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Changing Views on Hamlet

  • Date Submitted: 08/07/2011 04:18 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 38.9 
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Write a series of three or four reflections that demonstrate how your response to Hamlet has changed and developed during the process of your critical study.

Hamlet’s Inaction
Hamlet possesses an ongoing theme of certainty, which is deeply intertwined with the theme of action. The play, over its duration, explores how it is possible to take reasonable and purposeful action. Through the play’s central protagonist, Prince Hamlet, Shakespeare is able to show how not only rational considerations, but emotional, ethical and psychological factors too. Hamlet is the only character in the play who seems to distrust the idea of acting purposefully and swiftly, a character flaw which is emphasised by his foils: Laertes and Fortinbras. Both of these characters are embodiments of Sydney Bolt’s “passionate revenger”, seeking justice for the deaths of their fathers. Fortinbras determination and willingness to go to great effort to avenge his father’s death, to the extent of waging war on Denmark, and Laertes furious desire to avenge Polonius’ unjust murder, both contrast sharply with Hamlet’s inactivity. It is made obvious that the other characters think much less about action that Hamlet does, and are therefore less troubled about the implications and risks of acting purposefully. The other characters have an innate ability to act as they feel appropriate. However, their ability to act how and when they feel like it does to some extent prove the necessity for Hamlet’s hesitation, because most of their hasty action turns against them. Claudius, despite gaining a queen and a crown, has a conscience that torments him. The action of killing a king, according to the beliefs of Shakespeare’s era, ensures that Claudius is damned by the heavens, and his divine suffering is briefly shown throughout the play. Laertes assures himself that he will not be distracted or diverted from his course of vengeance, but in his passion, he is easily manipulated by Claudius and dies from his own...

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