Drama Essay, Research Paper
Happy endings, according to Fay Weldon do not necessarily mean a marriage or rescue from death. Instead, a happy ending can come in the form of a spiritual reassessment or moral reconciliation. In Hamlet, what would normally be considered a tragic ending, resulting in the death of nearly all the characters, can instead, as Weldon implies, be seen as both a spiritual reassessment and moral reconciliation.
In Hamlet, the final scenes result in the death of Hamlet, the King, the Queen, Polonius, and Ophelia. Although death in itself is tragic, the circumstances under which the deaths occurred turn a melancholy mood into the “happy ending” that Weldon spoke of.
In its entirety, the play focuses on Hamlet seeking revenge for the death of his father at the hands of his uncle, his uncle’s marriage to his mother into “incestuous sheets,” and the new king, his uncle’s, corruption of the kingdom. In spite of the hero’s death, the play harks of the “moral reconciliation” that Weldon speaks of. When King Hamlet is killed, and then returns as a ghost to speak with his son, Hamlet, he tells the story of his death. However, the story of how he really died, at the hands of his own brother, is far different than what the public knows, as they are under the impression that he was killed by a snake bite. Therefore, the Ghost remarks that all of Denmark is “rankly abused” by a “forged process.” As a result, the only way to achieve moral reconciliation for the entire kingdom is for Hamlet to kill the king, his uncle. In the final scenes, which essentially kill everyone, including Hamlet, the kingdom has been ridden of all evil. Once Fortinbras assumes power, as he states he will by saying, “, the kingdom will once again be reconciled into goodness.
Hamlet also undergoes a spiritual reassessment before his death. Throughout the duration of the play, Hamlet has been a procrastinator. His indecisiveness is evident when he has an opportunity to kill the king, however refuses to, because he thinks that the king is praying. Hamlet claims he did not kill the king at this point because had he died while praying, the king would have gone straight to heaven. However, the irony lies in that the king was actually simply kneeling, and was not involved in prayer. Therefore, it is simple to say that Hamlet is procrastinating, because he is not sure of what to do. He wants to believe the ghost, but there is still some part of him that believes that killing the king would not only be morally wrong, but it also would cost him his life. Throughout the entire play, even though he is only pretending to be insane, Hamlet, though perfectly sane, cannot make a single conscious decision. It is not until the end, until Hamlet has weighed the importance of various factors, that Hamlet makes the conscious decision to kill the king. This change of character occurs on his voyage to England. Hamlet is rescued, and then begins his calculated plan to seek revenge. Hamlet wants to share his plan, as he has “words to speak in thine ear that will make thee dumb.” However, he knows better than to reveal the plan in a letter. This marks the beginning of Hamlet’s spiritual reassessment. Although he has only been acting insane to throw off other people, Hamlet was not perfectly sane. He was unable to make decisions, particularly those regarding the revenge he was instructed to carry out. However, once he was being shipped to England, something caused him to make up his mind, therefore triggering the beginning of the spiritual reassessment. He was forced to rethink his values and what meant most to him, his pride, and seeking revenge, or his life, the price he must pay for revenge. Hamlet dramatic spiritual reassessment concludes with his tragic death at the hand of Laertes.
In Hamlet, the hero, Hamlet, undergoes both a spiritual reassessment and orchestrates a moral reconciliation for the entire kingdom. By making the conscious decision to kill the king, Hamlet is able to regain his strength of mind, as well as rid the kingdom of all the evil that dwells within it.