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Autor: anton • March 22, 2011 • 1,502 Words (7 Pages) • 469 Views
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, and unprofitable/ Seem to me all the uses of this world! . . . things rank and gross in nature/ Posses it merely" (William Shakespeare, 29). He also states "I have of late . . . lost all my mirth and this goodly frame the earth seems to me a sterile promontory, this most excellent canopy the air . . . appeareth nothing to me but a foul and pestilent congregation of vapours" (William Shakespeare, 101), further expressing his hate for the world. The play's world provides the prince with real, not fantasized, parental conflicts: his father is dead, and he is the enemy of his mother's lover (Charles Boyce, 232)
Hamlet is deeply disturbed with his mother's hasty decision to marry Claudius. He is appalled by his mother's willingness to accept an inferior man, a libertine and a murderer (Charles Boyce, 232). His disgust with life turns, therefore, to a revulsion against sex, the mechanism of life's continuance. Hamlet feels that his mother and uncle sleeping together, is foul and unnatural. He is obsessed with the image of his mom's 'incestuous sheets' (Shakespeare, 31) (Charles Boyce, 232). He transfers his mother's sexual guilt to Ophelia (Charles Boyce, 232). His mother sees nothing wrong with remarrying and ignores her son's feelings thinking that he's still mourning his father's death.
The murder of his father also corrupted Hamlet's world. When his father's ghost came to him and told him that Claudius is the cause of his death, Hamlet vowed to get revenge for his father's painful death. Like incestuous marriage, murder between brothers is foul and unnatural. Not only did Claudius seduce Hamlet's mother before marrying her and robbed Hamlet form the throne of Denmark(Kronenberger, viii), he killed Hamlet's father by pouring poison in his ear, causing his blood to curdle and his skin to scale with a rash. With his father dead and his mother remarried to his enemy, Hamlet had no one to turn to for help; therefore he is totally a victim of circumstance.
Hamlet is a very smart and plotted very carefully. He was a good scholar and his plans never failed. To make sure that Claudius was really responsible for his father's death, Hamlet hires a group of traveling actors to perform "The Mousetrap" for the royal audience. The play closely mirrors the murder of King Hamlet so the prince and Horatio study Claudius' reaction for signs of guilt. After the play Hamlet was sure that Claudius was guilty and was then plotting his next move. Claudius then prays for forgiveness and Hamlet nearly slaughters the kneeling king but he stops when he remembers that a soul killed in the midst of prayer will go to heaven. This was a wise choice because he had the perfect opportunity but knew that it wouldn't be revenge as he explains in his speech "Now might I do it pat . . ." (Shakespeare, 167). He also fakes insanity to disguise his motive. This shows that Hamlet has self-control, good judgment and makes wise decisions.
Hamlet was very popular and well-liked. For this reason, Claudius was not able to have him executed in Denmark and had to discretely send him to England. Hamlet was smart enough to change the names in the letter that Claudius had sent, from his to Claudius' spies. This had