How would one most generally feel after the murder of a parent? A tidal wave of feelings could overwhelm the mind and give rise to unexplainable thoughts and emotions.
Like Hamlet, the majority of us would probably sink into a deep depression and mourn for the loss of our childhood hero. In Hamlet’s case, he was visited briefly by the Ghost of his Father for one specific purpose: to seek revenge for the murder at the hands of his brother. However, taking on the task of avenging the killing of one’s parents is not as easy as it sounds.Upon the appearance of the Ghost, three things were asked of him: do not go insane, leave Gertrude’s fate in heaven’s hands, and seek revenge for his death. Hamlet is not fully successful in following the dictates of the Ghost: rather than acting exactly upon what is implied, he took a more philosophical route that leads to the unnecessary deaths of many others. Hamlet fails to keep his sanity, which leads to catastrophe.
His father even made an effort into mentioning, “But, howsoever thou pursuest this act/Taint not thy mind…” (3. 4. 91, 92).The Ghost knew that the task laid before Hamlet would not be as simple as it would for another 14th century man.
Everything Hamlet did consisted of well thought out speculation. Although Shakespeare message isn’t implicit, everything from the way characters speak and act is done for a reason. This not only foreshadows what is to become of Hamlet, but also hints to the audience that the level of his sanity adds to the result of what his father was implying. However, this madness wasn’t developed purely because Hamlet had intended it to but because of the suspicions he was coming more in contact with.One by one, all of the people Hamlet trusts and loves in his life were slowly, in his opinion, turning against him.
First it began with Claudius’ ruthless killing of his father, which was quickly followed by the disturbing marriage to his mother. With this, the intentions of his friends and even lover also began to slowly tumble downwards. Engulfed with furry, Hamlet often spoke sarcastically and rudely towards those, not only giving off the impression that he was unhappy but also that these terrible happenings had made him go mad.Because of this over analyzing and frustration, the implied message from his father wasn’t successfully carried out.
The act of insanity he had begun with slowly took toll over him and eventually not only did he make the other characters believe he had gone mad but also himself. In attempt to help his mother seek help, ultimately Hamlet was able to succeed in allowing heaven to decide her fate. The lingering question of whether Gertrude had played a minor role in the murder of her husband is unanswered to us. The Ghost was seeking only one thing: his revenge, but with this came additional supervision.
The state of mind Hamlet is in would need some guidance for both his personal being and others: ... nor let they soul contrive Against thy mother aught. Leave her to heaven And to those thorns that in her bosom lodge To prick and sting her..
. (3. 4. 92-95) The newly born suspicions Hamlet began to develop could easily throw him off track into accusing innocent bystanders. Hamlet had just recently discovered the happenings of Hamlet’s father death and the situation of purgatory he now had to deal with.
With this, Hamlet did not want to see another one of his parents be put through the same misery.He attempts to take matters into his own hands, trying to convince her to stay away from Claudius. Bewildered and scared, the insanity for Hamlet builds up in Gertrude’s eyes, “O Hamlet speak no more! /Thou turn’st my eyes into my very soul, /And there I see such black and grained spots” (3. 4. 99-101).
Rather than listening and taking Hamlet’s warning into consideration, Gertrude was uncertain that what he spoke of is the truth. However, when the Ghost reappears but is only visible to Hamlet, this is when Gertrude’s theory of Hamlet’s madness is almost ensured.All the effort Hamlet had done in order to have Gertrude see the evil in Claudius was put down the drain because of the Ghost’s brief return. Shortly after when Gertrude drinks the poisoned drink does she realize that what Hamlet had spoken of was true.
So although Hamlet had attempted in revealing the truth to Gertrude so she could do good, ultimately she stuck to her belief of Hamlet’s insanity and therefore, Hamlet did succeed in allowing heaven to decide her fate. The most crucial request Hamlet had to execute was seeking the revenge for his father; although it took him longer than expected he was ultimately successful.Up until the appearance of the Ghost, no one other than Claudius truly knew how the King had died. It was more of repugnance than a shock to Hamlet at “If thou hast nature in thee, bear it no. / Let not the royal bed of Denmark be/ A couch for luxury and damned incest. ” (3.
4. 88-90). Never did Hamlet imagine that the death of his father would be caused by the hands of his Claudius. It was hard for Hamlet to swallow the thought of the corruption that was taking place in Denmark and although he was not in favor of it, he knew he had to kill Claudius.Emotions took toll and involvement from many other persons also led to this fateful end.
Hamlet had never intended for anyone else to get involved or physically hurt. But being too over analyzing, timid, and a coward at first, it took Hamlet multiple times to finally draw up the courage to kill Claudius. Unfortunately it wasn’t until practically the whole kingdom lay on its death bed: Canal, bloody, and unnatural acts; Of accidental judgments, casual slaughters; Of deaths put on by cunning and forced cause; (5. 2. 411-413)The end to the reign of Denmark was not something that Ghost had intended. Although it may have been up to heaven to decide this fate, the purpose of Hamlet’s mission was to take the life of only Claudius.
In the process however, the death of many others followed and the truth of the corruption and lies in the kingdom were revealed at a late point in time. All in all, Hamlet did succeed in killing Claudius; however the number of deaths that also came along with it implied that Hamlet had taken too long in achieving it.By taking a more philosophical route in his father’s revenge, the unnecessary death of many others followed along with it, making it not as successful as the Ghost had intended. This melancholy temperament of overanalyzing situations is what ultimately caused the circumstance to prolong and expand, dragging needless occurrences to happen.
However, looking at the entirety of the picture, the twist Shakespeare added of Hamlet’s emotions getting in the way is effective. Without it, the plays’ recognition would have been completely different.Rather than having a simply done play that went from point A to point B without any tribulations is not what Shakespeare had in mind. He envisioned that by having different elements of temperaments and perceptions caused Hamlet’s personality to act more of a 20th century man compared to that of a 14th.
The mystery yet brilliance in this are that Shakespeare had no idea as to how a 20th century man would act in a situation like this. So although long, Hamlet’s duty of avenging his father’s death did finally transpire it was done in the manner of a true philosopher.