Hamlet Character Analysis Essay

Then I to Hercules” by his dead father manifested symbolically in armour, “thy commandment shall live in the book of my brain”.

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If revenge is the driving force of the tragedy of Hamlet, manipulation is certainly the catalyst that brings this darker side of humanity to the fore.

In Act i Scene i the famous line “stand and unfold yourself” uttered by Francisco sets a prophetic tone for the play, that of disclosing information.

The vengeful ghost of old Hamlet manipulatively unfolds to young Hamlet “lend thy serious hearing to what I shall unfold” to ensure the chain of vengeance that the entire play is built upon.

This poison “yet it draws him into madness” corrupts Hamlet into insanity.

His emotions like students today are frequently undercut by his intelligence, referring back to Act ii Scene ii as an example of this his outburst of anger “Remorseless, treacherous, lecherous, kindless villain! ” yet then he exclaims “O what an ass am I” here clearly recognising his anger as nothing but rage and then sneering at it.

This fluid transition clearly captures how we as people shift back and forth, critiquing our own thoughts.This power of knowledge to corrupt, poison, destroy and manipulate people is shown to extend to the very state itself, Shakespeare uses poisonous imagery to personify this “so the whole ear of Denmark is by a forged process of my death rankly abused”.This central image of the poisoned ear is expanded throughout the play, to show the audience the power that words have in influencing events.Manipulation can be seen within most characters from the opening act, however how the characters respond to this manipulation is what has allowed Shakespeare to pin the human condition onto his characters, by juxtaposing the two university students, the fiery tempered medieval-like Laertes and the philosophical renaissance-like Hamlet.We can see how men react to manipulation in differing ways, as both lose their father, yet both react in opposite fashions.In Hamlets 2nd soliloquy Act ii Scene ii he praises the actor for his ability to express emotion so freely yet soon after praises Horatio for being the exact opposite, a stoic “All passions hit you but you do not become passions slave” His conflicting ideals are also evident in his relationship with Ophelia, which mirror those of couples today, during her funeral Hamlet argues with Laertes “I loved Ofelia, 40 000 brothers could not with their quantity of love make up a sum like mine” However earlier in Act iii Scene i at the mere thought that she ay be a manipulated tool used against him by her father he refers to her as a whore “you jig, you amble, you lisp” to Hamlet she is either the most beautiful woman in the world, or a traitor.This clearly is a common trait today as it is connected by the human condition making his constantly changing and conflicting emotions timelessly relatable.Hamlet being a university student of Wittenberg; intelligently tries like men today to justify his life, as can be seen evident of his quoting of both Aristotle and Boethius.However unable to express himself he runs rampant through his own thoughts creating elaborate wordplay and metaphors such as “get thee to a nunnery” which simultaneously means both a place of chastity as well as slang for a brothel, reflecting Hamlets confusion with female sexuality.After this Hamlet no longer is conflicted as can be seen from the evident lack of any more deep thoughts i. Due to the Elizabethan use of complex language to portray this play and the need for a deep understanding of Hamlet to gain a greater understanding of the text, the play lacks a level of textual integrity that has only heightened the views on vengeance portrayed in Hamlet.This is due to each society’s context being projected onto the play.


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