Hamlet Analysis

What is Ophelia’s role in Hamlet’s madness? Ophelia is caught between her love for Hamlet and her obedience to her father.When she obeys her father over Hamlet, it proves to him that women are weak who***, deceitful and untrustworthy, only following the words of a man and not themselves. “Frailty, thy name is woman” *Ophelia may have been the only one to keep Hamlet sane while he acted insane. When he found out about her death, he surely seemed truly insane. “‘Swounds, show me what thou’t do. Woo’t weep, woo’t fight, woo’t fast, woo’t tear thyself, woo’t drink up eisel, eat a crocodile?”
Motif a unifying idea that is a recurrent element in a literary or artistic work; A distinctive feature or dominant idea in an artistic or literary composition.
The Garden motifThe Garden of Eden and original sinKing Hamlet Senior died in an orchard (the Garden) by the bite of a snake (Claudius)It also represents Eve’s temptation which caused the downfall of man
Serpent motifClaudius highly identifies with the snake from the Garden of Eden.King Hamlet Senior tells young Hamlet that a snake (Claudius) killed him in the garden, poisoned the ears of Denmark and now wears his crown.*Poison can also be identified to a serpent, for poison in the kings ear was his death, the sword that killed Hamlet and Laertes is dipped with poison.Poisoned words kill Ophelia
Hamlet’s desire (and concept of) death motifHamlet is interested in death throughout the play. He questions his existence, what purpose man has in the world, weather or not he should live or die and if there is something after death.To kill himself or suffer life’s trials.
Gertrude and Ophelia according to Hamlet’s warped view of them Both Gertrude and Ophelia are complaint to the men in their lives.Although Ophelia is obedient out of purity and naivety, she followers her father and brothers words believing they know best for her even if they don’t care for her true feelings.Gertrude is complaint out of the need for everything to be of status quo, perfection, even greed. She has no purity. She is shallow, and lacks faith.Both of these women twist Hamlets view of women in general. He believes that they are weak and only follow the word of a strong man and not their own minds or heart, they will betray him. His loss of faith in women is mainly of his mothers fault of her unfaithfulness to her dead husband, Ophelia just confirmed it when she betrayed him for her father.
How is Hamlet a sympathetic character for the audience? First Hamlet’s dad dies and his mom remarried only 2 months after his dad’s death to his uncle.Ophelia betrays him.His two friends betray him.His daddy-uncle wants to kill him.
What does Hamlet admit to Horatio and the audience just before the company arrives to view the play? Hamlet admits to Horatio that he had staged the play being played so that he can catch Claudius in guilty conscience. He planned on doing this by showing a play that identically represented how and why Claudius killed King Hamlet Senior, his own brother.He asks Horatio to watch the reactions of Claudius, for only a guilty man will panic.He also admits his maddens is fake.
Ophelia She is the daughter of Polonius and deeply in love with Hamlet.She is pure, innocent and naiveShe follows the rules of Polonius obediently and has a need for men to tell her what to do and how to act.When her father tells her to spy on Hamlet she does and he feels betrayed, which also confirms his twisted view that women are weak untrustworthy whor**, and for doing so Hamlet criticizes her and rejects her.She does not understand his anger towards her and after his rejection and her fathers death she becomes insane and kills herself by drowning in a river.
Hamlet Hamlet is the main character. Hamlet is melancholy, bitter, and cynical, and full of hatred for his uncle’s scheming and disgust for his mother’s sexuality.He pretends to be mad so that he may get revenge for his fathers murder but it is possible that he suffered a true breakdown.Hamlet suffers great mental anguish over the death of his father, the marriage of his mother to the suspected murderer and his uncle(Claudius), and the clash between his moral sense and his desire for revenge against his father’s murderer.While an intelligent man he is often indecisive and hesitant, but at other times prone to rash and impulsive acts. He is depressive and suicidal but questions things based on reason, revengeful lust and religion. He is a mix of personality, dutiful, scheming, angry and compliant, he is the ultimate contradiction and he therefore becomes the ultimate tragic hero.
Gertrude She is Hamlets mother, and while she loves her son very much, she is weak willed and seeks affection and status instead of moral or truth. She is always trying to calm Hamlet, she supports Rosencrantz and Guildenstern’s attempts to cheer him up and hopes to see him marry Ophelia. *Her sadness at Ophelia’s insanity and death may be genuine, or it may be a guilty reflection of her own lack of faithfulness and loss of purity.
Claudius The new king of Denmark, Hamlet’s Uncle and new step dad.It appears he became king through the use of seduction, treachery, and murder. He feels comfortable in his position.When he realizes that he is under suspicion he becomes power-hungry and scheming. He tries to kill Hamlet by1) sending him to England to be killedand 2) have Laertes fight him with a poisoned sword (which is what kills Hamlet in the end)He is more active than Hamlet and uses others to his advantage while Hamlet acts rather like a lone wolfHe is the villain. 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 is possibly sincere. “But, O, what form of prayer can serve my turn? “Forgive me my foul murder?” That cannot be, since I am still possessed of those effects for which I did the murder: my crown, mine own ambition, and my queen.”
Polonius He is the king’s chief adviser and Ophelia’s father. He is selfish.He shows little genuine concern for Ophelia’s problems, instead using her to ingratiate himself with Claudius.Polonius flatters Claudius rather like kissing buttHe is insincere and arrogantHe also adds some humor, it’s really funny watching him try to keep up with Hamlet’s wit and only make a fool of himself.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Courtiers and friends of Hamlet who attended school with him.They quickly turn against him as spies for Claudius and help scheme to send Hamlet to England to be murdered. Hamlet quickly figures them out and plays along, having them murdered in his place as he returns to Denmark.
Horatio Horatio is Hamlet’s loyal friend, he is also the only one who lives in the end.He is calm and reserved and a foil of Hamlet. (compared to Hamlets rash personality)He is a reliable source of information: Horatio believes in the ghost of the old King, so the audience does too. When Horatio keeps his trust in Hamlet, we keep our trust in Hamlet – even when he behaves irrationally and kills Polonius. When Horatio speaks about Hamlet’s nobility, we know it is true.He keeps the audience sympathetic to Hamlet and he is a well liked characterHe does not take part in any deception and lacks self-interest.At the end of the play he is the only one left alive which suggest that honesty and faithfulness will always win.
Yorick Court jester of old King HamletHe looked after and played with Hamlet when Hamlet was a child.He is dead in the play and his skull is tossed to Hamlet and arouses old memories, it also help develop Hamlet’s morbid view on death.First Hamlet is rather melancholy about the death of Yorick, but nostalgic, then he seems to snap (on of the questions of his insanity) and his emotions change to scorn. He questions if all men, no matter how small or great, will turn into bones and nothing of importance. Death makes everyone equal.
Osric The foolish courtier (the referee to the sword duel between Laertes and Hamlet) who summons Hamlet to his duel with Laertes
Laertes He is the son of Polonius and the brother of Ophelia.When finding out that Hamlet is the cause of his fathers death and his sisters madness/death, he is eager for revenge and is convinced to fight him with a poisoned blade. He is motivated by a strong sense of family honour and this overrides his moral conscience, similar to Hamlets desire to avenge his own father but Hamlet is different in his plot becasue:he is reflective doubtful hesitant to avenge his father’s deathHe is another foil to Hamlet, swift and decisive, he reacts to circumstance without question of why or the consequences.
Analyzing the Soliloquy: “To be, or not to be” This soliloquy, probably the most famous speech in the English language, is spoken by Hamlet in Act III, scene i (58-90). His most logical and powerful examination of the theme of the moral legitimacy of suicide in an unbearably painful world, it touches on several of the other important themes of the play. Hamlet poses the problem of whether to commit suicide as a logical question: “To be, or not to be,” that is, to live or not to live. He then weighs the moral ramifications of living and dying. Is it nobler to suffer life, “[t]he slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,” passively or to actively seek to end one’s suffering? He compares death to sleep and thinks of the end to suffering, pain, and uncertainty it might bring, “[t]he heartache, and the thousand natural shocks / That flesh is heir to.” Based on this metaphor, he decides that suicide is a desirable course of action, “a consummation / Devoutly to be wished.” But, as the religious word “devoutly” signifies, there is more to the question, namely, what will happen in the afterlife. Hamlet immediately realizes as much, and he reconfigures his metaphor of sleep to include the possibility of dreaming; he says that the dreams that may come in the sleep of death are daunting, that they “must give us pause.”He then decides that the uncertainty of the afterlife, which is intimately related to the theme of the difficulty of attaining truth in a spiritually ambiguous world, is essentially what prevents all of humanity from committing suicide to end the pain of life. He outlines a long list of the miseries of experience, ranging from lovesickness to hard work to political oppression, and asks who would choose to bear those miseries if he could bring himself peace with a knife, “[w]hen he himself might his quietus make / With a bare bodkin?” He answers himself again, saying no one would choose to live, except that “the dread of something after death” makes people submit to the suffering of their lives rather than go to another state of existence which might be even more miserable. The dread of the afterlife, Hamlet concludes, leads to excessive moral sensitivity that makes action impossible: “conscience does make cowards of us all . . . thus the native hue of resolution / Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought.”In this way, this speech connects many of the play’s main themes, including the idea of suicide and death, the difficulty of knowing the truth in a spiritually ambiguous universe, and the connection between thought and action. In addition to its crucial thematic content, this speech is important for what it reveals about the quality of Hamlet’s mind. His deeply passionate nature is complemented by a relentlessly logical intellect, which works furiously to find a solution to his misery. He has turned to religion and found it inadequate to help him either kill himself or resolve to kill Claudius. Here, he turns to a logical philosophical inquiry and finds it equally frustrating.