Surface, Depth, And A Reflected World Of Hamlet

1830 Words8 Pages
Amanda Stevenson
Dr. Sigler
EN 102
16 November 2015

Surface, Depth, and a Reflected World of Hamlet

Although dynamic characters typically develop through solely personal obstacles, William Shakespeare uses the character of Hamlet as a contradiction by illustrating his growth through other characters. In Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, Shakespeare strategically uses Laertes and Fortinbras in order to foil the character of Hamlet. An extended metaphor of a pond is created and through tangled family ties, internal conflict concerning perfection, and the pursuit of justice, Shakespeare is able to demonstrate how the constant need for revenge can potentially lead to a downfall.
The idea of a pond metaphor is introduced in Act V, Scene ii, when Hamlet says, “That to Laertes I forgot myself;/ For by the image of my cause, I see/ the portraiture of his…” (Shakespeare V ii 76-78). The use of the specific diction “image” and “portraiture” is Hamlet’s way of directly comparing himself to Laertes, without saying that they are the exact same. Not only is Hamlet similar to Laertes, but also to Fortinbras, which further extends the pond metaphor, because Laertes and Fortinbras do not reflect each other. An image is created of Hamlet peering into a pond where Fortinbras represents the surface of the pond, while Laertes represents the depth of the water. Not only is Hamlet able to see the surface and the depth, but he is also able to view his own reflection. The intermingling of platonic and

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