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Hamlet Essay Matrix

Hamlet’s Indecisive Nature Essay

The matrix theory is a question that illustrates the personal aspect of decision. The philosophy offers no choice, but revolves around a decision of bliss or truth (Diocaretz 9). Such an aspect is depicted in William Shakespeare’s textbook tragedy, Hamlet. The protagonist has to make a similar decision between his moral belief and obligation, however he falls into an uncertain state of mind and hesitates to act. After meeting with a ghost, who tells him to seek revenge against his uncle Claudius, Hamlet is determined to take action. Conversely he has a compulsion to moral law, which yields him to lack firmness. Critiques commonly label Hamlet as a man of contemplation rather than action. Consequently his periods of inactivity, tentative emotions, and constant hesitation characterize Hamlet as indecisive.
In between periods of vague action Hamlet’s road to revenge takes several detours. After the ghost of his father, who is an act of God and the devil, commands Hamlet to avenge him, Hamlet agrees and says, “Haste me to know't, that I, with wings as swift/ As meditation or the thoughts of love, / May sweep to my revenge (I, v, 29-31).” Hamlet promises his fathers spirit that he will swiftly avenge his death, and although he acts quickly to authenticate the spirits allegations, there is a delay of weeks before he a acts again. Moreover, Hamlet recklessly and unknowingly kills Polonius in Act 3, Scene 4; a period of inactivity follows on his part. After which the ghost returns to refresh Hamlet’s memory, “Do not forget. This visitation / Is but to whet thy almost blunted purpose (III, iv, 111-112).” Delays in action as well as the appearance of the spirit a second time support the fact that Hamlet is less then swiftly avenging his father’s death.
The irony Hamlet presents when he promises swift revenge, yet delays before acting is a common topic to critique. Hamlet is uncertain and reflects on his future actions thus, causing a delay. Critique Samuel Coleridge agrees that Hamlet has an, “overbalance in the contemplative faculty; thus vacillates delays of procrastination; and wastes the energy of resolving, the energy of acting (Coleridge Samuel).” Therefore in the instance of opportunity Hamlet wastes his built up determination on contemplation rather then action. Furthermore Hamlet has a chance to kill Claudius while he prays, however he fails to do so saying he waits for the right moment, scholar Thomas Sheridan feels, “this is an excuse to delay the murder, because he is uncertain of his actions (Sheridan Thomas).” Hamlet’s constant delaying of his actions further supports the fact that he lacks decisiveness and suggests psychological and emotional uncertainty.
Hamlet divulges his emotions as well as psychological state to the audience through his soliloquies. Hamlet reveals his ambiguity when he speaks to the audience, continually scolding and questioning his choice. In Act 2, Scene 2 he compares himself to Pyrrhus and deprecates himself a...

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Hamlet Essay

2296 words - 9 pages There are many topics deeply hidden in the works of William Shakespeare. One of his greatest pieces of works is the story of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. Not only are the words of Shakespeare meaningful, but there are also many follow up pieces of literature that contain important interpretations of the events in this play. These works about Hamlet are extremely beneficial to the reader. I have found four of these works and will use them as...

Investigating Depression in Shakespeare's Hamlet Essay

1981 words - 8 pages Hamlet is depressed from the exposition of the play. Why? It is a month after his father’s death. Why can't he just continue on with his life? Hamlet’s overwhelming depression first manifests itself after the visit from his father as a ghost. His father warns him of the deceptive and wretched qualities of his uncle Claudius. Hamlet suffers a great deal of sadness, feeling helpless in his father's request to exact revenge against...

Play and Theater Analysis of Shakespeare’s Hamlet

2419 words - 10 pages “I don't really agree with the notion of setting the plays anywhere in particular. When asked that question about Hamlet I tend to say that it was set on the stage.”-Neil Armfield1. No other quote on Shakespeare’s Hamlet could have more precisely summed up the play’s echoic, reverberant and hauntingly evocative self-referential quality. No other playwright deployed the language, conventions and the resources of the theatre as effectively, so as...

The Law of Nature Must Carry its Punitive Consequences With It

1848 words - 7 pages “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark” (1.4.98) but there are a variety of different infections that all contribute to one main conflict. Each character within the play has not only his or her own inner trials to fight against but also each of these issues form together to create the corruption in Denmark. Throughout the course of the play each character learns to deal with his or her internal battles and each conflict combines with...

Structure in Hamlet

2892 words - 12 pages Structure in Hamlet   In Shakespeare’s tragic drama Hamlet, what is the structure? Is it a two-part construction of Rising Action and then Falling Action? Is it a three-part construction? Or four parts? This essay will answer these questions and others related to structure.   A.C. Bradley in Shakespearean Tragedy analyzes the structure of Shakespearean tragedy:   As a Shakespearean tragedy represents a conflict which...

Hamlet and Macbeth Analyzed as Aristotelian Tragedies

1838 words - 7 pages      Aristotle’s Poetics is considered the guide to a well written tragedy; his methods have been used for centuries. Aristotle defines a tragedy as “an imitation of an action that is serious, complete, and of a certain magnitude… in the form of an action, not of narrative; through pity and fear effecting the proper purgation of these emotions” (House, 82). The philosopher believes the plot to be the most vital aspect of...

Revenge In Two Literary Works

1693 words - 7 pages Revenge as a theme is cleverly built upon throughout Hamlet; with it being the driving force behind three of the key characters in the play. Revenge is a frighteningly vicious emotion, which causes people to act blindly and without reason. In Poe’s, “The Cask of Amontillado”, Montresor enacts revenge for reasons unknown. Hamlet in contrast, has all the motive in the world to complete his task; yet he constantly hesitates. The text reveals that...

Hamlet -  The Prince of Denmark, the title character, and the protagonist. About thirty years old at the start of the play, Hamlet is the son of Queen Gertrude and the late King Hamlet, and the nephew of the present king, Claudius. Hamlet is melancholy, bitter, and cynical, full of hatred for his uncle’s scheming and disgust for his mother’s sexuality. A reflective and thoughtful young man who has studied at the University of Wittenberg, Hamlet is often indecisive and hesitant, but at other times prone to rash and impulsive acts.

Read an in-depth analysis of Hamlet.

Claudius -  The King of Denmark, Hamlet’s uncle, and the play’s antagonist. The villain of the play, Claudius is a calculating, ambitious politician, driven by his sexual appetites and his lust for power, but he occasionally shows signs of guilt and human feeling—his love for Gertrude, for instance, seems sincere.

Read an in-depth analysis of Claudius.

Gertrude -  The Queen of Denmark, Hamlet’s mother, recently married to Claudius. Gertrude loves Hamlet deeply, but she is a shallow, weak woman who seeks affection and status more urgently than moral rectitude or truth.

Read an in-depth analysis of Gertrude.

Polonius -  The Lord Chamberlain of Claudius’s court, a pompous, conniving old man. Polonius is the father of Laertes and Ophelia.

Horatio -  Hamlet’s close friend, who studied with the prince at the university in Wittenberg. Horatio is loyal and helpful to Hamlet throughout the play. After Hamlet’s death, Horatio remains alive to tell Hamlet’s story.

Ophelia -  Polonius’s daughter, a beautiful young woman with whom Hamlet has been in love. Ophelia is a sweet and innocent young girl, who obeys her father and her brother, Laertes. Dependent on men to tell her how to behave, she gives in to Polonius’s schemes to spy on Hamlet. Even in her lapse into madness and death, she remains maidenly, singing songs about flowers and finally drowning in the river amid the flower garlands she had gathered.

Laertes -  Polonius’s son and Ophelia’s brother, a young man who spends much of the play in France. Passionate and quick to action, Laertes is clearly a foil for the reflective Hamlet.

Fortinbras -  The young Prince of Norway, whose father the king (also named Fortinbras) was killed by Hamlet’s father (also named Hamlet). Now Fortinbras wishes to attack Denmark to avenge his father’s honor, making him another foil for Prince Hamlet.

The Ghost -  The specter of Hamlet’s recently deceased father. The ghost, who claims to have been murdered by Claudius, calls upon Hamlet to avenge him. However, it is not entirely certain whether the ghost is what it appears to be, or whether it is something else. Hamlet speculates that the ghost might be a devil sent to deceive him and tempt him into murder, and the question of what the ghost is or where it comes from is never definitively resolved.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern -  Two slightly bumbling courtiers, former friends of Hamlet from Wittenberg, who are summoned by Claudius and Gertrude to discover the cause of Hamlet’s strange behavior.

Osric -  The foolish courtier who summons Hamlet to his duel with Laertes.

Voltimand and Cornelius -  Courtiers whom Claudius sends to Norway to persuade the king to prevent Fortinbras from attacking.

Marcellus and Bernardo -  The officers who first see the ghost walking the ramparts of Elsinore and who summon Horatio to witness it. Marcellus is present when Hamlet first encounters the ghost.

Francisco -  A soldier and guardsman at Elsinore.

Reynaldo -  Polonius’s servant, who is sent to France by Polonius to check up on and spy on Laertes.

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