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


Vital Analysis of Hamlet: Character Analysis and the Styles of Vengeance and Control

The play Hamlet is a text that in spite of its age and Elizabethan linguistic design is still resoundingly relevant to today’s contemporary audience due to its capability to move past time related contextual barriers and catch the universality of the human condition with its limitless confusion as obvious in the character of Prince Hamlet, its capability to affect and manipulate in addition to its reaction to such control, revenge.

The character of Hamlet himself is really relatable today particularly to young students, the reason that the play still prospers today is because of the universal relevance that his conflicting emotions hold for us. Hamlet being a college student of Wittenberg; intelligently tries like men today to justify his life, as can be seen apparent of his estimating of both Aristotle and Boethius.

Nevertheless not able to express himself he runs widespread through his own ideas creating sophisticated wordplay and metaphors such as “get thee to a nunnery” which at the same time suggests both a place of chastity along with slang for a brothel, showing Hamlets confusion with female sexuality. He like a teenager is brash and spontaneous, for each thoughtful soliloquy “To be or not to be” there is a burst of rage or spontaneous remark, in his opening encounter with the ghost in Act i Scene iv he states “I’ll make a ghost of anyone who stands in my way” prior to running off after the phantom.

Throughout the play he not just raves at the antagonist Claudius, however his girlfriend in Act iii Scene i and his mother in Act iii Scene iv of which the latter he stabs Polonius through the drape without even seeing who was there. He interrupts his own production of the Mousetrap with impolite remarks and condemns Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to death using his father’s signet ring while on path to England. An analysis of Hamlet’s character exposes that he clearly does not know what he desires, his ideas are universally reflected by those of males today.

In Hamlets 2nd soliloquy Act ii Scene ii he applauds the actor for his ability to reveal emotion so easily yet not long after praises Horatio for being the specific opposite, a stoic “All passions strike you but you do not end up being enthusiasms servant” His conflicting ideals are also evident in his relationship with Ophelia, which mirror those of couples today, during her funeral Hamlet argues with Laertes “I enjoyed Ofelia, 40 000 siblings might not with their quantity of love comprise a sum like mine” However earlier in Act iii Scene i at the simple idea that she ay be a controlled tool utilized against him by her father he describes her as a whore “you jig, you amble, you lisp” to Hamlet she is either the most lovely woman on the planet, or a traitor. This plainly is a typical quality today as it is linked by the human condition making his continuously changing and contrasting emotions timelessly relatable. His emotions like students today are often damaged by his intelligence, referring back to Act ii Scene ii as an example of this his outburst of anger “Remorseless, treacherous, lecherous, kindless bad guy!

O Vengeance!” yet then he exclaims “O what an ass am I” here plainly identifying his anger as nothing however rage and then sneering at it. This fluid shift clearly captures how we as people shift back and forth, critiquing our own ideas. This soliloquy alone is proof of Hamlets continued significance today due to its clear reflection of the human mind.

However after all of this Hamlet transitions during Act iv Scene vi into a male no longer using his knowledge to define the world however to accept it, no longer a victim of his ideas, “it will be now; if it be not now it will come” this thought of getting rid of societies underlying fear of death and for that reason living for the moment releases Hamlet from his conflicting and confused mind entertaining an audience while affecting the responder all at once. After this Hamlet no longer is clashed as can be seen from the obvious lack of anymore deep thoughts i. soliloquies. The concepts expressed in Hamlet in relation to revenge not only undisputedly drive the play onwards however record the audience’s creativity due to the reasonable representation of such revenge. Due to the Elizabethan usage of complex language to depict this play and the requirement for a deep understanding of Hamlet to acquire a higher understanding of the text, the play lacks a level of textual stability that has actually just increased the views on vengeance represented in Hamlet.

This is because of each society’s context being projected onto the play. Proof of these can be seen when juxtaposing the Elizabethan views of Hamlet as purely a Hero versus our contemporary views influenced by psychology where he is deemed confused, even irrational, “he has plenty of purpose however devoid of that quality of mind which accompanies purpose” (Coleridge) or even previously against the 20th century Freudian views of an Oedipus complex sustained revenge plot.

All of these differing views on the one play reveal the universality of revenge, and Hamlet’s ongoing relevance to today’s audiences. Prince Hamlet has been represented by critics such as Goethe as “unsuited” for revenge, this is not the case, as previously demonstrated in an analysis of Hamlets character, it is his intelligence that damages his quest for revenge, which adds to the stress that Shakespeare develops and elaborates on in each soliloquy.

Occasions in the play such as in Act iii Scene iii that prevent Hamlet from eliminating Claudius which while deemed simply tension structure today, have a powerful effect on the responder when viewed through the perspective of the greatly religious age of the texts structure, the truth that Shakespeare has actually based his vengeance play not on action however believed, give it continued importance to today’s audience as while belief in an action might deviate with time, the conscience of mankind does not, “A bad guy kills my father and for that, I his sole boy, this very same bad guy send to heaven” this quote when evaluated shows that while the belief in a paradise may not exist in some contemporary responders, the concept it embodies can still be felt and empathised with by the audience.

Our strong identification with the character of Prince Hamlet developed during the numerous soliloquies in the play, include a level of depth to the vengeance as we watch Hamlet whom initially represents a madman, slowly in fact descends into the very insanity he is mimicing as can be seen in his conflict with Claudius which even after he is sure that Claudius eliminated his daddy he still show indications of insanity “mother” or his loss of morality in the plan of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern’s deaths. All the disaster of the play originates from vengeance; this is represented on all levels, and just through his own damage can the Elizabethan “chain of order” that has actually fuelled the revenge in the play be brought back, turning the vengeance play of Hamlet into a catastrophe of the horrors of manipulation.

If revenge is the driving force of the catastrophe of Hamlet, manipulation is certainly the driver that brings this darker side of mankind to the fore. In Act i Scene i the famous line “stand and unfold yourself” uttered by Francisco sets a prophetic tone for the play, that of revealing details. This power of understanding to corrupt, poison, ruin and manipulate people is shown to encompass the very state itself, Shakespeare utilizes dangerous imagery to personify this “so the entire ear of Denmark is by a created process of my death rankly abused”. This main picture of the poisoned ear is expanded throughout the play, to show the audience the power that words have in influencing occasions.

The cruel ghost of old Hamlet manipulatively unfolds to young Hamlet “lend thy major hearing to what I will unfold” to make sure the chain of vengeance that the entire play is built upon. This poison “yet it draws him into madness” damages Hamlet into insanity. Verification of this manipulation can be analyzed from Hamlet’s exclamation “O my prophetic soul”, is the soul referred to the ghosts or Hamlet’s? Exposing that the sprit is but playing on the prince’s previous suspicions, controling him into as Hamlet believes a “scourge” doomed for hell. Even Hamlet controls to accomplish his goals such as tough Claudius’s innocence through his Mousetrap play. This picture of Claudius’ toxin is shown visually onstage to the audience; this technique is in itself universal as flashbacks are used in movie today.

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Control can be seen within the majority of characters from the opening act, nevertheless how the characters respond to this control is what has allowed Shakespeare to pin the human condition onto his characters, by juxtaposing the two college student, the intense tempered medieval-like Laertes and the philosophical renaissance-like Hamlet. We can see how males respond to adjustment in varying methods, as both lose their father, yet both respond in opposite fashions. Hamlet believes and even decieves, as demonstrated in all his siliquae’s, and for most of the play ponders before finally taking action. Laertes on the other hand right away returns house at the news of his dad’s death, raises a host and gets into the palace before asking a question. The polarity of manipulation that Hamlet faces to achieve his objectives therefore ends up being identifiable to all responders.

He is required to keep away from Wittenberg, by Claudius, then forced to become a warrior of whom he plainly is not “no more like my daddy. Then I to Hercules” by his dead dad manifested symbolically in armour, “thy commandment will live in the book of my brain”. Hamlet becomes what he most abhors most “seeming” not being. He plainly reveals his disgust of such individuals to the queen in the opening Act. The anguish that such manipulation produces is embodied in the confusion he feels and the revenge that confusion results in ending in the shocking last scene as all the manipulators or the manipulated lay dead on the floor leaving “truthful” Horatio to help Hamlet’s parallel Prince

Fortinbras also rejected the throne by an uncle and controlled by Claudius (via advisors sent forth in Act i) “tell him, with the occurents, more and less” so that he may repair the “unweeded garden” of Denmark. The real theme of the damage triggered by adjustment can be heard uttered by Hamlet in Act i Scene v “O cursed spite that ever I was born to set things right” spelling out Hamlet’s tragedy for the world then and now to clearly understand. Hamlet as a text has actually succeeded in captivating audiences because its conception in the Elizabethan era and will continue to do so due to its effective portrayal of the Human Condition which together with its textual kind enables the audience to project their own contextual ideas into its linked ideas of reluctant confusion, revenge and control and the disaster that these concepts bring about in the play.

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