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Hamlet is a famous play written by the master of tragedy William Shakespeare. The play is regarded as one of the most successful works by Shakespeare. It was composed sometime between 1599 to 1602. The story of Hamlet follows the tragic hero’s path to avenging his father’s death, the King of Denmark.
Hamlet has multiple themes, such as madness, betrayal, and revenge. Shakespeare also offers social and political commentary throughout the play. At a certain point in the play, all primary characters turn their backs on one another. This leads to misjudgments, lying, and characters being unfaithful to one another. They act out of pure wrath rather than utilizing a logical mind to consider things.
In the after-effects of King Claudius’s murder, Hamlet finds himself haunted by his father’s ghost, and he increasingly becomes preoccupied with the idea of death. He contemplates death from a variety of perspectives throughout the play. Hamlet contemplates both the spiritual aftermath of death and the physical remnants of the dead. His father’s ghost personifies the former, and the second aspect is exemplified by Yorick’s skull and the decaying bodies in the graveyard.
Throughout the play, the concept of death is intertwined with the themes of truth, spirituality, and precariousness. Plagued with the idea of his own death, Hamlet scrutinizes whether committing suicide is a Christian thing to do. His grief and despair overwhelm him. As such, he constantly wishes to end his life to stop his suffering.
Although suicidal thoughts are profound in Hamlet’s mind, he fears going through the act because he doesn’t want to spend eternity in hell. This internal conflict and irrational fear trigger complex moral considerations that prevent him forget his revenge.
The protagonist’s mind is so full of distrust and skepticism that it makes him question everything. The King’s ghost asks Hamlet to seek revenge. Though he believes that his uncle is the killer, he is still unsure. His doubts also weaken his resolve to kill himself. His soul is so corrupted with doubt that it wrecks him emotionally and spiritually. Hamlet also tries to contaminate other characters with his uncertainty.
Another central theme in Hamlet is madness. Hamlet’s character does not begin with madness. But over time, his behavior becomes more erratic and unpredictable. His emotional turmoil often spills over into physical violence. Polonius believes that Hamlet’s irrationality stems from his obsession with Ophelia, but in fact, it stems from far more profound issues than just simple love.
While Hamlet divulges in his own makings, the country of Denmark is plunged into political turmoil due to the King’s death. Shakespeare uses this political metaphor to represent Hamlet’s mental state and inner unrest.
In the end, all the main characters of the plot are killed. Hamlet’s character spent the entire play pondering whether to avenge his father’s death or commit suicide. The play’s ending essentially allows him to end his suffering and avenge his father. However, what is unclear to the audience is the extent to which Hamlet’s final acts are premeditated.
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