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Reasons of Hamlet’s Erratic Disposition



William Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark was yet another tragedy play of Shakespeare along with the equally excellent Romeo and Juliet, Othello and Macbeth. Readers are confounded yet again by Shakespeare’s elusive plot and characters.


This paper will explore the reason of Hamlet’s erratic disposition, which eventually led to the sad demise not only of the tormentors of his Father but also Hamlet himself.

Finalize Thesis Statement

Readers can clearly deduce the reasons of Hamlet’s erratic disposition and violent actions from the play’s themes of love and loyalty. The love towards parents fueled Hamlet’s actions and disposition. No one in his right mind would just neglect the murder of one’s parent–one really would exact justice in any form. It cannot accept any half-baked conciliatory intentions, much more if it came from the murderer himself. The loyalty to state and to citizens strained on the part of Hamlet who is disgusted at his Uncle’s luxury and excess. No one in his right conscience would allow corruption and usurpation to happen in a state where majority of the people are in abject poverty. We can derived logically from the play that while Hamlet did many crimes himself – even without showing of compunction – he is more or less kind as he imparted, “I must be cruel, only to be kind; / Thus bad begins, and worse remains behind” (Shakespeare 70).

Key Points

Hatred towards Claudius and Gertrude. The tragedy–or revenge play to some–is an allegory with undertones of corruption and usurpation. In the play, King Hamlet, the namesake Father of the Prince, was murdered by his own brother, the enthroned King Claudius. The prophetic Prince sensed King Claudius as behind the plot for the latter to be crowned as King of Denmark.
Hamlet has been hurt all the more when immediately two months after his Father’s death, his Mother Gertrude married his Brother-in-law King Claudius. Hamlet loathed his Mother’s “cold-hearted actions” and Claudius’s “Hyperion’s antithesis, the satyr, a creature half-goat and half-man, known for its drunken and lustful behavior” (Shakespeare-online.com). In his madness, Hamlet “puts on an ‘antic disposition’—that is, he pretends madness” (Cummingsstudyguides.net).

Aghast in the Portent. Apparition of a departed especially from a gruesome murder is frightening. It could indicate some form of deviltries–or a meaning–which is yet to be found out. In the play, Hamlet’s late Father has appeared in arms and pale, seems uncomfortable. He appeared to Horatio who is Hamlet’s best friend who “never wavers in his loyalty to Hamlet” (Cummingsstudyguides.net). Horatio remarked “this bodes some strange eruption to our state” (Shakespeare 3).

Notified that his Father’s ghost has appeared twice, Hamlet took the chance to speak to his late Father. With his Father, he learned that indeed it is Claudius who is behind the murder. The Father said thus, “Revenge his foul and most unnatural murther [sic]” (Shakespeare 19). Clearly the ghost could have frighteningly maddened Hamlet since it is also known in their time that devils masquerade “as dead loved ones” (Cummingsstudyguides.net).

Intricate Imprecations. Hamlet is a well-rounded character who’d faced obstacles that will come his way. However, the confluence of factors imbued in his psyche has becoming complicated – the masterful craft indeed of Shakespeare in all his plays’ major characters. First was Ophelia. There were his two friends Rosencrantz and Guildenstern who were paid as spies by the King. Then, there was Laertes who is opposite to Hamlet and loyal to Claudius. The King has devised many treacherous plots for Hamlet, to no avail.

All the more, Hamlet’s disposition retrograded finally proving beyond doubt that Claudius is the mastermind of the killing with Gertrude as complicit to the usurpation. In Hamlet’s own belief “bitter cynicism and cruel words is a desire to embrace those that fate dictates he must despise [sic]” (Shakespeare-online.com).

Works Cited
Cummings, Michael. “Hamlet, Prince of Denmark: A Study Guide.” Cummingsstudyguides.net. 2003. Web. 6 May 2011.
“Introduction to Hamlet.” Shakespeare-online.com. 2010. Web. 6 May 2011.
Shakespeare, William. “Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark.” UOregon.edu. 1604. [pdf]. 16 Apr. 2011.

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