Hamlet Essay, Research Paper
First performed in 1603, Hamlet, The Prince of Denmark is probably the best
known of William Shakespeare’s works, and may well be the most famous English
language play ever written. The character, Hamlet, is one of the most compelling
characters to ever emerge from the pages of English literature. Hamlet has been the
center of admiring critical commentaries. It has also developed a reputation as a difficult
work to analyze. Hamlet features a very complicated character, with many complex
themes, and presents the reader with a multi-layered text, which defies easy reading.
He has been subjected to numerous interpretations and studies over the centuries,
his actions and thoughts analyzed again and again. Probably more than anything else is
the reason for Hamlet’s charismatic appeal. In the first scene Hamlets father, the king,
dies mysteriously just two months prior. Claudius, has taken the throne and has married
the dead king’s wife, Queen Gertrude. The members of the watch, including Prince
Hamlet’s loyal friend Horatio, are alarmed over the recent appearance of a ghost who
resembles Hamlet’s late father, and they plan to tell Hamlet about this eerie visitations.
The Ghost of Hamlet’s father speaks to his son directly and urges him to follow
him to a one-on-one encounter. There he explains in detail of his horrid death and tells
Hamlet that this heinous crime must be avenged and that it is up to his son to justify this
by killing Claudius.
“I am thy father’s spirit;
Doom’d for a certain term to walk the night,
And for the day confin’d to wastein fires,
Till the foul crimes done in my days of nature
Are burnt and purg’d away.” Hamlet (Act I, Sc. V)
Hamlet has trouble depicting truth from fantasy in this scene, whether or not to believe
the ghost who assumes the form of his deceased father. The death of his father leads
Hamlet down the road to insanity. With his mother marrying his uncle only a month after
King Hamlets death, makes the road a one way street.
To confirm the truth Hamlet puts on a play, inspired by his father’s unfortunate, to
get an reaction from his Uncle. After witnessing his Uncle’s expression towards the play
he knows the ghost was speaking the truth all along. Understanding the dialog was indeed
troublesome, but with some time and patience Shakespeare is readable. Many of the
characters, such as Ophelia, are odd to get a handle of. What made Ophelia kill herself is
beyond my comprehension.
As a reader, you can come to any number of reasonable conclusions about
Hamlet, but coming to a firm stop about this complex character is a difficult task. What I
have taken out of this story, is, What you do now will come back to haunt you in another