How William Shakespeare Uses The Character Of Hamlet To Develop The Plot And Themes
Discuss the extent to which Shakespeare’s Hamlet is about Hamlet.
Shakespeare’s Hamlet depicts theme such as fate, deceit and procrastination through many characters such as Claudius, Hamlet and Ophelia. However, it is Hamlet who really gives significance to the plot and to the major themes which will be discussed in this essay.
In fact, one perspective of the seeing the play is placing Hamlet as someone who had no control over the events happening in his life. He finds himself completely shattered at the death of his father. Worse, is that his father was murdered by his own uncle, Claudius and to crown it all, Hamlet’s mother re-marries Claudius. He is himself confused and the audience feels how the re-marriage of his mother affected him when he refers to Claudius and Gertrude as ‘’uncle-father’’ and ‘’aunt-mother’’ respectively. These sudden changes in his life shaped his thoughts and feelings and have instigated him to take revenge upon Claudius as well as have created a feeling of hatred towards his mother. This might resume to Hamlet’s own words:
‘’There’s a divinity that shapes our ends’’ (Act V, Scene II)
This sheds light to the statement ‘’character is destiny’’. The play can be said to be the journey through which Hamlet discovers that his intellectual view of life failed in front of the power which fate holds. The Wheel of Fortune is what shapes the life of people. He even says:
‘’How all occasions do inform against me’’ (Act IV, Scene IV)
Hamlet, too, acknowledges that he is a victim of his circumstances. His actions will not save him from the hands of destiny, not even Shakespeare could save his character from suffering his fate. Shakespeare, like the Greeks, believed their life to be ‘’their own destiny beyond the gods’’. The force of fate is so powerful in the play that it targets the other characters as well, not only the protagonist. In fact, the helplessness of human beings in front of fate is shown through the words of the First player:
‘’Out, out, thou strumpet, Fortune! All you gods,
In general synod, take away her power;
Break all the spokes and fellies from her wheel,
And bowl the round nave down the hill of heaven,
As low as to the fiends’’ (Act II, Scene II)
Finally, this technique is used by Shakespeare to portray nobody escapes fate. ‘’Hamlet’’ is unique in all the tragedies of Shakespeare. His tragic flaw indeed made him to commit the fatal mistake of procrastinating which lead to his downfall and this affected the life of the other characters as well to provide such a depressing end for the audience. Unlike Coriolanus whose tragic flaw, pride, led to his downfall only. The fatal mistake of Hamlet give way to the fate of the other characters as well.
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