Hamlet Questions

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Throughout the novel an eerie and dark tone is used to depict characters and interactions. These negative connotations help establish mood and show true feelings of main characters such as Horacio, Claudius, Hamlet, and Fortinbras. Claudius says that “Young Fortinbras, holding a weak supposal of our worth, or thinking by our dear late brother’s death our state to be disjoint and out of frame colleagued with this dream of his advantage, he hath not failed to pester us with message importing the surrender of those lands lost by his father, with all bonds of law” (I. ii. 17-23). This statement is the equivalent of a threat. This threat is meant to create chaos within the country, leading to political turmoil. This upheaval in addition to the kings death creates a very dark and eerie future for the country. As Horatio prompts the ghost with questions, it “will not answer” (I. i. 62). This mysterious interaction, leads to an unsettled mood in the story. The reader is unsure of what is to occur next, making mystery a driving factor throughout the book, helping to employ dark and mysterious imagery and tone. Although both speeches have harsh emotions propelling them, Hamlet’s speech is filled with anger while the ghost’s soliloquy is full of intent on hurting Claudius. Hamlet’s speech is heartbroken; “how weary, stale, flat and unprofitable seem to me all the uses of this world!” (I. ii. 137-138). wants to end his suffering by killing himself. He’s upset that he has been put in such a hard position by his mother. On the contrary, the ghost is more focused on avenging his own death so that he can go to heaven, not be stuck in purgatory. Until Claudius is dead the girls will be stuck. The ghost tells Hamlet to “let thy soul contrive against thy mother aught” (I. v. 92-93). Hamlet is not content with his father‘s request but agrees. In addition to watching his mother marry his uncle, he is asked to burden murder, putting him in an intense position, one which could torment his mind. Although both Laertes and Polonius warn Ophelia against falling in love with Hamlet, Ophelia denies Laertes but obeys Polonius’s word. Polonius is much softer in his his request, making Ophelia more content with obeying him. Laertes tells Ophelia to “keep you in the rear of your affection, out of the shot and danger of desire” (I. ii. 39-40). Polonius tells Ophelia to preserve her virginity as she will be broken hearted if Hamlet decides not to marry her. Ophelia rarely ever makes her own decisions so she follows what she is told by the men in her life. Ophelia follows patronizing request of Polonius. Polonius tells Ophelia that she needs to “be something scanter of your maiden presence” (I, iii, 130). Although his tone may be a bit patronizing, it is also endearing. He wants to see her protected and does not want anything to happen to her. He has good intentions for her, but they are not able to protect her in the end. The conversations between Laertes and Polonius and Hamlet, Claudius and Gertrude are all between family.  The interaction with Hamlet is is one full of hatred and negative emotion. He says that he has “that within which passeth show; these but the trappings and suits of woe” (I. ii. 88-89). Hamlet speaks his feelings of disgust with his family as they seem to be power hungry wolves. On the contrary, Polonius speaks to his family in order to share advice. This is ironic as Polonius is not seen as a very intelligent man, however he gives good advice. Polonius tells Laertes to “be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar” (I. iii. 67). As Laertes respects his father, he takes his advice and it benefits him. It becomes evident through these very different interactions that family dynamics in the story almost foil one another. The motifs of love, lust and incest rear their heads in Act I scene ii throughout Hamlet’s soliloquy. Hamlet talks of how his father was “so loving to my mother,” however his ,mother is being married to his father’s brother in “incestuous sheets” (I.ii.144, 162). Because Hamlet respected his father so much, as his mother so quickly remarries his father‘s brother, Hamlet is filled with rage. The decisions of the mother are very morally questionable, however she justifies them with her need for power. This skews the view of relationships before the play really begins, making relationships seem as  power move, not full of love. As hamlet describes his father with love filled diction, the mother is depicted as a harsh and unloving character. Polonius also warns Ophelia of the power of love and lust as people say random things when “the blood burns” (I.iii.124). This warning is meant to preserve Ophelia innocence as lust, the driving factor of this warning, has the power to corrupt the innocent Ophelia. Additionally, in scene five, the ghost calls Claudius, “that adulterate beast” (I.v.49). From the very beginning of the story King Hamlet wants revenge on his brother for corrupting his wife through lust for power. This action of the brother and wife make love seen corrupt, therefore creating a bad example for other character to base their relationships on, leading to more problems with love and lust. Paraphrase: Yes, and in my mind because this is my homeland I should honor this custom. But I don’t like it. Other countries ridicule us. They call us drunks, and drinking all the time keeps them from considering our achievements and gives us a bad past. It’s like when people are born with a birth defect, something they aren’t to blame for it because they can’t control it. Sometimes that  makes them less attractive to others even if they’re talented and amazing. The smallest things can make people forget good qualities and ruin their reputations. throughout this soliloquy, Hamlet is commenting on Denmark’s reputation after finding out Claudius was drunk all last night. This commentary on tarnishing reputation foreshadows how Claudius will ruin Hamlet. Claudius is the one piece of bad in Hamlet’s life which will ultimately be the cause his downfall. Appearance versus reality is a major factor throughout the play, Hamlet. The author, Shakespeare used the idea that characters hide their real emotions behind a guise in order to create his characters. As Claudius says, “Though yet of Hamlet our dear brother’s death the memory be green, and that it us befitted to bear our hearts in grief” (I.ii.1-3). As Claudius acts torn up by his brothers death, in reality, he is the one who commited the murder. This shows how the characters in the play hide their true emotions and actions behind opposing emotions and actions. At the beginning of act one, Hamlet is saddened by his father‘s death is I’m sure of what to do next. Later on, at the end of act one hamlet seems to be furious with his mother, who is married his uncle, as well as nervous of what his father‘s ghost has asked him to do. In Hamlet’s first soliloquy he says: “O, that this too, too sullied flesh would melt, thaw and resolve itself into a dew” (I.ii.133-134). Amber is deeply saddened by his father‘s death and his mother’s course of action to become married to his father‘s brother. Emma is unsure of how a person could do such a terrible thing right after their soulmate is just died. At the end of the act, Hamlet is horrified at finding out that his uncle murdered his father, and he is also scared about the fact he has been tasked with murder. Hamlet exclaims, “And shall I couple hell?” (I.v.100). Hamlet is extremely upset with his family, specifically his mother,  and is unsure about what it will be like to kill another person. He wonders if he will go to hell or not even if he kills someone who deserves to die. At the end of act one, there has been much growth for hamlet as a person. He uses harsh and negative diction and tone to portray his intense mental turmoil. At the beginning of the act he was innocent and maurine loss, and at the end he is considering murdering a family member.

Act II

In act two, both Polonius and Claudius order people to go and spy on her sons. Shakespeare does this in order to compare and contrast the effects of families, situations, and characters. These spies are used to show how The relationships between the fathers and sons are quite fragile. Polonius orders his servants to spy on Laertes, his son, and to “make inquire of his behavior” (II.i.4). Because Polonius send spies to watch his son, it becomes apparent that he does not trust layer tees. Additionally, Claudius send two of hamlet friends to spy on him. This shows that the people surrounding Hamlet are full of deceit and are not the loyal friends they claim to be. The king asks them to “draw him on to pleasures, and to gather so much as from occasion you may glean” (II.ii.15-16). Much of the conflict caused is due to a drive to maintain power. Both of the father figures have power over the sons and they want to keep it this way. These two father-son relationships mirror each other due to the fact that they are both damaged and full of skepticism. Because Polonius uses way too many words to convey one simple thought, Hamlet uses his intelligence to twist Polonius’s words into insults. Hamlet uses Polonius his own words to mock him. Hamlet tells Polonius, “you are a fishmonger” (II.ii.190). Because Polonius is so caught up in his own  lengthy statements, he doesn’t even notice, making him look like a fool. Because Polonius believes he himself is the smartest, and he’s being insulted by Hamlet, this interaction is comical. In both interactions between Polonius and Hamlet and Hamlet and his friends, Hamlet uses his fake madness in order to reveal their true intentions. Hamlet is able to unveil how Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are not his true friends and how Polonius is a fool. He tells Guildenstern and Rosencrantz “You were sent for, and there is a kind of confession in your looks which your modesties have not craft enough to color” (I.ii.300-303). Because Hamlet is able to pretend like he is mad, his “friends“ believe that they can say what they truly believe, without having to face the consequences. Because Hamlet is secretly in his right mind when they are conveying their true feelings and plans, Hamlet is able to discern Rosencrantz and Guildenstern’s true intentions and calls them out on their devious statements. In the interaction with Polonius, Hamlet uses his “method” of madness in order to ridicule and point out the hypocrisies which Polonius embodies. Hamlet uses his “method” of faking madness in order to further his plans of avenging his father's death by getting accurate information and views from his enemies in addition to ease his mind. In act II, Hamlet has been tasked with avenging his father's death. Hamlet uses a guise of madness to lead his friends and polonius to unveil their true intention. By gaining insight to the truth, Hamlet can act accordingly.  Additionally, Hamlet is unsettled by this father's request to kill his murderer. Hamlet fakes madness to act like he is working to complete his father’s request while he sorts his moral options. Hamlet's interaction with the First player is one where Hamlet searches for inspiration in a story and ultimately find his conscience. As Pyrrhus is tasked with murdering the killer of his father, Achilles, Hamlet hopes to gain insight how to do the same. Hamlet hears how Pyrrhus has “sable arms, black as his purpose” which are read to avenge. (II.ii.477-478). This is helpful to Hamlet as he looks to Pyrrhus as a perverted role model to committing murder.  This is also problematic for Hamlet because he begins to realize, he is unable to commit murder for any reason, the morally correct thing, but in Hamlet's mind a disgrace. In the first soliloquy Hamlet say, he is horribly depressed by hi fathers murder as well as upset by his mother marrying his late father’s brother. In the second act, however, Hamlet become vengeful as he learns of his fathers true nature of death. Hamlet says, “That I, the son of a dear father murdered, prompted to my revenge by heaven and hell” (II.ii.612-616). In the second act, Hamlet is more emotionally unstable and vengeful rather than emotional and upset. When he is tasked with murder by his father's ghost, he becomes indecisive and unsure of himself.  Hamlet decide he will “observe his looks,” Claudius’ look, when he makes him watch a scene from a show similar to his father’s death (II.ii.625). Hamlet believes that if Claudius looks guilty as he watches the show Hamlet will be able to conclude Claudius’s guilt. This will make Hamlet at peace, leaving hims hopeful at the end of act two in addition to angry. The theme that appearances are not as they seem and that reality are a large factor in the character interactions of Hamlet. Hamlet's interactions with his friends, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are examples of false intentions. They are pretending to be Hamlets friends, however their true intentions are to spy on him for Claudius and Ophelia. Another example of appearances not being reality is when Hamlet pretends to be mad searching for meaning in “words, words, words” (II.ii.210) Hamlet is deceiving everyone around him in order to understand the true intentions veiled by those who claim to care for him. Hamlet's appearance of madness works as he understands Rosencrantz and Guildenstern do not have his best intentions in mind Another instance where appearances are not reality is when Hamlet sets up an entire production of a play in order to “catch the conscience of the King” (II.ii.633-634). Hamlet hopes that the play may be enough to make Claudius prove his guilt through expression. Although the play seems to be just a source of entertainment for Claudius and the rest of the audience, the intentions behind the production are to prove Claudius’ guilt of murder.

ACT III

In the third soliloquy, Hamlet remarks how “to die” is the equivalent of his escape from the sorrows he must endure (III.i.72-73). However, Hamlet is unsure of how he will be able to handle the permanence of death. Is the reality that he is living right now better than the one he will have in the after life? This is the question that he asks himself and causes him so much mental terror. In his first soliloquy, Hamlet’s language and tone is that of one who is upset and struggles with understanding the actions of his mother. In the second soliloquy, Hamlet is angry and vengeful after learning the true nature of his father’s death. Although Hamlet must arrive at a decision in all three soliloquies,  this soliloquy differs in that Hamlet must arrive at a decision which has direct impact on his own life. The theme, there is a breaking point to the amount of pain men can endure, leads to Hamlet’s decision whether he should end his suffering or suffer for his father and avenge his death. Hamlet understands that he is being spied on by Polonius and Claudius. He acts like a terrible person towards Ophelia doing so in an attempt to mislead Polonius and Claudius. In both the fishmonger scene of act two and the exchange between Hamlet and Ophelia, Hamlet uses his madness method. He uses paradox school and contradicting diction in order to portray his madness in the first scene and uses harsh diction in order convey somewhat fake feelings towards Ophelia in the later scene. Hamlet does this in order to confuse Polonius, who he knows is controlling Ophelia. Hamlet resent Ophelia for obeying her father and trying to mislead him but also feels like he has also mislead himself by following his father’s request of vengeance. By using his “madness” method, Hamlet is able to use “indirection to find directions out.” Hamlet uses his fake madness to mislead Polonius and Claudius in order to gain true understanding of their intentions. Because Polonius and Claudius were plotting against Hamlet, using Ophelia to manipulate him, Hamlet counters this attack through faking madness. This would be categorized as forced action because Hamlet had no other choice but to pretend to be insane in order to preserve himself against malicious intent.
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