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Hamlet Essay Topics & Paper Examples

Age of Innocence Themes

A diatribe on the vicious yet serene society of her childhood, Edith Wharton’s Age of Innocence proffers an attack against the boa constrictor ways of late 1800s New York City0. May’s ability to keep things as they are 1, Newland’s desire to escape2, and Ellen’s escape3 exhibit three different effects of this patronizing society and three different interpretations of the role of action in their society, a theme that can also be seen within Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Greene’s The Power and the Glory4. Wharton’s Age of Innocence is set in what is known as “the gilded age,” an era where everything is shiny and gold on the outside but wrought with flaws and problems on the inside. For example, the…

Hamlet by William Shakespeare

You make decision everyday; whether it is choosing what you make for breakfast or choosing what you want to be when you grow up. It is natural in humans to make decisions and act on what they believe is to be true. This not only applies to humans, but authors use them in their books or plays to create different types of characters. In one of the greatest works by William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, there are characters that make many different kinds of decisions that determine their role in the book. In the play, the protagonist Hamlet, after his father’s death, is angry about his mother’s hasty marriage to Claudius. He sees a ghost of his father one night and tells…

Hamlet

The words, “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark,” (citation) are spoken by Marcellus when Hamlet decides to follow the ghost without paying any heed to the possible repercussions. The appearance of a ghost is itself a bad omen, as on his first spotting of the ghost Horatio foreshadows, “this bodes some strange eruption to our state” (I. i. 69). It is a problematic phenomenon which portends danger to the state. Through Horatio’s words,” And then it started like a guilty thing / Upon a fearful summons. I have heard/ the cock that is the trumpet of the to the morn”, it is indicated in the play that the ghost might stir turmoil in Denmark. Its supernatural appearance and…

Power Struggle Between Hamlet and Claudius

By the end of Act II, of Hamlet, the power struggle between Hamlet and Claudius has heightened. Claudius, the current king of Denmark is constantly on edge. The question comes into play, does Hamlet know of his uncle’s actions prior to taking the throne and his intentions for Hamlet. Hamlet however, is deeply despaired by the sudden death of his father and the incestuous marriage of his mother. The ghost of his father appears to Hamlet, telling him to avenge a murder. With Hamlet’s negative view of his uncle it is plausible that this “ghost” is just a figment of his imagination, an excuse for Hamlet’s hatred toward his uncle. So, who has the upper hand at this point? Claudius…

The Deeper Meaning of Hamlet’s Revenge

Hamlet, by playwright William Shakespeare, revolves around the burden of revenge. It all started from the beginning with the murder of King Hamlet, Hamlet’s father. Hamlet finds out the killer had been his uncle, Claudius, and sets out to avenge his father’s death. Claudius, however, is now the king and he has also married the queen and possesses all of the things he once envied his brother for. Every action Hamlet makes is founded upon the thought of revenge and he makes this evident throughout the play, although it seems there may be a deeper meaning to Hamlet’s revenge than meets the eye. He portrays the straight forward reason of avenging his father’s death for his revenge; however he may…

Hamlet

Thomas Kyd’s The Spanish Tragedy shaped the work of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Both are revenge tragedies that include the mystery of death. Behind the mystery, there is a spirit of the dead who appears before the protagonists, Hieronimo and Hamlet, to cry out for revenge. In The Spanish Tragedy and Hamlet, soliloquy plays an important role. It is often used to express the true feelings of the main characters. In both tragedies, the protagonists use soliloquy to demonstrate a central dilemma that slows the main character’s process of vengeance. The dilemma is that it is sinful to commit a murder, but it is also unfair to keep the criminal alive. Their soliloquies show their desire to commit suicide to escape…

Dramatic Techniques In Hamlet

In your view, how have dramatic techniques been used to reveal memorable ideas in ‘Hamlet’? Support your view with detailed reference to text. Shakespeare’s intensely theatrical revenge tragedy ‘Hamlet’ utilises dramatic techniques to explore memorable issues, which transcend through today’s context due to their universality. The morality of vengeance, inevitability of death and the detrimental consequences of illusions and corruption are issues developed through linguistic diversity and construction. Hamlet’s contemplative and scholarly nature amongst the social and religious hierarchy enforced by the Middle Ages results in his ethical and metaphysical uncertainty of these ideas and subsequent downfall as a Shakespearean hero. ‘Hamlet’ explores how the resonating conflict between appearance and reality inevitably causes disorder within society through dramatic techniques. A.C….

Father-Child Relationships in Hamlet and Fences

In both William Shakespeare’s Hamlet and August Wilson’s Fences, the emphasis placed on parent-child relationship is vital, as family plays an important role in developing a character’s values as well as his or her upbringing does. While Ophelia, Laertes, and Hamlet show loyalty to their fathers unconditionally, Cory, even though looks up Troy as a figure, eventually exhibits disrespect to him. The relationship that Ophelia shares with her father, Polonius, is rather dogmatic to say the least. Throughout Hamlet, Polonius demonstrates almost absolute control over Ophelia as if she were a tool with the sole purpose of serving Polonius. As a result of a weakness of mind caused by a lack of independent thought, Ophelia does not oppose Polonius; for…

Hamlet’s Deception

Shakespeare’s Hamlet is a play full of dishonesty and betrayal. Deception is the central theme in this play. Hamlet, in a state of emotional turmoil, deceives everyone by acting insane for a number of reasons. First, because he is deeply angry at his mother and at Ophelia. Second, because the opinions of his peers will need to be influenced. The last reason is so no one will notice he is trying to avenge his father’s murder. While some believe he fell victim, deception ultimately leads to the fulfillment of Prince Hamlet’s death wish. Not only is Hamlet deceptive, but so are the other characters. Horatio, Claudius, Polonius, Ophelia, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, Fortinbras, and Laertes are all simultaneously manipulating each other…

Hamlet

Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’ remains at the pinnacle of high culture texts and the cannon as one of the most iconic texts in the modern world. ‘Hamlet’ is a deeply philosophical in which grapples with metaphysical questions- existential in nature that underpins the human ethos. It is through the highly charged language, textual integrity and use of meta-theatrical techniques that ensure the play’s modernity and continuing resonance in society through multiple perspectives. Hamlet is a revenge tragedy play that reveals the conflicting social paradigms of patriarchal Elizabethan society in transition, wherein the forces of reformation and renaissance were usurping the older world of medieval feudalism and hierarchy. The play also reflects the concerns of a society that questioned their social roles particularly…

Revenge Tragedy: Hamlet

For a play to be considered a revenge tragedy, revenge has to be a prevalent theme throughout. Revenge needs to be intertwined in character interactions, and have a strong hold on the driving force of the plot. The desires of Hamlet, Laertes, and young Fortinbras each exhibit how the plot of Hamlet, by William Shakespeare revolves entirely around theories of revenge. The theme of revenge starts off very early in the play, when Hamlet speaks with the ghost of his deceased father. When the ghost tells Hamlet how Claudius murdered him, Hamlet is infuriated and overtaken with feelings of responsibility to right the wrong that has been done; to murder Claudius. The effects of this experience on Hamlet are portrayed…

Hamlet Insanity

During the chamber scene, Hamlet shows an insane side to not only his mother, but everyone else in the play. Hamlet clearly demonstrates how insane he is after killing Polonius and showing no remorse for his death. Another example of Hamlets insanity is during the chamber scene, when Hamlet’s talking to his mother, the ghost appears talking to Hamlet, but the queen couldn’t see the ghost, only Hamlet could see his fathers ghost. These examples show how crazy, and insane Hamlet is not only in the chamber scene, but throughout the play. Hamlet clearly demonstrates how insane he is after killing Polonius and showing no remorse for his death. Right before Hamlet entered the chamber to talk to his mother,…

Hamlet

Hamlet is unique in its revenge genre as it has more than one revenge plots occurring within it. The Dominating one is of Hamlet and his desire to avenge his Father by killing his uncle. Throughout the play we see Hamlet in ideal situations to carry out his revenge, but choosing not to do so. In Act III Scene II we see Hamlet using the play that has been set up to try to test the innocence of his Uncle and king by gauging his reaction to a staging of the events of how he supposedly murdered Hamlets father. In this scene we see the so called ‘Mousetrap’ being played out as Hamlet witnesses Claudius reaction to the play and…

Role Of The Ghost Of The Hamlet

The ghost in the play Hamlet has great dramatic significance . The play opens and Hamlet , the prince of Denmark is shown in mourning. He is wearing black clothes and the sad look on his face bears an evidence of grief he is feeling at the death of his father. His uncle Cladius succeeded his father. Soon after, Hamlet’s mother (Queen Gertrude) married Claudius. Hamlet hated Claudius because he (Claudius) had married his (Hamlet) mother while he (Hamlet)_ was still in mourning. A dark suspicion has filled Hamlet’s mind on this account. As a result , Hamlet changed from a happy and bright youth to a quite and brooding man. Francisco is at his post a platform before the…

Ophelia’s Descent Into Madness

Shakespeare, through his intricate uses of symbolism and dramatic irony, arranges a brilliantly detailed account of how Hamlet’s mental upheaval served as the driving force of Ophelia’s swelling insanity and imminent suicide. He floods the early acts with an impending sense of confusion within Ophelia, for her feelings toward hamlet greatly contrast those of her brother and father. Ophelia begins to willingly take heed of her family’s advice as the prince finds himself removed from a lucid pattern of thought. However, because her feelings for him are genuine, this serves only to exalt her mental strain. In the height of Hamlet’s incoherent rage, he provides Ophelia with the ultimate medium for her ensuing madness. The murder of Polonius is the…

Literary Analysis of Shakespeare’s Hamlet

In the English Renaissance, identity was an important concern, particularly the construction of identity. As Stephen Greenblatt argues, “there is in the early modern period a change in the intellectual, social, psychological, and aesthetic structures that govern the generation of identities … that is not only complex but resolutely dialectical” (1). The identity of the sovereign was of particular importance: how monarchs shaped their own identities, and how these identities affected their subjects. Taking Greenblatt’s argument, this paper examines the construction and manipulation of identity in Shakespeare’s Hamlet: in particular, the ways in which Elizabeth I’s self-representations inform the play. In addition, the paper will show how the characterization of Hamlet is shaped by the rule of Elizabeth I, who…

Analysis of Hamlet’s Morality

Hamlet is one of the greatest dramatic characters created. Throughout the play, we acknowledge the complexity of his persona. Even without Shakespeare providing an elaborated description of Hamlet’s characteristics, we instantly perceive him as contradictory. At the beginning of the play, Hamlet is presented to us as a cautious and courteous man; however, due to the negative circumstances he has to face, we see how his moral character becomes reckless and uncivil. Shakespeare uses antithesis, allusion, and irony, to show the “demoralization” of Hamlet’s character. Throughout the play, Hamlet is overwhelmed by a feeling of revenge but hesitates in the murder of Claudius due to his fear of making the wrong decision. Hamlet is held back by his consideration of…

To Unmask the Truth: Consciousness of Hamlet

Hamlet’s attempt to get his uncle to claim his father’s murder is supposedly done for truth and redemption. However, Hamlet’s feigned “madness” (Hamlet, Act III, Scene III) makes it possible to believe that he may have alternative motives. For Hamlet, these motives may be out of resent which means it is possible he may have wanted his mother’s “husband’s brother” (Hamlet, Act III, Scene IV) to be hurt for selfish reasons- anger and hate for marrying his mother soon after his brother’s death. This allowed him to make finding the truth his tool rather than making it necessary for restoration of himself emotionally and his father’s image. Stoppard, a playwright, needed a tragedy made up of characters that supposedly search…

Hamlet’s Characterisation

The aspect of Shakespeare’s Hamlet that is most interesting to me is the playwright’s intimate depiction of Hamlet’s daily struggle againt the world. Through soliloquies and characterisation, we see that Hamlet’s world is a cold, political one, unreceptive to his grief, and this fundamental incompatibility is ultimately what creates and drives the play’s great drama behind his struggle, his murderous plot, uncertainty, and finally his thoughtful, accepting resolve at the end of the play. Early in the play we see this great incompatibility between Hamlet and his society emerging, as he, stricken with grief, is surrounded by cold political plotters. Shakespeare revels in his use of irony, as Claudius utters the oxymoron “lawful espials”, and Polonius, evangelising that “this above…

Hamlet Questions Answered

Question 1: Laertes and Polonius provide several explanations of their reasons for Ophelia to stop seeing Hamlet. Both their opinions appear to be unreasonable, which is evident through their oppressive and restrictive attitudes. Laertes believes Ophelia is beneath Hamlet on social level, therefore he voices that the prince’s, “choice must be circumscribed.” This is unreasonable as Laertes is diminishing Ophelia’s confidence by referring to the fact that Hamlet’s partner will be chosen for him, and Ophelia would not fit this role, or be considered for it. Laertes continues to refer to Hamlet in a negative matter, stating that his, “love,” is, “not permanent,” and, “the perfume and suppliance of a minute,” meaning it is brief, and temporary. Polonius also presents…

Hamlet: to Be, or Not to Be: Movie Analysis

Branagh’s vision of William Shakespeare’s famous “To be, or not to be,” soliloquy manifests Hamlet’s displeasure with himself as he debates eternal sleep; the set up of this scene contributes significantly to the emotional impact and symbolism. The lack of music and sound in the beginning forces the audience’s attention towards the soliloquy. The quietness in the scene also exhibits how Hamlet is wishing for a quiet death, suicide. Walking slowly towards the two-way mirror, while he professes his conflicted feelings, the camera follows steadily over his shoulder, only filming Hamlet’s reflection. The soliloquy stands alone as a reflection, Hamlet is reflecting on his life and the options he has, “To die, to sleep – / No more – and…

Hamlet

Act 1- Scene 1 The first entrance of the ghost is made impressive because Marcellus and Bernardo only told Horatio about them seeing the ghost in the two nights before during their watch. Horatio did not believe them “Horatio says ‘tis but our fantasy and will not let belief take hold of him touching this sight twice seen of us;” (1.1.23-25) What makes the siting of the ghost so important is that the two guard believe it to be the ghost of the dead King Hamlet. When the ghost appears and Horatio asks it to speak the ghost suddenly disappears. In its second exit the ghost returns and again they ask it to speak but as it spreads its arms…

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead

The argument of whether our lives are predetermined or not has been one that has been going on since the beginning of civilization. In Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead Stoppard explores the idea of existentialism in a number of different ways. The roles Rosencrantz and Guildenstern have as actors represent our roles in modern society. Stoppard also uses barriers like the stage to reflect the human condition and question our existence. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern’s relaxed attitudes towards their surroundings and social interaction as a mirror into modern human existence. Stoppard makes his readers think deeply about our existence and our free will through the actions of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. In Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead Stoppard uses the…

Characters in Hamlet

Why does one live? What purpose does one serve? What is the meaning of life? These are all existential questions that both ancient and modern philosophers have yet to satisfactorily answer. The weight of one’s mortality and the differences of life and death are introduced right from the start of Shakespeare’s play _Hamlet_ having Hamlet, in the aftermath of his father’s death, attempt to explore these existential questions, seeking truth and understanding as he tries to grasp the anecdote about his father’s death. Claudius on the other hand is deeply considering his actions while also enduring a very difficult apprehension of life after death. Claudius acts to generate Hamlet’s confusion and anger, and his ensuing search for truth and life’s…

Hamlet’s Values Prevail

Mark Twain once stated, “It is curious – curious that physical courage should be so common in the world, and moral courage so rare.” The zealous struggles between internal and external gratification and somatic and ethical honour have incontrovertibly led to man’s continual battle for integrity – pride versus ethics. Religious teachings impart that one show respect to all and utilize the power of oration to convey ideologies; yet religious crusades have instigated the bloodiest and most deadly battles in human history. Man’s universal and timeless question asks whether it is ethical to defend one’s honour through brutality or if the use of language and moral lessons are sufficient to deliver the message. Analogously, William Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Hamlet…

Hamlet – Shakespeare

Hamlet is a moral avenger in a corrupt and unjust world. He is the only person who questions the moral atmosphere of Denmark but is driven to act irritationally because of the distress placed on him by the world. Hamlet struggles with his duty to his father, his disillusionment with himself, his revenge on Claudius, his mother’s sudden remarriage, the purpose of the ghost and the corrupt nature of Denmark. By not informing the audience of the intentions of the ghost, Shakespeare keeps them engaged by creating disillusionment through Hamlet’s struggle for the truth. Furthermore, Shakespeare continues to engage audiences by presenting ideas of duty and corruption which are shown largely through the characterization of Hamlet. Hamlet struggles with his…

Annotated Bibliography on William Shakespeares “Hamlet”

Ackerman Jr., Alan L. “ Visualizing Hamlet’s Ghost: The Spirit of Modern Subjectivity.” Theatre Journal; March2001, Vol. 53 Issue 1, p119, 26p EBSCOhost. (5 February 2004) Other artists represent the dramatic structures, terms, images and characters from William Shakespeare’s Hamlet by portraying the exact emotion of the play. They act out a good representation of the spiritual experience in visual terms. The students vision studies and its importance in writings on aesthetics and representation. Adams, Joseph Quincy, “Arrival in London.” A Life of William Shakespeare. S.I: Houghton, 1923: 126-128. There were three classes of persons at the playhouse besides musicians. There were sharers, hirelings, and servants. The “sharers” were the most important actors. According to their merits, they enjoyed either…

Hamlet as a Critical Study

Why is Hamlet still relevant to our studies regardless of the centuries that have passed since its production? Is it worthy in continuing to be a critical study? The reinterpretation that Shakespeare created of Hamlet was based on a number of previous plays including the 12th century Danish Amleth, both these plays are situated around the main theme of being revenge tragedies. The prime aspect of why Hamlet will continue to be relevant as a critical study is due to the themes that the play is centralised around such as existentialism, corruption and illusion vs. eality. These universal themes engage audiences of any society, even four centuries later, creating a timeless classic. The literary devices utilised within the play, such…

Hamlet Research Paper

What would you do if you had a chance to kill the man who took your father’s innocent life? This was the main conflict of Hamlet. Throughout the play, Hamlet was faced with many challenges which toyed with his deliberation on whether or not to kill his father’s murderer. His indecisiveness was characterized as a “tragic flaw” that climatically led to his death. There are many theories as to why Hamlet was unsure about killing Claudius and what took him so long to do it once he did make up his mind such as: lack of opportunity; too much thought and analysis; melancholy; Oedipus complex; doubt about the honesty of the Ghost; and doubts about his own ambitious motives. These…

Hamlet Foils Fortinbras

In Hamlet, one of Shakespeare’s most recognizable plays, Shakespeare portrays a great example of a literary foil between Fortinbras and Hamlet. Fortinbras, a minor character, possesses traits that emphasize Hamlet’s distinctive qualities. Fortinbras’ characteristics bring out both the worst and the best out Hamlet throughout the play. In Act IV Scene IV, Hamlet’s soliloquy points out every one of Fortinbras’ qualities that Hamlet admires. Fortinbras inspires Hamlet to be a man of action. Hamlet knows that he has been thinking too precisely on the event of killing Claudius. On the other hand, Fortinbras is ambitious and takes actions for what the believes in. For example, in the letter to the King, Young Fortinbras made it clear that he was going…