Macbeth Themes Persons thoughts will differ from their actions, be it the fear of being the same or different from others, the consequences of their actions, or the opinions that others may form about them. People live their lives like drones, always conforming to the rules, afraid to brake away from the norm and do what they know or even feel to be the right thing to do simply because they might cause a ripple in the smooth little lake in which their boat is afloat. Within the Playwright Hamlet, by William Shakespeare, Hamlet suffers from such dilemma. Hamlet refuses to act on what he knows to be accurate, always reassuring himself of his lack of action. Hamlet also acts in a manner which some may wish to call lunacy.
This is due to the loss in which he has suffered, as well as he is just pretending to fool the people who he is plotting against. Hamlets father, King Hamlet, was the greatest king Denmark had ever seen. Respected and revered by all with the exception of his brother, Claudius. Claudius had envied his older brother since boyhood, the king living the life that Claudius had always wanted. A wife, a son, and a kingdom were all the holdings possessed by King Hamlet, holdings and possessions that Claudius would soon make his, by the killing of his brother.
Though Hamlet feels that his mothers marriage to Claudius was to soon after the death of King Hamlet, he does not suspect Claudius killed king Hamlet until told of a sighting of a ghost by some guards while on watch. Hamlet tells Polonious that he will stand watch that night with them to see if they can see the ghost again. That night Hamlet stands watch with Polonious and the ghost appears before them. The ghost tells Hamlet that he is his father, and of how he was killed. Hamlet is told that while his father lay under the shade of a tree Claudius came to him and poured poison in his ear and caused his death instantaneously not allowing him time to repent of his sins, therefore condemning him to be trapped between the two paranormal worlds. The ghost then tells Hamlet to avenge his death.
Though hamlet agrees to kill Claudius he does not kill him forthright. Hamlet hesitates and seems to invalidate every possible moment or opportunity that arises to take the life of Claudius. His reason for his hesitation is not known and one can only guess at what they may be. It could be that he doesnt believe the ghost. He could be afraid of hurting his mother by killing her second husband, or the fact that he is his uncle.
What ever the reason is, he doses hesitate, and by doing so causes more pain and suffering for more people than if he would have killed Claudius forthright. The first example noted of such hesitation by Hamlet within the play if found within act three scene three where Hamlet contemplates the extermination of Claudius while he seems to be at prayer. ” Now might I do it pat, now hes praying. And..” (P70-71) Within this paragraph Hamlet will eventually state that he cannot kill Claudius due to the fact that to kill him at prayer would only send him to heaven and not eternally damn him to the bowels of hell. Hamlet thinks that if he killed Claudius while he was at prayer and he was sent to heaven that it would be unfair to his father who is eternally trapped between the present and the afterlife. That is at least the reason that is given by Hamlet directly from the text. Though by the reading the entire book you will see a patter of actions and lack of actions that seem to signify that he only acts insane so to disorientate the other people within the story. Yet knowing that his father was murdered, who murdered him, and what Hamlet was asked to do to seek vengeance he feels that he has to constantly reassure himself of his lack of action was right so that he doesnt feel like he is failing his father.
Hamlet is mad and plotting and or struggling with the question of what to do about the revenge seeking that he has sworn to tend to for his deceased father. The loss of a father has exiled him into a non-existent state to where neither present world nor the futures that will come are ever realized by him. Instead he lives day to day not realizing his accomplishments from the previous day nor his goals for the next. Because of this Hamlet drags out the process of killing Claudius. Hamlet exists in a state of denial and anger. He holds his mother mainly at fault.
Like when he is in her room and just killed Polonious and she says “Alas hes mad” (P 75). By this statement hamlet has achieved a subconscious goal, which he has been trying to reach since the death of his father. He has portrayed himself as insane in hope that his actions against the king in the near future will not seem uncommon coming from him. While in his mothers bedroom, Hamlet in a way, attributes his lack of action on the promise made to his father to the way that his mother has married such a god-awful retch of a man so soon after his fathers death. Comparing the two men together Hamlet cant understand the thoughts or feelings that his mother has claimed to have for Claudius.
“Look here upon this picture, and on this, the counterfeit presentment of two brothers. See what a grace was seated on this brow..this was your husband. Here is your husband: like a mildewed ear.. ha have you eyes?” (P 74) Hamlet pass judgment on his mother disapproving of her conduct and how shes shown that she would rather bed a king who has kill her beloved husband than do what is morally right and remove herself from the throne, and letting Hamlet take his rightful seat on it. While hamlet is lecturing his mother on her faults the ghost appears in the outer part of the bedroom. “Do not forget.
This visitation is but to whet thy almost blunted purpose. But look amazement on thy mother sits. O, step between her and her frightened soul. Conceit in weakest bodies strongest works. Speak to her Hamlet.” (P 75) Through this quote King Hamlet makes clear what the intentions of young Hamlet should have been and are to be.
He is not to blame his mother for what she has done, in the re-marrying of a man so soon after her husbands death, instead he is to seek revenge on Claudius, killing him for his father. Claudius is abruptly informed that Hamlet acted strangely toward his mother. She tells him about Hamlet talking into thin air. She is completely convinced of his insanity when he asks her if she saw the ghost of his father (her true husband). This is when she runs to Claudius and tells him that she is worried about her sons mental health.
Claudius is also saddened upon hearing about the death of his dear friend Polonius. He feels now that he must take passive action against Hamlets behavior. Claudius devises a plan to both see whats wrong with Hamlet and to recover the body of his dear deceased friend. He calls upon Hamlets two closest friends. Their names are Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.
They discover Hamlet in the churchyard. They ask him what he is doing. He has just finished burying Polonius and he starts speaking to them. “What have you done, my lord?” Hamlet replies, “Compounded it with dust, whereto its kin.”(P 81) Hamlet is aware of the fact that his two dearest friends were sent to betray him. He tells them that he is insulted and also tells them what he thinks of their actions.
“Take you me for a sponge, my lord.” Hamlet replies, “Ay, sir, that soaks up the kings countenance, his rewards, his authorities..”(P81). When Hamlet finally decides to take action, he notifies a man named Fortinbras. This man is the prince of Norway. He was to arrive with drums, colors, and all of his ambassadors to celebrate the rightful overtaking of the throne. The only catch is that even though Hamlet succeeds in exterminating Claudius, he ends up dying in the process.
A few other characters (Gertrude and Laertes) also die in the duration of this fight. So Fortinbras becomes devastated and holds a “dead march” in memory of the deceased. It is obvious that Hamlet eventually acted upon his thoughts. This was a victory won, but with great loss sustained. Hamlet avenged his father, but lost his own life in the process.
He was never one to conform to the rules. He was essentially a”rebel” for his time. Even a rebel can be a hero. This is proven in the writings of Shakespeare. Whether it is Romeo and Juliet or Hamlet, Shakespeare was truly an impeccable author. Loved and respected worldwide.