Essay on William Shakespeare's Hamlet

Decent Essays

In 1.2, Shakespeare introduces three significant characters: Prince Hamlet, King Claudius and Queen Gertrude. The scene opens with King Claudius’ speech explaining his recent marriage to Gertrude, his brother’s widow and the mother of Hamlet. This speech attempts to balance the sorrow of his brother’s death with the happiness of having married “his sometime sister” (1.2.8) . “The clouds still hang” (1.2.66) upon Hamlet as he refuses to cast off his “nightly colour” (1.2. 68) and continues to mourn his father’s death. Claudius urges Hamlet to think of him “as of a father” (1.2.108), however Hamlet’s suspicions, resentment and disgust of his mother’s quick and incestuous re-marriage forbids this. Gertrude’s marriage to Claudius irritates …show more content…

He sees her less human than a beast, for “a beast that wants discourse of reason / would have mourned longer!” (1.2.151). He describes his father as an excellent king and loving husband, making it unbelievable that “within a month” (1.2.145) she would forget and replace him with a man no more like his father than he to Hercules, even though they were so close in blood. Hamlet sees their marriage bed as wrapped in “incestuous sheets” (1.2.157), which is confirmed by the ghost of his father in 1.5. When telling Hamlet the truth behind Claudius’ murderous acts of usurpation, King Hamlet emphasizes that Claudius is an adulterate beast who has seduced his “seeming virtuous queen” (1.5.46). King Hamlet asks Hamlet to “let not the royal bed of Denmark be / A couch for luxury and damnèd incest” (1.5.82-83), so Hamlet attempts to guilt his mother to refrain from such actions. In 3.2, Hamlet organizes the players to enact a play indicating the actions of a moral queen, declaring to her husband that marrying after his death would be “treason in my breast” (3.2.160). Hamlet asks Gertrude how she likes the play, and she replies “the lady protests too much” (3.2.210), proving that as a woman defined by her desire for position and attention, dependent on those around her, she is submissive in comparison. Following the play in 3.4, Shakespeare uses clever word play as Gertrude accuses Hamlet of offending his “father” (Claudius). Hamlet replies that she has offended his father,

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