Describe 3 of the deaths in Hamlet
Hamlet is a revenge tragedy play, which was a very popular theme at the time Shakespeare was writing. Hamlet was written at the time Shakespeare was writing at his very best. Hamlet was written over 400 years ago and has outlived most other revenge plays but still continues to hold great appeal due to the effect it has on all those who see and hear it As Hamlet is self-titled we know Hamlet will die and this event will bring a close to the play.
Because we know how the play will end Shakespeare entices the audience by keeping us on the edge about when, where, how and why it will happen.
In this essay I have chosen to write about the death of Gertrude, Claudius and Hamlet. All three characters die in the last Act, Act 5. Hamlet is a play set in Denmark. His father at the start of the play has already been brutally murdered by his (Hamlet’s) Uncle Claudius.
– brother to the deceased king. The ghost of his father appears to him and reveals how Claudius so cunningly murdered him, and begs Hamlet to avenge his death. Hamlet is already furious with Claudius for marrying his mother within such a short time of his father’s death.
This causes him t wonder if his mother had had any part in his fathers murder also. Hamlet within him vows to obey the ghost of his father. While all this is happening Fortinbras of Norway is invading Denmark with the aim of avenging his fathers death that was taken by the late king of Denmark, Hamlet’s father. Hamlet decides to have the players play a play similar to the death of his father to see the reaction of Claudius. He wants to be sure that the ghost was not evil and telling the truth. The play is a success and Hamlet can now be sure that Claudius is responsible for the death of his father.
Gertrude, Hamlet’s mother along with everyone else are outraged by Hamlet’s change in character. Polonius, Lord Chamberlain, a good friend to the king believes Hamlet is mad as a result of his daughter Ophelia rejecting Hamlet’s love as he had ordered her too. Gertrude asks for her son to visit her in her bedroom. Here Hamlet mistakenly stabs Polonius who is hiding behind the curtains when he heard Hamlet’s footsteps approaching after having been talking to the queen. Polonius’ children now change in character.
Ophelia turns mad and drowns herself, while Laertes returns from studying in France and is also driven to avenge his father’s death Hamlet’s madness causes Claudius to send Hamlet to England. However, Hamlet who seems always to be one step ahead of the king knows Claudius has sent a letter requesting Hamlets death and switches the note with his own for Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, once friends of Hamlet’s, before they decided to betray him by becoming Claudius’ informants and so they are killed. Later Hamlet returns to Denmark, to much surprise of the king to see Ophelia’s burial.
Throughout the play the audience are kept in suspense about as to when hamlet will strike Claudius. Hamlet can be seen as a hero or villain. Shakespeare makes the audience see Hamlet as a hero. Through Hamlet’s soliloquies the audience feel as though they come to know Hamlet. In this they experience what he is going through and feel his hurt and pain, which is not enough to justify his killing on Claudius but to understand why he feels he must. Act 5 begins with the burial of Ophelia and shows the first confrontation between Laertes and Hamlet.
Here Shakespeare allows the audience to acknowledge that both Laertes and Hamlet are suffering in the same way; although Laertes has lost both a father and sister, as Ophelia’s death was a result of her fathers. However, Shakespeare causes the audience to excuse Hamlet’s wrong deed and side with him. Scene two from this Act is the last in the play. Claudius falsely welcomes Hamlet home. However, Claudius and Laertes see Hamlets return as a suggestion to all their troubles, to kill Hamlet once and for all. They cunningly plan a duel between Laertes the best fighter and Hamlet.
What they do not know is that Hamlet has been practicing during his time in England. The fact that this is secretly revealed by Hamlet to Horatio, Hamlets good friend, reveals also a secret to the audience. At this point the audience cannot be sure if hamlet will die, as the title suggests. The audience are at this point plagued with the fact that Laertes, Claudius and Fortinbras are all awaiting the day that Hamlet will die. Hamlet is very much a revenge tragedy. The first murder of his father led to a string of killings after it. In stating this it shows that certain deaths had to come first in order for others to occur.
I think Shakespeare’s Hamlet has been such a success due to the truthful implications it deals with. Revenge is thought to be wrong, immoral, but in Hamlet Shakespeare expresses revenge as the natural human impulse that lies within us all. Hamlet is only acting out of the love he has for his father, which is undoubtedly the reaction each and every one of us would take. Although revenge was a popular theme during the time Hamlet was acted, Shakespeare takes it that great leap further which no author had began or even thought about doing.
Instead of hating the avenger and wanting him to die we appreciate his aim and hence feel sorry for him at his death. Shakespeare forces us to perceive Hamlet for the person he is and not for the vile act he commits. The concept of Claudius having destroyed his family as well as his life remains at the forefront of our minds whilst watching the play and causes us to feel immense pity towards Hamlet and we the audience can therefore not loathe him. What makes Hamlet all the more fascinating is that we are kept in suspense as to if Gertrude had a part in the murder of her Husband.
Throughout the play Shakespeare causes the audience to experience horror, pity and fear by making the next stage in the play all the more unpredictable. Just when we think we know what will happen due to what has been revealed to us through conversation and especially soliloquies does Shakespeare prove us wrong by adding an unexpected twist. I think Hamlet has also been such a success because it shows how life in this world is so short and puts fear into us about life in the next. It also shows how one incident can affect so many lives so much.
The fact that Hamlet is betrayal within a family causes the audience to feel that little bit more afraid. When the tight unity between families is broken then respect for anyone can hardly be possible, as the ability to trust and love another must be hard. In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Shakespeare deals with ________ .
When Hamlet feels as though he can no longer trust his mother, and his friends have betrayed him and his uncle is the cause of all this, he can only turn to madness as this he feels is the situation. ‘If you can’t beat them, join them’.
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