Professor Justin Williamson
World Literature I
Hamlet is known as one of Shakespeare’s masterpieces, that centers around tragedy and drama. Shakespeare is known as a literary genius from his works. Hamlet is the prince of Denmark, who is next in line of king and will do whatever it takes to achieve status as king. Despite the other tragedies that had been written prior to Shakespeare, it was indeed Shakespeare who made a complete impact of literature and the drama’s that he wrote. Shakespeare’s tragedy shows a major flaw in the tragic part that symbolizes Hamlets character. Even though chance and fate show a major role in the character’s part, Shakespearean tragedy however also depicts tragedy in the role of the character. A “tragic flaw” is a literary term that refers to a personality trait of the protagonist that leads to his or her own personal downfall due to personal defect in the character (93). The word tragic flaw” is coined from the Greek Philosopher Aristotle, who also is a known for his famous poetics. In the tragedies Hamlet displays that when we are centered around trouble, tragedy is near to follow. Most of Shakespeare’s work is centered around tragedy and drama, with tragic hero’s. Hamlet also shows, the powerful tragedy by descriptive details to make you feel almost as if you were there in the play itself. The events in the story show the violence and tragedy, where at the end hamlet fiercely takes up the sword, as the only resolution. Hamlet (p 75)
There are many displays of tragedy in Hamlet. Tragedy is commonly defined as an event causing great suffering, destruction, and even distress, that often leads to a natural catastrophe.
Shakespeare shows the psychological side of humans in this play, that is relatable to others who struggle loneliness, depression, or even family related problems that can often lead to depression. For instance, Hamlet shows madness and frustration about the trials and tribulations in his life, that can even be relatable to others how overwhelming life can be at times and how our feelings can often affect our decisions now. Hamlet reveals that he feels he made a cowardly decision about trying to find out whether the ghost was telling the truth about his uncle Claudius, being the murderer. However, feels like the ghost has devilish ways and may be dishonest, Hamlets uncle Claudius shows tragedy in the play of a possible murder. The silique however ends on a strong note, by allowing the audience to pause and consider Hamlet’s actions when he says, “be all my sins remembered” (III, 98)
There are many displays of tragedy in this play, however there are also some other displays of emotions in the play other than tragedy. Such as the love that Hamlet displays is the play for Ophelia. Ophelia symbolizes the sweet and innocent side of the play and can be described as pure. Ophelia, I feel is caught up in more a political side of the play and is torn on what to do, and who to believe. Ophelia in similarity to Hamlet can also display some form of madness by taking her own life, by drowning herself caught up in hurt and confusion on who the true killer of her father is. In the sixth soliloquy, tragedy presents itself questionable, when Hamlet has a hard time deciding whether to kill Claudius at prayer, for that may allow the king to go to heaven. Claudius however, tells his brother during life with his final “audit” (3.3.82) in question. Hamlet (p.76) Hamlet than choses to kill Polonius and turns the plot toward its tragic end of the play. Through out the play, Hamlet encounters much drama and tragedy within in his own family, which begins from the ghost encounter, and brought much tragedy upon himself when he was fully aware of his repercussion’s, that stem from his intent on revenge.
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In Hamlet there are many possible opposition’s but focusing in on the most prevalent ones will be able to demonstrate the philosophy that is among this famous drama. In addition, those opposition’s increase the opportunity to fully understand the content which makes up the play and shows the prevalence of ideas. Some may consider the play Hamlets journey of life and death, then one may also understand Hamlets journey from real action to play, to show his true sanity and madness, and be able to decipher the true and false side. Shakespeare’s analysis of Hamlets selfhood can be compared to the revenge and drama. According to Ronald Broude, typical English drama’s “centers around a figure who conceives himself to be wronged, and overcomes obstacles from within and on the outside, and contrives to the exact retribution, becoming in the process by whom he has been wronged” (38-39).
The action that is centered in the play is the hesitancy Hamlet has about killing his uncle, Claudius because he does not know if he is capable of committing murder, yet knows he is called upon the ghost to do so. Hamlet is unsure if one can commit an act of crime that is in disagreement with one’s identity and belief. If this act is not possible Hamlet believes he will then have to change himself, which is proof of insanity. In the play Hamlet shows much madness from believing a ghost, to willing to kill one of his own family members. Hamlet displays much selfishness by willing to do whatever it takes to his own personal gain. Also, Hamlets selfishness ends up resulting in loss of life. Hamlet’s character can be described as mad and is sanity can be very questionable throughout the play. Hamlet shows mental instability after his father dies, and his mother is then left to marry his uncle Claudius. Hamlet is stuck between trying to stay loyal to his father, and committing the murder that he knows is wrong, but must act on his decision he has made. When Hamlet is left alone with his friend Hariato, he then remarks, “I’ll take the ghosts words for a thousand pound” (3.3.2 80-1) Price (37) Hamlets desire is to see his uncle
brought to justice, which also offers a powerful theatrical performance, which Shakespeare included as a commentary to his own profession. Towards the end of the play Hamlet is faced with what is right and wrong, and leaves him vengeful, However the death of his uncle occurred in the heat of the moment. Even though Hamlet realizes that murder is a sin, he wants to make his uncle Claudius pay for the death of his father. Hamlet feels uneasy knowing that his father was not laid to rest, but rather his soul is floating around like a ghost, because of being murdered his father is not at peace. To summarize hamlet many lives are lost in the play due to Hamlet’s selfishness and quickness to act on poor decisions, Hamlet himself is killed, and Denmark is essentially rotten, meaning that Denmark has nothing to fall back on and there is a lot of death and hatred.
Although this play was written in Pre Shakespearean-Era, you can still compare some of the qualities to this play in your daily life such as betrayal, revenge, psychological instability, and the emotional side. You can through out the play the pain and tragedy and revenge in Hamlet’s life that lead him to bad decisions ended in a catastrophe. From the revenge to the mental instability Hamlet did not make wise decisions. Hamlets selfishness and revenge on his family, ends up in death for himself. The cultural similarity in the play shows the human emotions can often take charge of our actions and such flaws make writers like Valmiki and Shakespeare known as literary geniuses of all time for their extraordinary works of art.
In general, Shakespeare’s work of Hamlet in comparison to others has made a major mark on literature itself, bu.t also poetic works that will leave an impression for years to come. In the story of Hamlet, the character displays the many trials and tribulations throughout the play that he endured. Also, Hamlet was a good basis of drama and revenge between his love for innocent Ophelia to killing his Uncle to achieve status of king. This play is a good lesson of how when we make poor choices in life, there are consequences to follow.
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