Mind and Hamlet

1132 WordsAug 10, 20105 Pages
“An admirable text does not define or exhaust its possibilities”. What possibilities do you see in Shakespeare’s Hamlet? Discuss your ideas with close reference to at least two scenes from Hamlet. Shakespeare’s texts have been re-visited, re-interpreted and re-invented to suit the context and preferences of an evolving audience, and it through this constant recreation it is evident that Hamlet “does not define or exhaust its possibilities”. Through the creation of a character who emulates a variety of different themes, such as revenge, realisation of reality and the questioning of humanity, we can see the different possibilities within Hamlet as an “admirable text” with enduring human value. Furthermore, the emotional journey of Hamlet…show more content…
A more definitive reading of Hamlet disputes the claim that he was mad, and instead suggests that Hamlet feigns madness in order to become closer to the truth. This reading is an example of Shakespeare demonstrating the changing context in Denmark through the projection of the protagonist as an extended metaphor for the emerging Renaissance Humanism period. This period was defined by choice and analysis of events, and is emulated through Hamlet’s alliterated statement in his soliloquy in Scene 3, Act 1, ‘conscience makes cowards of us all.’ Hamlet believes he is in a psychological state of cowardice, and that his conscience is holding him back through his assessment of the consequences of acting on the orders of the ghost. L.C. Knight believes Hamlet is the “exploration and implicit criticism of a particular state of mind or consciousness”. This questioning on the theme of humanity and the final stage in Hamlet’s complex thought process is finally resolved in the soliloquy in Scene 4, Act 3. Hamlet’s characterisation, once that of a pure man whose mind was riddled with angst at the idea of murder shifts to a mind of “bloody” thoughts as a result of his bound duty. This personified imagery is a reflection of Hamlet’s now tainted mind since the murder of Polonius, and the constant obsession with Claudius’ murder. Hamlet accuses himself of ‘thinking too precisely’, and
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