Denmark has a long-standing feud with neighbouring Norway, in which King Hamlet slew King Fortinbras of Norway in a battle some years ago. After the ghost appears again, the three vow to tell Prince Hamlet what they have witnessed. As the court gathers the next day, while King Claudius and Queen Gertrude discuss affairs of state with their elderly adviser PoloniusHamlet looks on glumly.
Intellectual, self-reflective, alienated, and seemingly paralyzed by doubts about both himself and the circumstance in which he is called upon to act as an agent of revenge, Hamlet has come to be considered the quintessential modern hero.
For the subject of his drama, Shakespeare turned to a story already popular in English theaters; at least two earlier productions of the sad tale of the Danish prince had appeared in London playhouses.
Most of these were bloody spectacles in which almost every character dies in the final act.
The body-strewn stage in act 5 of Hamlet continues this tradition, as does the central action of the drama: The central dramatic interest in the play is the character of its hero.
The prince feels he must delay his revenge, however, until he is certain Claudius is guilty. Much is made of the mother-son relationship; Hamlet spends considerable time trying to convince his mother that she has made a mistake in marrying Claudius.
Only when she finally comes to accept his view that the new king is somehow guilty does Hamlet decide to act. His decision is precipitated by several other actions as well, most notably the efforts of his supposed friends Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to have him killed.
Many critics have observed that Hamlet is really too sensitive to effect the revenge that he intends.
He is by nature melancholic, possessing a fatalistic disposition that borders on the suicidal. His most famous soliloquy focuses on the virtue of ending his life. Viewing the world as a place where things are seldom as they seem, he spends a good portion of his time trying to sort appearance from reality.
He invents various devices to help illuminate the truth, such as his elaborate arrangement for a dumb show that will re-create the murder of his father in the presence of Claudius to try to make the king reveal his guilt.
Hamlet is not satisfied simply to take vengeance on his uncle clandestinely; he wants Claudius to admit his guilt. Early in the play, his inactivity can be attributed to his lack of assurance that Claudius is guilty.
Were he to kill the new king without justification, he would be seen as no better than a murderer himself, and no good would come of his action. Such casuistry has been reason for several critics to claim that Shakespeare is simply drawing out the drama until the final catastrophe.
By the final act, Hamlet has become totally fatalistic. In the final scene, all of the principals meet their end—and almost all by some mischance of fate. Despite the resounding encomium pronounced over the body of the slain prince, the bleak ending offers little encouragement for an audience who has witnessed this great tragedy.
Surprisingly, however, the ending seems justified, in that order has been restored to the Danish kingdom, although won at a terrible price.
Such is the lesson of most great tragedies, and Hamlet ranks with the very best examples of the genre.On Claudius' New Plot "To the wily mind of Claudius any straightforward revenge, such as could be obtained by a fair fight between Laertes and Hamlet, was utterly distasteful; besides, such a revenge would be at best uncertain, and might fail in the end to rid him of his hated nephew.
Angela Romero English IX Tim Keppel An analysis of the characters of Hamlet, Laertes and Fortinbras from William Shakespeare’s Hamlet In William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, revenge is the central topic, which breathes life into the play. Overall Story Throughline Synopsis.
Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, returns from his studies abroad to attend the funeral of his father, King Hamlet, and the subsequent wedding of his mother, Queen Gertrude, to his uncle, King Claudius.
A short summary of William Shakespeare's Hamlet. This free synopsis covers all the crucial plot points of Hamlet. Theme of Madness Conveyed in Shakespeare's Hamlet - In William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, one of the most evident and important themes is the theme of madness.
The final foil is the one that is the most painful to Hamlet. His uncle, Claudius, has murdered his father and taken his position as rightful heir, and yet, Hamlet finds himself in a simliar situation with the accidental murder of Polonius.