This tragedy isso extreme that it breaks the whole royal family apart, and causes the youngprince to go “mad. ” Or does it? We begin Shakespeares Hamlet after thetragedy has occurred. King Hamlet was the ruler of Denmark and the father ofHamlet. As the king was taking a nap in the garden, his brother, Claudius,poured poison in his ear. After King Hamlet died, Claudius became king.
Imnot totally sure why young Hamlet did not become the king, but I think it wasbecause he was a little too young. This is where Hamlet begins. After hisfathers death, Hamlet dresses in black all the time, and is very depressed. He is not only upset about his fathers death, but he is also disappointed inhis mother.
Queen Gertrude goes through almost no mourning period for herhusband, and quickly marries Claudius. While Hamlet mourns, Horatio leads him toa ghost that keeps appearing outside the castle. This ghost seems to be hisfather, and it tells Hamlet that his death had in fact been murder, and that thenew King of Denmark was the murderer. “The serpent that did sting thy father’slife now wears his crown,” (I.
v. 38-39). Astonished by this news, Hamlet swearsvengeance for his fathers death. Hamlet is a very smart person. We learn, atthe beginning of the play, that he is just coming back from a university inWittenberg.
Throughout the play, all Hamlet wants to do is go back to theuniversity. His education causes him to have a questioning attitude, which playsa huge role in the whole play. Since he is a scholar, Hamlet is more likely tothink things through, rather than act immediately. He contemplates every action,prepares for the reaction, and also weighs the consequences.
When the ghostpresents Hamlet with the information about his fathers death, he quicklybegins to wonder whether he should believe the apparition, or not. When Claudiussends Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, Hamlets friends, to try and find thecause for his sons madness, Hamlet quickly turns the table and finds out his”friends” real intentions. Hamlet instructs them to report to Claudius thathe is upset with the whole situation, and that he senses something is foul inDenmark. Hamlet has the ability to manipulate, and see through people. He usesthis power to “perform” throughout the whole play.
Right after seeing theghost, Hamlet tells Horatio and Marcellus not to let anyone know that he ispretending to be mentally deranged. “Here as before, never, so help you mercy,how strange or odd someer I bear myself,. . . that you, at such times seeing me,never shall. .
. know aught of me this do swear,” (I. v. 169-179). Thisbrilliant scheme will provide Hamlet with the ability to perform very strangeand unusual acts, and will not be questioned for it.
If he randomly startsaccusing people of murder, or if he interrupts a big dinner, or if he saysthings that are very inappropriate, nobody will realize what his true intentionsare, because they will think that he is crazy. Hamlet uses this scheme to pursuehis revenge on Claudius. Revenge causes one to act through anger, rather thanreason. It is based on the principle of, “An eye for an eye. ” This is whatHamlet wants; to avenge his fathers death, by killing Claudius.
Hamletdecides to change a play that will be performed in front of the King and Queen. He changes it, so it is a reenactment of Claudius killing King Hamlet. Whilethe play is being performed, Hamlet will watch for Claudius reaction to it. If Claudius starts getting squirmy or uneasy, Hamlet will know for sure thatClaudius did, in fact, kill his father. Hamlet would probably take any littlemovement by Claudius as a confession of guilt, because he is so angry about hisfathers death, and wants revenge very badly.
This is why he tells Horatio,”I prithee, when thou sees that act afoot, even with the very comment of thysoul observe my uncle. If his occulted guilt do not itself unkennel in onespeech, it is a damned ghost that we have seen, and my imaginations are as foulas Vulcans stithy,” (III. ii. 80-86).
This is a great example of Hamlet usinghis .