Term Paper: Tragedy of Hamlet William Shakespeare's Most Famous

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¶ … Tragedy of Hamlet

William Shakespeare's most famous play, Hamlet, has a relatively simple plot on the surface: the son is asked to revenge the murder of his father. Still, as critical opinion observed many times, the play has many psychological and metaphysical implications: it is, in fact a meditation on the nature of man, as well as a meditation on life in general. To reveal these implications, Shakespeare has chosen a character that would best suit his purpose: the prince of Denmark shows all the signs of the melancholic disposition: he is a philosopher and a man with strong moral principles, that make him revolt against the double crime that forms the core of the play: the murder of his father, the king of Denmark, by his own brother Claudius, and the latter's marriage to Gertrude, Hamlet's mother and the wife of the dead king.

Hamlet's attitude in front of this "foul play," his deferral in taking action and the final resolution of the conflict are the facts that most reveal the philosophical and psychological themes of the play.

At both the psychological and philosophical levels of the play, the Shakespearian text reveals a very important theme- that of the contrast between appearance and reality. The structure of the play and its main events unfold this contrast: the double crime is called a "foul play" by Hamlet upon his hearing from Horatio about the apparition of the ghost of his father. This term intimates that the events as apparent in the play have a hidden meaning. Also, play becomes again important in what was called the "play within play" scene, where it is Hamlet's turn to play and stage a tragedy for Claudius with the aid of some actors, in which he inserts a few lines that speak of his father's murder. Thus, the "play" or the act of playing at reality becomes a central theme of Hamlet.

Thus, first of all, Hamlet's own nature is most characterized by his repulsion towards appearances, and the feigned grief that his uncle and his mother show at the death of the king. As critic W. Thomas MacCary observed, Hamlet best suits Hegel's description of the "beautiful soul," the romantic hero who condemns the world and withdraws from it, not realizing that he himself is a product of it and carries its form impressed on him." (MacCary, 95)

One of Hamlet's own statements about himself upholds the commentary above:

But I have within me that which passes show,

These but the trappings and the suits of woe." (Ham. I. ii. 85-86)

The death of Hamlet's father is termed as something "common" by the… [END OF PREVIEW]

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"Tragedy of Hamlet William Shakespeare's Most Famous."  Essaytown.com.  November 21, 2006.  Accessed November 14, 2019.
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