Hamlets Character is contradictory" Essay
Hamlets Character is contradictory"
Shakespeare gives Hamlet a very indecisive character in this play. This in turn leads to Hamlet becoming contradictive, more and more so throughout the play. His main problem is that he is more of a ‘thinker’ than a ‘doer’. This causes him many problems throughout the whole play. The first example we get of this comes in Hamlets first soliloquy. Here we find out what Hamlet truly feels about the situation he finds himself in after his fathers death.
After initially seeming to be willing to go along with Claudius’s and his mother’s marriage here we find out how he truly feels. He expresses his disgust at the hastiness from which his Mother has married to Claudius so soon after his fathers death. He also expresses how devastated he is at the death of his father and Claudius taking the crown, which Hamlet believes should rightfully be his. Hamlet once again shows this when he goes with his Fathers ghost.
He comes back from this encounter determined to take revenge on Claudius but then passes up many chances to do so in order to make sure that the ghost is telling the truth. Hamlet continues this throughout the play and ironically this leads to him doing exactly the opposite of what the ghost wants by hurting his Mother and not taking revenge on Claudius when he has many chances to. Another appearance of Hamlets contradiction appears in his first soliloquy when he is very damning towards women:
“Frailty, thy name is woman! ” This contradicts with his apparent infatuation with his mother, and especially with her sexual behaviour. Hamlets contradictory character is also reflected in the many mood swings he has during the play. He constantly changes his mood one minute appearing relatively happy, the next he is at his sadistic worse cruelly teasing others with his wordplay. The worst of this comes when he is talking to Ophelia in Act 3 Scene 1, where nearly everything he says to her has a sexual double meaning.
Here Hamlet has realised that he is being spied on and intend to have some fun at Ophelia’s expense as he feels that she has been used as a spy whereas in reality she knows nothing of the situation. Hamlets character however can not just be described as contradictory, it id far too complex for that. Hamlet could also be described as erudite, ingenious and quick-minded for the way he took advantage of the players arriving and setting up the play “Murder of Gonzago” in order to test the Kings guilty conscience and find out if he really did kills Old Hamlet.
Hamlet is also regarded as pessimistic, over – dramatic, angry, desperate and frustrated for his outlook on life and human nature and the way he feels about being denied the chance to become king after his father’s death. Many people also feel that Hamlet is obsessive; this is shown with his fixation with his mother’s sexuality and is once again brought into light by Ophelia revealing all of the love letters that Hamlet has sent to her in the past. All in all I believe that whilst contradiction is one of Hamlets main characteristics, his character is too broad for it to be described as any one thing.
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 31 July 2017
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