The Character of Shakespeare's Hamlet Essay

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Hamlet is arguably the greatest dramatic character ever created. From the moment we meet the crestfallen Prince we are enraptured by his elegant intensity. Shrouded in his inky cloak, Hamlet is a man of radical contradictions -- he is reckless yet cautious, courteous yet uncivil, tender yet ferocious. He meets his father's death with consuming outrage and righteous indignation, yet shows no compunction when he himself is responsible for the deaths of the meddling Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, and the pontificating lord chamberlain, Polonius. He uses the fragile and innocent Ophelia as an outlet for his disgust towards the Queen, and cannot comprehend that his own vicious words have caused her insanity. Hamlet is full of faults. But…show more content…
(I.ii.84-6) Hamlet cannot forget his father, even when all those around him have resumed their merry lives, content to offer the occasional conciliatory words of wisdom. The Queen, considering she has lost a husband, offers up the rather unhelpful "Thou know'st tis common, all that lives must die/Passing through nature to eternity" (I.ii.71-2), and Claudius adds, amongst other things, "We pray you to throw to earth/This unprevailing woe, and think of us/As of a father" (I.ii.106-8). Hamlet's tremendous grief is intensified by this lack of feeling by those around him, and more significantly, by the cold-hearted actions of his mother, who married her brother-in-law within a month of her husband's death. This act of treachery by Gertrude, whom Hamlet obviously loved greatly at one time, rips the very fabric of Hamlet's being, and he tortures himself with memories of his late father's tenderness towards his mother: So excellent a king, that was to this Hyperion to a satyr, so loving to my mother, That he might not beteem the winds of heaven Visit her face too roughly; heaven and earth, Must I remember?... (I.ii.141-45) The respect and awe Hamlet has for his father is seen in the above passage, as the Prince compares the late King to Hyperion, a Titan in classical mythology. The godlike view of his
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