Hamlet Short Analysis
“Hamlet” is one of the brightest and famous Shakespeare’s plays. Many poets, philosophers, politicians, and composers from different countries were inspired by the main character.
A huge circle of philosophical and ethical questions is closely interwoven with social and political ones that describe a unique side of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The intensity of Hamlet’s suffering is very huge. He lost his father, mother, he thinks that he must break up with his lover. Only in friendship, he finds some relief. The value of human life ruins in front of his eyes. His father, a kind and wonderful person dies, and at the same time rascal and offender triumphs. His mother shows her weakness and becomes a traitress. Unfortunately, conditions have changed in such a way that Hamlet, an adherent of humanity, becomes the reason for many people’s deaths.
Contradictions of the ideals in the external world are supplemented with the struggle of discordant feelings in Hamlet’s soul. Good and evil, truth and lie, kindness and cruelty become apparent in his own behavior.
During the play, Hamlet asks himself a philosophical existential question “Who I am?” which is not answered by philosophers even now, a few centuries later. Searching for the truth, from time to time he explores many existential questions.
At the beginning of the play, Hamlet shows his high intelligence and unique logic. He resists emotions and natural instincts but believes only in the force of his intellect. Even when he meets his father’s ghost he doesn’t believe his eyes and tries to explain it from the scientific point of view. But soon, he organizes a play where actors dramatize his father’s murder to prove everything that the ghost told him. Now he knows who killed his father, he is full of hatred, malice, and sorrow. He thinks about revenge:
And now I’ll do ‘t: and so he goes to heaven;
And so am I reveng’d.(Hamlet, 3.3)
He is confused and his first thought is to pretend madness. His deeds and thoughts are inadequate and illogical, so we can easily believe that he is really mad. He is completely sure that he must revenge because his uncle committed a murder, the biggest sin in the world.
He is hostile towards Claudius, kind to actors, rude to Ophelia, well-mannered with Horatio, he is unconfident but very witty, he acts resolutely and quickly, he is afraid of God’s punishment and at the same time he blasphemes, he can’t and doesn’t want to restrain his anger. This rich gamut of feelings is inherent to him at this period of life. Among all these feelings he loses himself: “The head is not more native to the heart” (Hamlet, 1. 2)
Readers can notice that Hamlet, thinking about revenge, begins to compare himself to God, he is going to commit an action, worthy only God. According to his thoughts, he has the right to pass judgment and rule the destinies.
Hamlet is a lonely fighter for justice. Unfortunately, at some moment he decides to use his enemies’ methods. To reach his aim, he resorts to the same immoral deeds. He pretends, tries to fool everyone. It can seem paradoxically but for the sake of noble aim, he becomes guilty of the deaths of many people.
Hamlet is one of those characters who avenge the whole world because they are not satisfied with the manner the world treated them. Hamlet-like other rebels against the state of the world are very egoistic in his world-view. Even the revenge for his father’s death becomes revenge for the offense against Hamlet. Besides, the information about Hamlet before his father’s death emphasizes that there was a time when Hamlet was completely satisfied with himself, the world, and his own place in it. Father’s death makes him look differently not only at the Danish kingdom but in the whole world in general. He feels agonizingly the dungeon of his own body.
Sometimes Hamlet thinks about suicide. Human life sooner or later ends and man won’t be able to be in charge of the world…So, why can’t we stop this absurdity at once?
All that lives must die,
Passing through nature to eternity. (Hamlet, 1. 2)
Hamlet’s thoughts aren’t connected with that supposed killing of his uncle, but they are connected with Hamlet’s reconsideration of his place in the world after father’s death. He can’t find peace of mind, instead, he feels like being smashed into thousand bits, he isn’t integral anymore.
Though the death of the relative is very tragic, still the tragedy has not died in its context but the moral, ethical death of a person, which led him to a fatal mistake which caused his death. In this case, a real tragedy is a tragedy of a person with the finest moral qualities, who gives up when he sees terrible sides of life-insidiousness, betrayal, murders. He lost his trust in people, love. As a result, life lost its value for him. Through the whole play, we can watch how Hamlet changes from a peaceful intellectual to a cruel murderer. He can’t find himself, he only loses…
- Shakespeare, William (1992) “Hamlet, Prince of Denmark.”. Washington: Square Press.