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Literary Analysis: Hamlet

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William Shakespeare

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There is no confusion about Hamlet s character in Act One. He has said earlier that he is what he appears to be, and there is no reason to doubt it.

In the next act, Hamlet s intentions suddenly become confusing. In the first act, Hamlet was dedicated and inspired in seeking revenge. However, when Hamlet appears again in the second act, he loses the conviction that was present earlier. He has yet to take up the orders assigned to him by the ghost.

He spends the act walking around, reading, and talking with Polonius, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, and the players. It is not until the very end of the act that he even mentions revenge. These two acts show Hamlet s insincerity and how tragedy results. With certain people, Hamlet is resolved to get revenge for his father s death.

With other people, this thought is the last thought in his mind. If he had any of the resolve he had showed earlier, his act of revenge would have already been completed. Instead of playing the part of the vengeful son, or dropping the issue entirely, he spends the entire act slacking off. He avoids the decision he has to make and pretends to be mad. This is shown when he says to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, "I know not-lost all my mirth, forgone all custom of exercises" 2.

Later Hamlet tells Rosencrantz and Guildenstern that he is just faking his madness when he says, "I am but mad north-north-west. When the wind is southerly, I know a hawk from a handsaw" 2. By Hamlet admitting that he is faking, he is truly saying that he is comfortable with it.

It is strange that Hamlet is comfortable with playing at this point, but the main concept is that he is not acting out the role that he established in act one. However, when the players come around, the resolved Hamlet returns.

Hamlet is prompted to vengeance again by the moving speech that is given by one of the players. In this speech, he says, "What s Hecuba to him, or he to Hecuba, that he should weep for her? What would he do had he motive and cue for passion that I have" 2.

In the praise of this player s ability to act, Hamlet says that if this was a play he acted in, he would have killed Claudius by now.

He is then moved to swear that he should kill Claudius when he says, "I should ha fatted all the region kites with this slave s offal. Why, what an ass am I" 2. Act 2, scene 2 is a great example of Hamlet s tremendous problem.

Hamlet makes this big buildup of what he should have done and how he will seek revenge, but then contradicts himself in his next statement. After all of the swearing and support, he backs out again.

He can t decide whether to play the role or not. Being caught in the middle, Hamlet decides that he needs more proof of the King s guilt. He keeps going back on his resolve when he says, "The play s the thing wherein I ll catch the conscience of the King" 2. Hamlet believes that acting will transform one s inner self to match the exterior. Hamlet s belief is backed up by the play.

In the play, it is true that acting can transform one s inner self into whatever role one is playing. This is proved when Claudius s inner self is shown during the play, due to the one of the players acting his part out. Explore the different themes within William Shakespeare 's tragic play, Hamlet. Themes are central to understanding Hamlet as a play and identifying Shakespeare's social and political commentary. The weight of one's mortality and the complexities of life and death are introduced from the beginning of Hamlet.

In the wake of his father's death, Hamlet can't stop pondering and considering the meaning of life — and its eventual ending. Many questions emerge as the text progresses. What happens when you die? If you're murdered, then will you go to heaven? Do kings truly have a free pass to heaven? In Hamlet's mind the idea of dying isn't so bad. It's the uncertainty of the afterlife that frightens Hamlet away from suicide, even though he's obsessed with the notion. A turning point for Hamlet occurs in the graveyard scene in Act V.

Before, Hamlet has been appalled and revolted by the moral corruption of the living. Seeing Yorick's skull someone Hamlet loved and respected propels Hamlet's realization that death eliminates the differences between people. The sheer number of bodies at the end of Hamlet can be misleading. Even though eight of the nine primary characters die, the question of mortality is not fully answered. The questions about death, suicide, and what comes after are left unanswered.

What Hamlet presents in an exploration and discussion without a true resolution. Hamlet's originally acts mad crazy, not angry to fool people into think he is harmless while probing his father's death and Claudius 's involvement. Polonius's assertion is ironic because he is right and wrong. Polonius falsely believes Hamlet's madness stems from Hamlet's love of Ophelia. To notice a method behind the crazy talk was impressive of Polonius.

But as the play progresses, Hamlet's behavior become more erratic. His acting mad seems to cause Hamlet to lose his grip on reality. The circumstances he has to manage emotionally are difficult, to say the least.

Succumbing to physical violence when under extreme stress shows that Hamlet has deeper-set issues than merely acting mad. In reflection, Hamlet's choices and impulses beg the question, what gives him the right to act as such without consequences?

The presence of only two named female characters says something about the role of women within Hamlet. The death of both women also indicates a social commentary. Hamlet is at his most agitated state when talking to either female character. Although he cares for both, he's suspicious, as well.

In the case of his mother, Gertrude , Hamlet feels she remarried too quickly and that her remarriage means she didn't love her first husband all that much. The idea freaks Hamlet out. From the way the characters talk, we know Hamlet has been wooing Ophelia for some time.

But after Hamlet starts to act mad, it doesn't take long for him to assume that Ophelia is in cahoots with Gertrude, Claudius, and Polonius.

In reality, Ophelia obeyed her father and her monarch.


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An essay or paper on Literary Analysis on Hamlet Tragedy. In "Hamlet", the tragedy by William Shakespeare, Hamlet, the prince of Denmark withholds a great internal conflict throughout the play. As a result, Hamlet contradicts himself many times throughout out the play, which caused the unnecessary death of many others.

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Essay on Literary Analysis of Shakespeare's Hamlet Words 5 Pages Hamlet by Shakespeare is a very wonderfully written book that contains so many literary elements and motifs throughout it that it is still one of the most debated and talked about pieces of literature ever written.

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Literary analysis involves examining all the parts of a novel, play, short story, or poem—elements such as character, setting, tone, and imagery—and thinking about . Essay Hamlet Literary Analysis - Stages of Grief anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance, as happening in that order. In William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Hamlet exhibits all five stages of grief, we can assume in relation to the recent death of his father, but not necessarily in this order, and in fact the five seem to overlap in many parts of the play.

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In Hamlet, the tragedy by William Shakespeare, Hamlet, the prince of Denmark withholds a great internal conflict throughout the play. As a result, Hamlet contradicts himself many times throughout out the play, which caused the unnecessary death of many others. The Ghost of Hamlet (the dead king) tells Prince Hamlet that his uncle Claudius is the murderer. Throughout the rest of the play, Hamlet seeks to prove Claudius’ .