One of the most fascinating and very exciting plays learned in composition II is Hamlet by William Shakespeare. The play takes the atmosphere of Denmark’s anarchy and begins with the sad case of the death of Kings, followed by the succession of both the Kingdom and the Queen (Gertrude) of King Claudius’ brother. Its characters, such as Hamlet, Claudius, and Gertrude, are used to present the themes of retribution and death among others. Shakespeare also uses metaphors such as the phantom, Yorick’s skull, family problems to pass a message to the viewer and give importance to the play.
Hamlet, the prince, is summoned from school in Germany to his home in Denmark to attend the funeral of his aunt. Hamlet feels let down by his mother who marries his uncle barely two weeks after his father’s death and refers the marriage as an “incent.” Hamlet knows that his father’s death is not natural and suspects that he was murdered by Claudius his doubts are confirmed when the King’s ghost appears and disappears in the castle ordering Hamlet to revenge against Claudius. Despite being vengeful, Hamlet is portrayed as an intelligent man who does not rush into actions before engaging his mind, evident in most of his soliloquies. He subjects his mind to difficult questions about life, death, and suicide and also works towards finding evidence that Claudius killed his father. Hamlet is also moody and suffers from Oedipus complex due to his revenge obsession. On the other hand, Claudius is portrayed as a selfish man with no conscience who succeeds in his scheming motives and applies the Machiavelli principles to take over kingship. Gertrude, the queen, is that woman who gets over her lost lover so fast and easily remarries at the end of the play she dies after sipping poisoned wine. The play also incorporates conflicts such as family conflict whereby Hamlet conflicts with his mother and the uncle following their marriage which to him is inappropriate.
The ghost scene introduces a major theme of revenge in the play. Hamlet is ordered to revenge for his father’s murder, a call that results in bloody incidences where Ophelia’s dad is killed mistakenly by Hamlet. Later Claudius, Laertes, Gertrude, and Hamlet dies in the process through the same poisoned sword. Shakespeare uses delay tactic in delivering the revenge hence introducing other themes such as madness. Hamlet behaves like a madman as he is obsessed with revenge against his father’s murderer which makes him appear harmless to Gertrude and Claudius. The theme of mortality and life after death also takes centerstage in the Hamlet, the Prince (Hamlet) is faced with questions on life after death. For instance, he is afraid of committing suicide which he knows would lead him to hell; he is disturbed by the moral corruption of the society around him. Hamlet delays killing Claudius when he finds him praying arguing that in such a scenario, he would go directly to heaven after death. In Hamlet, death is the equalizer of people, and it does not know supremacy as symbolized by the Yorick’s skull who despite being a respected person in the society faced death which portrays the fate of humanity. The ghost also symbolizes the haunting memories that are used to differentiate reality from imaginations and speculations. Through the ghost, Hamlet realizes that his father was killed through poisoning by Claudius. The “Rank gardens” in the play can also be likened to the garden of Eden in which from a religious perspective was characterized by temptations which are also evident in the play.
Hamlet plays a significant informative role even in the modern generation especially on greed for power and the consequences of revenge. Vengeful actions by Hamlet and Claudius yield death to both parties and innocent people like Gertrude who were never involved in the plan. Despite being vengeful Hamlet determination to avenge and do according to his fathers will inspire readers on depression on without giving up. I tend to agree with the play on death as an equalizer of people and a common fate for all.