Hamlet The Perfect Modern ManIn Hamlet by William Shakespeare, the author believes that Hamlet is perfectly suited for life in the modern world. Hamlet is cynical, humorous and very intelligent, which are all traits of a typical modern man.
In Hamlet William Shakespeare made Hamlet a very intelligent person and a quick thinker. He always had a quick response to a situation and always has a sense of what’s going on around him. “A Little more than kin, and less than kind” (Shakespeare 1.2.65). Hamlet is pretty clever and full of quick and witty responses, which is shown in this passage, as he describes his relationship with Claudius who is now married to his mother.
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Hamlet is using a play on the words in his description, using a double meaning of the word kind. Hamlet often uses puns throughout the book, which are often humorous and show his intelligence. Hamlet being a clever man, becomes aware of Claudius and Polonius’ plan to have him escorted by Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to England and be executed. While enroute to England on the ship, Hamlet awakens and quietly moves about the ship, in search of the letter stating he is the intended victim. After finding and destroying the original letter, he writes a new letter saying that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern were the intended victims instead. This is a prime example of how wise beyond his years Hamlet really was, as he not only cheated death, but also caused the death of those who intended on having him murdered. Shakespeare illustrates Hamlet as a smart hero, who is bound and determined to outwit his enemies and avenge his father’s death. “The point envenom’d too? Then, venom, to thy work” (Shakespeare 2.
317-318). Throughout the story, it would seem that Hamlet is always a step ahead of Claudius, and his death was no exception. After finding out that the sword Laertes had stuck him with had poison in the tip, and as he was slowly dying, Hamlet quickly used the sword to stab Claudius, and ensure his death. Shakespeare takes the story to a new level as Claudius’ deceptive plan costs him his life and the life of Claudius’ wife, who is Hamlet’s mother, as well. The reader could view Hamlet’s actions as those of a hero with a very dark sense of humor. He lies dying, but still ensures his father’s death is avenged, as well as his own, with his own mother being an unintended victim.
Hamlet’s humorous personality is a trait a perfect modern man could have. In “Shakespeare’s Conception of Hamlet” an article by Harold R.Walley the author talks about how Hamlet’s humor was like no other heroic character. “Hamlet comes off feebly as a hero, especially an Elizabethan hero, in a procedure which is hardly dignified. Such a plot might do well enough in a comedy or a crude melodrama, but for serious tragedy it is incongruous” (Walley 788). The author is describing Hamlet’s descent into madness as a defining moment of his humor and his wit, as he continues to lose people he loves by either betrayal or death, and is in the end partially responsible for the death of his own mother. In “Shakespeare’s Conception of Hamlet” by Harold Matthew R.
Walley and “Making ‘Young Hamlet” by Matthew Harkins these two articles break down the reason why Hamlet is cynical and where the cynicism comes from. “Life is compact of folly and vice. It is a tale of vain striving and frustrated endeavor whose end is no more but dust and worms’ meat. It is a prison to be fled through suicide, were it not for fear of waking from death’s sleep. This feeling impregnates Hamlet’s thoughts. It dominates his conduct and is the directing force behind his speeches” (Walley 779). In the “Making ‘Young Hamlet” the author Matthew Harkins states “Yet Welsh’s and Everett’s observations raise as many questions as they answer, for the death of their fathers: Hamlet, Laertes, and Fortinbras are deliberately coded as young in order to deny them mature status and prolong their subservience” (Harkins 333).
Hamlet is continually held back by his age and perceived immaturity, helping to explain how he could become cynical after years of dealing with this treatment. Matthew Harkins points out Claudius’ goal is to force Hamlet to be subordinate, deeming him unruly if he attempts to take on a leadership role. As Hamlet attempts to push through, Claudius responds with more vigor, directly attacking Hamlet’s maturity.
Claudius views Hamlet’s refusal to conform to subordination as immaturity which further frustrates Hamlet, as it leaves no room for Hamlet to develop his own political viewpoint, or take the action he desires to take (revenge).”Thrift, thrift, Horatio! The funeral baked meats Did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables” (Shakespeare 1.2.
170-180). Hamlet bitterly jokes are the real reason why his mother’s remarriage came so soon after her husband’s death, was so that she could save money by serving the leftover funeral refreshments to the wedding guests. Throughout the story, Shakespeare consistently allows Hamlet’s intelligence and humor to peak through in dialogue that is intended to entertain the audience while telling the story of a man who is descending into madness as he comes closer and closer to losing everything he loves. Works CitedHarkins, Matthew. “Making ‘Young Hamlet.'” Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900, vol.
49, no. 2, 2009, pp. 333–354. JSTOR, JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/40467492.Kirsch, Arthur. “Hamlet’s Grief.
” ELH, vol. 48, no. 1, 1981, pp. 17–36. JSTOR, JSTOR, www.
jstor.org/stable/2873010.Shakespeare, William. “Hamlet.
” Folger Shakespeare Library, edited by Barbara A.Mowat and Paul Werstine, New York, Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, 1992.Walley, Harold R. “Shakespeare’s Conception of Hamlet.” PMLA, vol. 48, no. 3, 1933, pp. 777–798.
JSTOR, JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/458341.