Xiaolin and the complexity of a single action.In

Xiaolin MaiMr. Avellana AP English Literature & Composition20 November 2017 Hamlet was a character who was born noble and died heroically. Hamlet, a play written by William Shakespeare, illustrates the tragedy of a young prince’s quest to revenge for an immoral act, the murder of his father. As the exposition unfolds, the audiences not only learn about the external conflicts but also the internal struggles Hamel faced. Like all the Shakespearean heroes, Hamlet was subsidized with exceptional qualities like noble personality, popularity among his countrymen, and intellectual quality by his royal birth. Although in possession of these exceptional characteristics, his noble character as a thinker ultimately led to his own destruction. The audiences, at the end of the play, could only sympathize Hamlet for the series of misfortunate events that occurred during his life. The same events that contributed to the audience’s’ sympathy for Hamlet revealed perceptive insights into the final nature of death and the complexity of a single action.In merely two months of time, Hamlet lost both of his parents; one due to a funeral, the other due to a marriage. At beginning of the play, the audiences were introduced to the first source of their sympathy for Hamlet in the story: the marriage of his mother Queen Gertrude to his uncle Claudius. The marriage demonstrates the compound relationship between life and death; death is nothing foreign, and that holding on to death, according to Claudius, was a “fault to nature.”(1.2.102) Claudius further extensa his point through suggesting, “Your father lost a father, that father lost…”(1.2.89-90) Hamlet responds by stating his first internal struggle in the play to the audience, “I have that within which passes show, these but the trappings & the suits of woe,”(1.2.85-86) showing his struggle to maintain his loyalty to his father’s memory. Prince Hamlet dressed in black strongly contradicted with all joyous others who chose to celebrate Claudius’s recent marriage over the option to mourn over King Hamlet’s death. The death of his adoring father made Hamlet grief, depressed, and even angry at his own mother. After years of witnessing how his father treated his mother with unlimited love and respect, Hamlet refused to forgive his mother Gertrude who decided to marry his uncle Claudius after a short period of mourning. Although Hamlet tried to hold in his feelings, he showed his disgust at the incestuous marriage by suggesting that “a beast that wants discourse of reason would have mourned long.”(1.2.150-151) In addition to his mother’s betrayal-like action, Hamlet’s grief was furtherly aggravated after risking God’s wrath to speak to the ghost who Horatio claimed to be his father. The appearance of the ghost claiming,”I am thy father’s spirit,”(1.5.9) brought Hamlet closer to attempt suicide as he learned the truth behind his father’s death. Yet at the same time, the extraordinary quality of bravery seen through Hamlet’s bold actions to speak with the ghost actually established a common ground for the audiences to understand the incapability of all facing death. Upon speaking with the ghost, the ghost revealed how Claudius “the serpent,”(1.5.38) poisoned him in the ear to take his crown, and established another internal struggle for Hamlet. Hamlet struggled to make an actual decision between revenging Claudius for the murderous act and confirming the ghost’s message. Although Hamlet claimed,”The time is out of joint—O cursèd spite/ That ever I was born to set it right!”(1.5.189-190) and compared Denmark as a “out of joint” shoulder and himself as a physician who would operate on the kingdom by moving a poisoned tumor: King Claudius, he failed to act even when he had been presented the perfect opportunity. In Hamlet, the audiences were able to see how acts could be affected by many other factors besides rational considerations. Other emotional, ethical, and psychic factors could affect an action as well. Claudius, who claimed the crown and married Queen after taking a bold action of murdering his own brother, suffered in the termination of his conscience. He proclaimed, “Or pardon’d being down? Then I’ll look up;/ My fault is past. But, O, what form of prayer/ Can serve my turn? ‘Forgive me my foul murder’?”(3.3.51-53) Claudius may had gotten what he wanted, neither the crown nor the Queen could answer the question to his heart. After losing his parents, Hamlet’s lover Ophelia died due to a series of unfortunate circumstances. Throughout the play, Hamlet was portrayed as a noble character. In fact, his only ignoble act was  his murder of the character, Polonius. Polonius was not only Lord Chamberlain of Claudius’s court, but also father to Laertes and Ophelia; thus making him Hamlet’s “father-in-law.” Although Ophelia shows affection towards Hamlet, but in order to obey her brother Laertes who believed Hamlet’s love was “not permanent- sweet, not lasting”(1.3.8) and her father who told her to “not believe his vows; for they are brokers,”(1.3.127) she decided to leave Hamlet. Ophelia was an important character in the play because she took in all of Hamlet’s aggression that was meant for his mother. Ophelia was portrayed as an innocent and virtuous character but looked down on by Hamlet who believed that women pretended to be pure when they’re only driven by sexual desire. At various points in the play, Hamlet was especially cruel to Ophelia, even suggested that she should “get thee to a nunnery.”(3.1.121) Later on, upon learning about her father’s death, Ophelia was demonstrably insane. Ophelia grieved over Polonius’s death, as “she speaks much of her father, says she hears / There’s tricks in the world, and hems, and beats her heart,” (4.5.4-5) There were many explicit pieces of evidence suggesting that she was mourning for her father, such as “I would give you some violets, but they withered all when my father died. They say a made a good end.”(4.5.183-85) Polonius was such a dominant figure in her life that when he died, it shattered her mental state. Later in the play, upon encountering Ophelia’s funeral procession, Hamlet was overcome with grief and cried,”I loved Ophelia: forty thousand brothers/Could not, with all their quantity of love/Make up my sum.”(5.1.279-281) Through Ophelia’s death, the audiences were reminded how traumatized Hamlet was from losing a close relationship one after another. In the end, the only person who remained next to the prince was his dear friend Horatio. One source of the audience’s sympathy for Hamlet was the strong contradiction between Hamlet’s view on death at the beginning of the play and his view after discovering Yorick’s skull. After King Hamlet’s death, Hamlet became obsessed the idea of death and thought it as the ultimate answer to all his problems. Throughout the play, Hamlet remained melancholy and even cried out “O, that this too solid flesh would melt,”(1.2.129) during his first soliloquy. This line signified how desperate Hamlet was to leave his struggles of seeing his mother’s infidelity behind. To Hamlet at the time, suicide was the only way he could reach a final rest. However, despite all the talk, Hamlet was a man fear of death. Hamlet’s brooding about death appears in the infamous graveyard scene, where Hamlet holds the skull of Yorick, the king’s jester who Hamlet had kissed and loved at a young age. After all of Hamlet’s inspection of mortality, Hamlet has finally come to an understanding about the commonness of death and the vanity of life. This marks a turning point for Hamlet for he had not only remembered Yorick, but also thought how even Alexander the Great has “returneth into dust.”(5.1.217) As Hamlet gained a more mature acceptance to the common human fate of death with Yorick’s skull, Hamlet also realized the finality of death. Although he lived a life that was not to his desire, he recognized the fact that death does not solve any of his problems.Hamlet was obsessed with the idea of death. During the play, Hamlet examined death from numerous perspectives. He pondered the physical and spiritual aspect of death through Yorick’s skull and his father’s ghost. As Hamlet experienced one tragic event after another, the audiences were forced to sympathize him for all the struggles Hamlet went through. In the end, the death that Prince Hamlet once feared became his biggest blessing; he now ended all his struggles.


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