Deaths in hamlet essay

Polonius, for instance, is often distracted by his manner of expressing himself.

Just as he is extremely windy in recommending brevity, here he is fussy and "artful" or affectedly artificial in declaring that he is neither of those things. Polonius' grasp of language, like his political instinct, is quite shallow -- he gestures toward the mastery of rhetoric that seems like a statesman's primary craft, but he is too distracted by surfaces to achieve any real depth.

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Another angle from which to consider language in the play -- Hamlet explores the traditional dichotomy between words and deeds. The passage resonates well beyond its immediate context. Hamlet himself is a master of language, an explorer of its possibilities; he is also a man who has trouble performing actual deeds. For him, reality seems to exist more in thoughts and sentences than in acts. Thus his trouble fulfilling revenge seems to stem from his overemphasis on reasoning and formulating -- a fault of over-precision that he acknowledges himself in the speech beginning, "How all occasions do inform against me.

Hamlet is the man of language, of words, of the magic of thought.

Essay about The Theme of Death in William Shakespeare's Hamlet

He is not fit for a play that so emphasizes the value of action, and he knows it. But then, the action itself is contained within words, formed and contained by Shakespeare's pen. The action of the play is much more an illusion than the words are. Hamlet invites us to consider whether this isn't the case more often than we might think, whether the world of words doesn't enjoy a great deal of power in framing and describing the world of actions, on stage or not.

By the time Hamlet was written, madness was already a well-established element in many revenge tragedies. The most popular revenge tragedy of the Elizabethan period, The Spanish Tragedy , also features a main character, Hieronymo, who goes mad in the build-up to his revenge, as does the title character in Shakespeare's first revenge tragedy, Titus Andronicus. But Hamlet is unique among revenge tragedies in its treatment of madness because Hamlet's madness is deeply ambiguous. Whereas previous revenge tragedy protagonists are unambiguously insane, Hamlet plays with the idea of insanity, putting on "an antic disposition," as he says, for some not-perfectly-clear reason.

Of course, there is a practical advantage to appearing mad. In Shakespeare's source for the plot of Hamlet , "Amneth" as the legendary hero is known feigns madness in order to avoid the suspicion of the fratricidal king as he plots his revenge. But Hamlet's feigned madness is not so simple as this. His performance of madness, rather than aiding his revenge, almost distracts him from it, as he spends the great majority of the play exhibiting very little interest in pursuing the ghost's mission even after he has proven, via "The Mouse Trap," that Claudius is indeed guilty as sin.

No wonder, then, that Hamlet's madness has been a resilient point of critical controversy since the seventeenth century. The traditional question is perhaps the least interesting one to ask of his madness -- is he really insane or is he faking it? It seems clear from the text that he is, indeed, playing the role of the madman he says he will do just that and using his veneer of lunacy to have a great deal of fun with the many fools who populate Elsinore, especially Polonius, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.

Perhaps this feigned madness does at times edge into actual madness, in the same way that all acted emotions come very close to their genuine models, but, as he says, he is but mad north-nothwest, and knows a hawk from a handsaw. When he is alone, or with Horatio , and free from the need to act the lunatic, Hamlet is incredibly lucid and self-aware, perhaps a bit manic but hardly insane.

Justification of Death in Hamlet Essay - Words | Cram

So what should we make of his feigned insanity? Hamlet, in keeping with the play in general, seems almost to act the madman because he knows in some bizarre way that he is playing a role in a revenge tragedy. He knows that he is expected to act mad, because he thinks that that is what one does when seeking revenge -- perhaps because he has seen The Spanish Tragedy. I'm joking, of course, on one level, but he does exhibit self-aware theatricality throughout the play, and if he hasn't seen The Spanish Tragedy , he has certainly seen The Death of Gonzago , and many more plays besides.

Laertes and Hamlet: Reaction to Their Fathers’ Murder. Comparison - Free Essay Sample

He knows his role, or what his role should be, even as he is unable to play it satisfactorily. Hamlet is beautifully miscast as the revenger -- he is constitutionally unfitted for so vulgar and unintelligent a fate -- and likewise his attempt to play the madman, while a valiant effort, is forced, insincere, anxious, ambiguous, and full of doubts.

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Perhaps Hamlet himself, if we could ask him, would not know why he chooses to feign madness any more than we do. Needless to say, Hamlet is not the only person who goes insane in the play. Ophelia's madness serves as a clear foil to his own strange antics. She is truly, unambiguously, innocently, simply mad.

Whereas Hamlet's madness seems to increase his self-awareness, Ophelia loses every vestige of composure and self-knowledge, just as the truly insane tend to do. Harold Bloom, speaking about Hamlet at the Library of Congress, said, "The play's subject massively is neither mourning for the dead or revenge on the living.

All that matters is Hamlet's consciousness of his own consciousness, infinite, unlimited, and at war with itself. Hamlet's soliloquies, to take only the most obvious feature, are strong and sustained investigations of the self -- not only as a thinking being, but as emotional, bodily, and paradoxically multiple. Hamlet, fascinated by his own character, his turmoil, his inconsistency, spends line after line wondering at himself. Why can't I carry out revenge?

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Why can't I carry out suicide? He questions himself, and in so doing questions the nature of the self. Aside from these massive speeches, Hamlet shows a sustained interest in philosophical problems of the subject. I really like your essay. For example, he puts on an antic disposition. The beginning of the play sets up the court as being extremely watchful, very gossipy.

If Hamlet acts too fast, they will probably pick it up and prevent him. Thank you for this stimulating essay. You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Google account. You are commenting using your Twitter account. You are commenting using your Facebook account.

Notify me of new comments via email. Notify me of new posts via email. One of my essays from last semester for Drama.. Hope its handy for anyone else studying : Ideas and superstitions surrounding the mystery of death permeate the timeless story of Hamlet, a tale that can even to this day chill its every reader and compel us to question our own faith and spirituality.

Share this: Facebook Twitter. Like this: Like Loading In other words, he concludes that is all is controlled by destiny, and should he die now or later is irrelevant, as ultimately whatever comes will come and there is no use in trying to avoid it if it is meant to be. Hamlet however is not cynical in his speech, but speaks of death in a tone that is neither filled with fear or longing.

He comes to term with death as part of the natural sequence of life - for without death, can there be life? Powered by Create your own unique website with customizable templates. Get Started. Hamlet Mortality.