in awe of Fortinbras and perhaps he wishes that, like Fortinbras, his ambitious spirit was enough to encourage him to avenge his father. This leads us to discover that Hamlet is purely a follower as he needs to compare himself to another person in order to realise his own flaws. This possibly constitutes his madness as he is seemingly an intelligent man, as suggested by some of his previous soliloquies, but yet is unable to see his own wrongdoings until after it becomes too late.
Hamlet goes on to reflect in apparent amazement at how he ‘let all sleep’, meaning he failed to act after he had ‘a father kill’d’ and ‘a mother stain’d’. Hamlet seemingly feels astonished at how losing his father and having his mother taken from him by his father’s murderer was not enough to encourage him to take revenge. The word ‘stain’d’ is quite strong imagery, suggesting that the change Claudius has made to his mother is irreversible and so their relationship is unfixable. It could also imply that by marrying Claudius, Gertrude was tainted by King Hamlet’s blood, showing the extent of Hamlet’s feelings of hatred and blame towards her are. Hamlet ends his soliloquy, ‘O, from this time forth / My thoughts be bloody or be nothing worth!’ Here Hamlet is making a promise to himself that from now on he will change his tendency to procrastinate and will act on his words. This shows his development as a character as he appears to be much more decisive and ambitious. The phrase ‘My thoughts be bloody or nothing worth!’ shows the audience that after contemplating his options, Hamlet feels that the only way to solve his problems is through conflict. Perhaps Hamlet feels worn out by the claustrophobic nature of his situation and life as a whole, or maybe this quotation shows to us the strength of his love for his father as he is willing to disobey his faith by committing purgatory in order to please and avenge him. The rhyming couplet, ‘forth’ and ‘worth’ increase the flow of the text emphasising Hamlet’s newly, decisive attitude as well as allowing the pace of the speaker to increase, perhaps linking with the quickening pace of the play’s plot, now that Hamlet has finally decided to act.

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Better Essays

    Horatio's Role in Hamlet

    • 1763 Words
    • 8 Pages

    We are first introduced to Horatio when Marcellus and Barnardo, the night guards, ask him to confirm their sighting of a ghost and to speak to it, because he “art a scholar” (I.i.51) Horatio faces the ghost and questions it without hesitance or fear, yelling to it, “Stay, speak, speak, I charge thee speak!” (I.i.63) Amanda Mabillard mentions that Horatio is a “calm, resolute, and rational character,” which is “why Hamlet chooses Horatio to become the sole person on whom he can rely.” After Horatio recovers from the initial shock of seeing the ghostly apparition of King Hamlet, one of his first thoughts is that they should tell Prince Hamlet because it is “needful in [their] loves” and “fitting [of their] duty” (I.i.190). When Horatio informs Hamlet that they saw his father’s ghost, Hamlet immediately believes the bizarre tale without a doubt, which further illustrates his deep trust in Horatio. Hamlet interrogates the three of them about specific details, and they decide to meet late that night during watch duty to try to see the ghost again.…

    • 1763 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Better Essays

    The play Hamlet, written by Shakespeare, was a poor representation of believability, likeable characters and a plot that makes readers want to continue reading. It is a story that represents honor and revenge. The emotion of the novel is over-exaggerated, therefor lowering the relatable factor. The ghost appears to Hamlet and tells Hamlet to seek revenge for his fathers’ murder. Although the ghost shows personal traits it is not believable that Hamlet would simply be convinced to commit himself to overtly violent actions from a character that he just met. With all the quick assumptions and lack of thought before killing, it makes the story unrealistic. The main characters Hamlet, Claudius and Gertrude show traits of a hero, villain and everything in between. The likability is lacking in all of these characters because it is impossible to go along and back up their outlandish decisions. They behave rashly and impulsively to a point where connecting…

    • 1113 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Better Essays

    Strong Emotions in Hamlet

    • 1133 Words
    • 5 Pages

    Why do people let their emotions take control of their actions? Human beings let id influence their lives, man lets himself stray from reality to satisfy the id with pleasure. In The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, William Shakespeare displays the characters in the play doing everything in their power to fulfill their id. The play starts off with Claudius killing his brother to obtain the crown and the Queen. Hamlet learns through the ghost of his late Father that Claudius is the one who has killed the King and not a snake which is the story told about the death of the King. Hamlet then follows his hate into wanting revenge on Claudius. Claudius, the new king of Denmark, also lets his emotions govern over his actions. Claudius commits the greatest sin possible, killing his own brother, in order to fulfill the jealousy he feels toward the King. Claudius desires what he did not have but the late King did. The crown of Denmark and the Queen become an excuse for killing his brother. Anger leads to the destruction in Old Denmark, it causes both Claudius and Hamlet to act based on their feeling. With the feelings controlling the actions of both Hamlet and Claudius they are able to commit their actions and show who they truly are. Strong passion towards others cause true colors to emerge.…

    • 1133 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    Emotion in Hamlet

    • 5223 Words
    • 21 Pages

    Levy, Eric P. "Nor th 'exterior nor the inward man: The Problematics of Personal Identity in Hamlet." University of Toronto Quarterly 68.3 (1999): 711-27.…

    • 5223 Words
    • 21 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Hamlet Quotations Act 1

    • 378 Words
    • 3 Pages

    Horatio believes that the ghost is appearing because foul play was involved with Hamlet Sr.’s death. He is not positive…

    • 378 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    When Horatio speaks to the ghost he says, "If thou art privy to thy country's fate, Which, happily, foreknowing may avoid, O, speak!" (Act I, p. 9) Marcellus and Bernardo believe it is an ominous sign and that perhaps the ghost has come with a warning about an imminent invasion; one that they would have to defend the castle against. Hamlet also thinks something must be wrong if his father's ghost is in armor. Marcellus is also afraid of the ghost because it leaves just as the cock crows to signal sunrise. He knows that spirits, including evil ones, cannot bewitch during the day time and he is unsure yet weather the ghost's intentions are good or evil, so he does not want anyone to follow it. Marcellus goes so far as to restrain Hamlet when he tries to follow his father's ghost.…

    • 457 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    In act 1, scene 4, line 68, Horatio says to Hamlet, “What if it tempt you toward the flood, my lord, or to the dreadful summit of the cliff that beetles o'er his base into the sea, and there assume some other horrible form, which might deprive your sovereignty of reason and draw you into madness?" This is a good example of foreshadowing because the ghost reveals that Claudius has killed him, which persuades Hamlet to take action and avenge his father. Although Horatio sees the ghost as well, he tries to convince Hamlet that interacting with the supernatural could lead him to negative consequences, ergo the reason for him going insane. Horatio and Marcellus think it’s just his imagination running wild, like he wants to to believe that everything the ghost is saying is true and that he’s not crazy for thinking it.…

    • 769 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 for himself at midnight upon their next watch, and sure enough the ghost reappears. As Hamlet follows the ghost it describes the actions that led to his death, explaining that Claudius murdered him, then asks Hamlet to avenge him. In the midst of asking Hamlet to punish Claudius he also says, “Taint not thy mind, not let thy soul contrive/Against thy mother aught. Leave her to Heaven/And to those thorns that in her bosom lodge/…

    • 503 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Hamlet Insane or Sane

    • 792 Words
    • 4 Pages

    After talking with the ghost, Hamlet, comes back to Horatio and Marcellus and tries to explain to them never to let anyone know what has happened. Both are very scared but agree to the prince's, but both are still looking to find out what happened between the ghost and him. Further on in the evening Hamlet takes Horatio to the side and explains to him that no matter how odd he acted that Horatio say nothing. (And therefore as a stranger-you most need help you Act1 sc5 line 187-202) He basically explained to Horatio that he was going to be acting much differently than normal, and he told him not to ask questions. This here proves he knew what he was going to have to do. It shows that he was willing to get his revenge by any way possible.…

    • 792 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Dramatic Irony

    • 770 Words
    • 4 Pages

    | This is where the ghost is first seen by Horatio, Marcellus and Barnardo, representing that the King’s spirit is still alive as he is not yet at peace. I feel sympathetic for Hamlet as in the next scene everyone is mourning over the King’s death and Hamlet is devastated by the events of his father.…

    • 770 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Better Essays

    The Sanity of Hamlet

    • 1831 Words
    • 8 Pages

    Hamlet begins with guards whose main importance in the play is to give credibility to the ghost. If Hamlet were to see his father's ghost in private, the argument for his madness would greatly improve. Yet, not one, but three men together witness the ghost before even thinking to notify Hamlet. As Horatio says, being the only of the guards to play a significant role in the rest of the play, "Before my God, I might not this believe / Without the sensible and true avouch / Of mine own eyes. (I.i.56-8)" Horatio, who appears frequently throughout the play, acts as an unquestionably sane alibi to…

    • 1831 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Better Essays

    When Horatio was first told about the appearance of the apparition, he was skeptical, " Horatio says 'tis but our fantasy And will not let belief take hold of him" ( 1.1.29). When the ghost was first sighted in the play, Bernardo remarks that the ghost looks similar to the King Hamlet, and Marcellus reasons with Horatio that he should address the ghost. This usage of the word " thou" causes the ghost to exit. Marcellus comments that the ghost was offended, meaning that by Horatio speaking to the ghost of the King with such lack of respect and with demands the ghost left.…

    • 2070 Words
    • 9 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    Hamlet's Emotions

    • 1304 Words
    • 6 Pages

    In the play Hamlet by William Shakespeare, the main character Hamlet is seen as a very emotional person. His emotions change all the time throughout the play so he attempts to act crazy so nobody knows what’s going on with him. When he acts crazy to hide his emotions, it affects everyone else but, Hamlet does not realize it. The emotions that he shows in the play are sorrow, anger and guilt.…

    • 1304 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Hamlet is torn by this revelation, and responds with justified drama. Thus far Hamlet had a few reasons to hate Claudius; the ghost’s message emboldened everything he had suspected and even added to it. Previously in Act One, Hamlet had criticized Claudius for a few major grievances: for being opportunist upon the death of his father by marrying his newly widowed mother in order to seize the throne instead of Hamlet, for not properly mourning the king by waiting just a month to take his wife, and for acting like an animal by behaving in an incestuous and lustful manner. By playing on many of the same metaphors as Hamlet and bringing forth new claims too, the ghost- whose word the reader takes as truth- bolsters Hamlet’s claims.…

    • 607 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Deception in Hamlet

    • 1546 Words
    • 7 Pages

    The first facet of the deceiving under-tone in Hamlet is the fear of being deceived. On the third night, after two consecutive appearances of the ghost, Horatio joins Francisco, Bernardo, and Marcellus on the evening watch. Horatio scoffs at their stories of the ghost's appearance, "Tush, tush, 'twill not appear" (1.1.35). Horatio is a scholar and a sensible man who needs to see things with his own eyes before he will accept them. Therefore, once the ghost appears to him, he quickly changes his viewpoint. He informs Hamlet of the ghost's likeness to his dead father and warns him of where the ghost originates: "Be thou a spirit of health or goblin damned, Bring with thee airs from heaven or blasts from hell" (1.4.44). Horatio fears that the ghost might be a deception, a devil sent in a pleasing shape to coax Hamlet into wicked action. Horatio's fear is justified, since during the Elizabethan era it was believed that ghosts were either Heavenly or Satanic, and a man of knowledge like Horatio should take such into consideration. Horatio is not the only character who fears deception. Claudius fears that Hamlet's antic behavior might be some kind of deception. To learn the truth of Hamlet's actions, Claudius entreats upon Rosencrantz and Guildenstern (two of Hamlet's oldest friends) to investigate the…

    • 1546 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Powerful Essays