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Shakespeare’s ”Hamlet”

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Throughout the course of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the main character, Prince Hamlet, is forced to overcome many devastating losses. Dealing with these hardships causes Hamlet to change during the course of the play. Hamlet’s change from a peaceful to bloodthirsty man is evident through his anger over his situation, his wanting revenge, and his determination to finally get what he wants.

Hamlet’s peaceful life was flipped upside down very quickly. His father, King Hamlet, died, and his mother remarried his uncle very shortly after his father’s death. Claudius, Hamlet’s uncle, took the throne that Hamlet rightfully deserved. While trying to work out this awkward situation, Hamlet is met by the ghost of his father. The ghost explains that he did not die, it was through a “murder most foul,” that he was killed by his own brother. Hamlet is left not sure what to believe, only making his anger worse. He is angry at his mother for going through with such a hasty marriage so soon after the king’s death. This is evident when he states, “Frailty, thy name is woman,” expressing his dissatisfaction with his mother’s choices. He is also upset with Claudius as he says, “A little more than kin and less than kind,” of their relationship. It is difficult for him since he has no like for Claudius even though they are now even more closely related.

After much brooding over his anger, Hamlet realizes he wants revenge. However, even though he has convinced himself, he is not able to perform the act. In his most famous soliloquy Hamlet is forced to make a decision on how to act with the knowledge the ghost has given him, “To be, or not to be, that is the question: whether it is nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortunes, or to take arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing end them.” Hamlet decides to act on the knowledge, but he can never follow through with his plans. At one point he is ready to kill Claudius, but he finds him praying. Hamlet fears that if he kills Claudius while praying, Claudius would be sent to heaven and not hell. The irony behind the situation is that Claudius is unable to repent, and Hamlet just missed a perfect opportunity to avenge his father.

After a confrontation with Fortinbras, Hamlet’s attitude takes a serious change. Hamlet notices that Fortinbras was acting to show his anger, not sitting around like Hamlet was. From that point on, Hamlet is out for blood. When Laertes returns, angry over his father’s death, he challenges Hamlet to a duel. Laertes and Claudius conspire to kill Hamlet by sharpening Laertes’ foil and poisoning the tip and poisoning the wine. The plan backfires, however, because Hamlet uses Laertes’ blade against him and then getting the king. Though Hamlet is killed in the process, he has once and for all avenged his father’s death.

In the end, Hamlet was able to make good on his promise to the ghost. His change from peaceful to aggressive was clearly seen as his anger grew, he came to his decision to get revenge, and when he finally took action. The story reveals a lot about how a character can develop throughout the play. As Hamlet’s life began to change, so did he. At the end of the play, Hamlet was nothing like the way he was when things all started.

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