The play Hamlet portrays Hamlet as a character who is slow to act due to his convictions. He sometimes makes rash choices, which make him to commit bad mistakes leading to his own downfall. His personality led to delay in revenge and caused more harm both to himself and to his country.
Hamlet has five acts, which help to develop its plot and it is set in Denmark. The events in the play surround the highly esteemed royal family in the country. The first act starts with the events taking place in Denmark’s Elsinore Castle at night. King Hamlet’s death has forced prince Hamlet to leave school and come home to mourn for his father.
His mother begged him not to return to school and he agreed saying, “I shall in all my best obey you, madam” (Shakespeare, Act 1, Scene 2, line 120). The prince is not only disturbed by his father’s death, but also his mother’s remarriage to King Claudius barely a month after his father’s death. Hamlet’s father ghost revealed to him that King Claudius killed King Hamlet and requests Hamlet to revenge, which he agrees eventually. The second act shows Hamlet leading a disturbed life and a life of isolation.
This makes his mother and the king to think that he is mad. The Queen explains that Hamlet has been disturbed by the recent happenings in the palace. Hamlet decides to prove whether Claudius really killed his father and in act three, he uses the play “The Murder of Gonzago” to get the truth. Hamlet is convinced that the play will be an important tool “wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the king” (Act 2, Scene 2, line 607).
Hamlet is religious and his philosophical convictions prevent him from killing Claudius immediately when he finds him praying, and, instead, he confronts his mother and scolds her for her actions. The queen cries in fear and Polonius, who is hiding behind the tapestry, echoes her cry. Consequently, Hamlet stubs him thinking that he is Claudius. Hamlet blames Polonius for his intrusion and claims that “I took thee for thy better, take thy fortune” (Act 3, Scene 4, line 33)
It is evident that King Claudius is living in fear of Hamlet. He decides to send Hamlet to England where he plans his murder so as to spare him all the fears he has. Laertes returns and inquires about the whereabouts of his father from the king. The king explains Polonius’s fate and they both agree that they have a common enemy.
Hamlet returns from his journey to England and witnesses Ophelia’s burial. In the fifth act, both Laertes and Hamlet are determined to revenge their Father’s killing. A fencing match between Laertes and Hamlet bring to an end the entire royal family.
Hamlet is the son of the deceased king Hamlet and queen Gertrude. His personality seems to develop as the play progresses. At the beginning of the play, Hamlet is an emotional character and he has a lot of thoughts disturbing him (Delano para.2). When he meets the ghost and learns of his father’s murder, his anger further boils and he sets out for revenge. Hamlet portrays contrasting characters and personality throughout the play.
He does not rash in revenging and so looks for prove that Claudius is guilty of the murder. Even when he finds the truth about his father’s murder, Hamlet still wanted accurate prove. He is also philosophical and believes in religious views. This further makes him delay in fulfilling his revenge mission. However, the way Hamlet kills Polonius, without even checking to be sure who is behind the tapestry, portrays him as being emotional and quick to respond to his emotions.
Therefore, Hamlet’s mixed personality makes him emotional, rash, thoughtful, obsessed, generous, loyal, noble, philosophical, religious and humorous. He is loyal to his friends even when he knows that they are against him. Hamlet’s personality makes him delay his revenge mission and causes more harm as many people die due to his actions, including himself.
Hamlet loved his father and this is why his death disturbed him very much. He was determined to revenge for his father’s death in order to get peace of mind; however, he purposed to do it with full prove of the killer’s guilt.
His mother grieves him through her decision of getting married to King Claudius soon after his father’s death. According to hamlet, her mother’s action portrays her as a whore and makes him hate all women. She does not set a good moral example for her son. Claudius is Hamlet’s enemy, even though he is his uncle and king of Denmark.
He killed Hamlet’s father and made his mother whore by marrying her (Mabillard, para. 11). Due to this, Hamlet got determined to fight Claudius not only for revenging his father’s death, but also for honor. Hamlet loved Ophelia but the turn of events made him to develop a negative attitude towards her. At the end, Hamlet says during Ophelia’s burial that he loved her more “than forty thousand brothers could not, with all their quality of love make up my sum” (Shakespeare, Act 5, Scene 1, line 270-272).
The ghost plays a major role in this play (Egan, para. 7). It informs Hamlet of Claudius’ act of killing King Hamlet and asks Hamlet to revenge. The ghost also tells Hamlet of Claudius act of making the Queen a whore. Even if Hamlet agreed to fulfill the ghost’s request, he initially doubted its authenticity and sought for a prove first.
Shakespeare used symbolism in his play to convey various messages. The object symbol used is Yorick’s skull. He used it to bring out the fact that death is inevitable and unpredictable to all people. In Gertrude’s bedroom, Hamlet hurls abuses on her and at last, he kills Polonius. Hamlet called the queen an “unweeded garden” symbolizing her lustful behavior in marrying the King aft her husband’s death (Kern, 139).
In conclusion, Shakespeare used Hamlet’s character to develop the plot of his play Hamlet. The play, whose setting is in Elsinore Denmark, portrays Hamlet as having various and sometimes conflicting characteristics. Shakespeare explored various themes, such as like politics, uncertainty, incest, revenge, fate, religion in this play.
Delano, Pamela. “Literary analysis: Hamlet, by William Shakespeare.” Helium. Helium, Inc, n.d. Web. 9 December, 2010. http://www.helium.com/items/313093-literary-analysis-hamlet-by-william-shakespeare
Egan, Maurice F. “The ghost in hamlet.” TheatreHistory.com. TheatreHistory, n.d. Web. December 9, 2010. http://www.theatrehistory.com/british/ghost_in_hamlet.html
Kern, Diane E. CliffsTestPrep Praxis II: English Subject Area Assessments. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Publishing,Inc., 2006. Print.
Mabillard, Amanda. “Hamlet Plot Summary.” Shakespeare Online.com. Shakespeare Online, 20 Aug. 2000. Web. December 9, 2010. http://www.shakespeareonline.com/plays/hamlet/hamletps.html
Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. Logan Iowa: Perfection Learning Corporation, 2004. Print.