BOOK REVIEW HAMLET - WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

SUMMARY ACT I SHAKESPEARE'S LONGEST PLAY AND THE PLAY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE IMMORTAL LINES "TO BE OR NOT TO BE: THAT IS THE QUESTION:" AND THE ADVISE "TO THINE OWN SELF BE TRUE," BEGINS IN DENMARK WITH THE NEWS THAT KING HAMLET OF DENMARK HAS RECENTLY DIED. DENMARK IS NOW IN A STATE OF HIGH ALERT AND PREPARING FOR POSSIBLE WAR WITH YOUNG FORTINBRAS OF NORWAY. A GHOST RESEMBLING THE LATE KING HAMLET IS SPOTTED ON A PLATFORM BEFORE ELSINORE CASTLE IN DENMARK. KING CLAUDIUS, WHO NOW RULES DENMARK, HAS TAKEN KING HAMLET'S WIFE, QUEEN GERTRUDE AS HIS NEW WIFE AND QUEEN OF DENMARK. KING CLAUDIUS FEARING YOUNG FORTINBRAS OF NORWAY MAY INVADE, HAS SENT AMBASSADORS TO NORWAY TO URGE THE KING OF NORWAY TO RESTRAIN YOUNG FORTINBRAS. YOUNG HAMLET DISTRUSTS KING CLAUDIUS. THE KING AND QUEEN DO NOT UNDERSTAND WHY HAMLET STILL MOURNS HIS FATHER'S DEATH OVER TWO MONTHS AGO. IN HIS FIRST SOLILOQUY, HAMLET EXPLAINS THAT HE DOES NOT LIKE HIS MOTHER MARRYING THE NEXT KING OF DENMARK SO QUICKLY WITHIN A MONTH OF HIS FATHER'S DEATH... LAERTES, THE SON OF LORD CHAMBERLAIN POLONIUS, GIVES HIS SISTER OPHELIA SOME BROTHERLY ADVICE. HE WARNS OPHELIA NOT TO FALL IN LOVE WITH YOUNG HAMLET; SHE WILL ONLY BE HURT. POLONIUS TELLS HIS DAUGHTER OPHELIA NOT TO RETURN HAMLET'S AFFECTIONS FOR HER SINCE HE FEARS HAMLET IS ONLY USING HER... HAMLET MEETS THE GHOST OF HIS FATHER, KING HAMLET AND FOLLOWS IT TO LEARN MORE... HAMLET LEARNS FROM KING HAMLET'S GHOST THAT HE WAS POISONED BY KING CLAUDIUS, THE CURRENT RULER OF DENMARK. THE GHOST TELLS HAMLET TO AVENGE HIS DEATH BUT NOT TO PUNISH QUEEN GERTRUDE FOR REMARRYING; IT IS NOT HAMLET'S PLACE AND HER CONSCIENCE AND HEAVEN WILL JUDGE HER... HAMLET SWEARS HORATIO AND MARCELLUS TO SILENCE OVER HAMLET MEETING THE GHOST.

ACT II POLONIUS TELLS REYNALDO TO SPY ON HIS SON LAERTES IN PARIS. POLONIUS LEARNS FROM HIS DAUGHTER OPHELIA THAT A BADLY DRESSED HAMLET MET HER, STUDIED HER FACE AND PROMPTLY LEFT. POLONIUS BELIEVES THAT HAMLET'S ODD BEHAVIOR IS BECAUSE OPHELIA HAS REJECTED HIM. POLONIUS DECIDES TO TELL KING CLAUDIUS THE REASON FOR HAMLET'S RECENTLY ODD BEHAVIOR. KING CLAUDIUS INSTRUCTS COURTIERS ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN TO FIND OUT WHAT IS CAUSING HAMLET'S STRANGE "TRANSFORMATION," OR CHANGE OF CHARACTER. QUEEN GERTRUDE REVEALS THAT ONLY KING HAMLET'S DEATH AND HER RECENT REMARRIAGE COULD BE UPSETTING HAMLET. WE LEARN MORE OF YOUNG FORTINBRAS' MOVEMENTS AND POLONIUS HAS HIS OWN THEORY ABOUT HAMLET'S TRANSFORMATION; IT IS CAUSED BY HAMLET'S LOVE FOR HIS DAUGHTER OPHELIA. HAMLET MAKES HIS FAMOUS SPEECH ABOUT THE GREATNESS OF MAN. HAMLET PLANS TO USE A PLAY TO TEST IF KING CLAUDIUS REALLY DID KILL HIS FATHER AS KING HAMLET'S GHOST TOLD HIM...

ACT III THE KING'S SPIES, ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN REPORT TO KING CLAUDIUS ON HAMLET'S BEHAVIOR. HAMLET IS EAGER FOR KING CLAUDIUS AND QUEEN GERTRUDE TO WATCH A PLAY TONIGHT WHICH HAMLET HAS ADDED LINES TO. KING CLAUDIUS AND POLONIUS LISTEN IN ON HAMLET'S AND OPHELIA'S PRIVATE CONVERSATION. HAMLET SUSPECTS OPHELIA IS SPYING ON HIM AND IS INCREASINGLY HOSTILE TO HER BEFORE LEAVING. KING CLAUDIUS DECIDES TO SEND HAMLET TO ENGLAND, FEARING DANGER IN HAMLET SINCE HE NO LONGER BELIEVES HAMLET IS MERELY LOVESICK. THE KING AGREES TO POLONIUS' PLAN TO EAVESDROP ON HAMLET'S CONVERSATION WITH HIS MOTHER AFTER THE PLAY TO HOPEFULLY LEARN MORE FROM HAMLET. THE PLAY HAMLET HAD ADDED LINES TO IS PERFORMED. THE MIME PRECEDING THE PLAY WHICH MIMICS THE GHOST'S DESCRIPTION OF KING HAMLET'S DEATH GOES UNNOTICED. THE MAIN PLAY CALLED "THE MURDER OF GONZAGO" IS PERFORMED, CAUSING KING CLAUDIUS TO REACT IN A WAY WHICH CONVINCES HAMLET THAT HIS UNCLE DID INDEED POISON HIS FATHER KING HAMLET AS THE GHOST PREVIOUSLY HAD TOLD HIM... HAMLET PRETENDS NOT TO KNOW THAT THE PLAY HAS OFFENDED KING CLAUDIUS. HAMLET AGREES TO SPEAK WITH HIS MOTHER IN PRIVATE...

KING CLAUDIUS ADMITS HIS GROWING FEAR OF HAMLET AND DECIDES TO SEND HIM OVERSEAS TO ENGLAND WITH ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN IN ORDER TO PROTECT HIMSELF. ALONE, KING CLAUDIUS REVEALS IN SOLILOQUY HIS OWN KNOWLEDGE OF THE CRIME HE HAS COMMITTED (POISONING KING HAMLET) AND REALIZES THAT HE CANNOT ESCAPE DIVINE JUSTICE... QUEEN GERTRUDE ATTEMPTS TO SCOLD HER SON BUT HAMLET INSTEAD SCOLDS HIS MOTHER FOR HER ACTIONS. QUEEN GERTRUDE CRIES OUT IN FEAR, AND POLONIUS ECHOES IT AND IS STABBED THROUGH THE ARRAS (SUBDIVISION OF A ROOM CREATED BY A HANGING TAPESTRY) WHERE HE WAS LISTENING IN. HAMLET CONTINUES SCOLDING HIS MOTHER BUT THE GHOST REAPPEARS, TELLING HAMLET TO BE GENTLE WITH THE QUEEN. FOR HER PART, QUEEN GERTRUDE AGREES TO STOP LIVING WITH KING CLAUDIUS, BEGINNING HER REDEMPTION....

ACT IV
KING CLAUDIUS SPEAKS WITH HIS WIFE, QUEEN GERTRUDE. HE LEARNS OF POLONIUS' MURDER WHICH SHOCKS HIM; IT COULD EASILY HAVE BEEN HIM. QUEEN GERTRUDE LIES FOR HER SON, SAYING THAT HAMLET IS AS MAD AS A TEMPESTUOUS SEA. KING CLAUDIUS, NOW SCARED OF HAMLET, DECIDES TO HAVE HAMLET SENT AWAY TO ENGLAND IMMEDIATELY... HE ALSO SENDS COURTIERS AND SPIES ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN TO SPEAK WITH HAMLET TO FIND OUT WHERE HAMLET HAS HIDDEN POLONIUS' BODY SO THEY CAN TAKE IT TO THE CHAPEL.HAMLET REFUSES TO TELL ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN WHERE POLONIUS' DEAD BODY IS HIDDEN. HE CALLS ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN LAPDOGS REVEALING HIS TRUE AWARENESS THAT THEY ARE NOT HIS FRIENDS. HAMLET AGREES TO SEE KING CLAUDIUS. HAMLET CONTINUES TO REFUSE TO TELL ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN WHERE POLONIUS' BODY IS. HAMLET IS BROUGHT BEFORE THE KING. THE TWO EXCHANGE WORDS, CLEARLY CIRCLING EACH OTHER, EACH AWARE THAT THE OTHER IS A THREAT. HAMLET TELLS KING CLAUDIUS WHERE POLONIUS BODY IS. KING CLAUDIUS OMINOUSLY TELLS HAMLET TO LEAVE FOR ENGLAND SUPPOSEDLY FOR HAMLET'S OWN SAFETY. WITH HAMLET GONE, KING CLAUDIUS REVEALS HIS PLANS FOR HAMLET TO BE KILLED IN ENGLAND, FREEING KING CLAUDIUS FROM FURTHER WORRY FROM THIS THREAT... YOUNG FORTINBRAS MARCHES HIS ARMY ACROSS DENMARK TO FIGHT THE POLISH. HAMLET LAMENTS THAT HE DOES NOT HAVE IN HIM THE STRENGTH OF YOUNG FORTINBRAS, WHO WILL LEAD AN ARMY INTO POINTLESS FIGHTING, IF ONLY TO MAINTAIN HONOR. HAMLET ASKS HIMSELF HOW HE CANNOT FIGHT FOR HONOR WHEN HIS FATHER HAS BEEN KILLED AND HIS MOTHER MADE A WHORE IN HIS EYES BY BECOMING KING CLAUDIUS' WIFE. THE DEATH OF POLONIUS LEAVES ITS MARK ON OPHELIA WHO BECOMES MAD FROM THE GRIEF OF LOSING HER FATHER. LAERTES STORMS KING CLAUDIUS' CASTLE, DEMANDING TO SEE HIS FATHER AND WANTING JUSTICE WHEN HE LEARNS THAT HIS FATHER, POLONIUS HAS BEEN KILLED. KING CLAUDIUS REMAINS CALM, TELLING LAERTES THAT HE TOO MOURNED HIS FATHER'S LOSS... HORATIO IS GREETED BY SAILORS WHO HAVE NEWS FROM HAMLET. HORATIO FOLLOWS THE SAILORS TO LEARN MORE... KING CLAUDIUS EXPLAINS TO LAERTES THAT HAMLET KILLED HIS FATHER, POLONIUS. DECIDING THEY HAVE A COMMON ENEMY, THEY PLOT HAMLET'S DEATH AT A FENCING MATCH TO BE ARRANGED BETWEEN LAERTES AND HAMLET. LAERTES LEARNS OF HIS SISTER OPHELIA'S DEATH BY DROWNING...

ACT V HAMLET AND HORATIO SPEAK WITH A CHEERFUL CLOWN OR GRAVEDIGGER. HAMLET FAMOUSLY REALIZES THAT MAN'S ACCOMPLISHMENTS ARE TRANSITORY (FLEETING) AND HOLDING THE SKULL OF YORICK, A CHILDHOOD JESTER HE REMEMBERED, CREATES A FAMOUS SCENE ABOUT MAN'S INSIGNIFICANCE AND INABILITY TO CONTROL HIS FATE FOLLOWING DEATH. AT OPHELIA'S BURIAL, THE PRIEST REVEALS A WIDELY HELD BELIEF THAT OPHELIA COMMITTED SUICIDE, ANGERING LAERTES. HAMLET FIGHTS LAERTES OVER OPHELIA'S GRAVE, ANGERED BY LAERTES EXAGGERATED EMPHASIS OF HIS SORROW AND BECAUSE HE BELIEVES HE LOVED OPHELIA MUCH MORE THAN HER BROTHER. HAMLET EXPLAINS TO HORATIO HOW HE AVOIDED THE DEATH PLANNED FOR HIM IN ENGLAND AND HAD COURTIERS' ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN PUT TO DEATH INSTEAD. HAMLET REVEALS HIS DESIRE TO KILL KING CLAUDIUS. SUMMONED BY OSRIC TO FENCE AGAINST LAERTES, HAMLET ARRIVES AT A HALL IN THE CASTLE AND FIGHTS LAERTES. QUEEN GERTRUDE DRINKS A POISONED CUP MEANT FOR HAMLET, DYING BUT NOT BEFORE TELLING ALL THAT SHE HAS BEEN POISONED. HAMLET WINS THE FIRST TWO ROUNDS AGAINST LAERTES BUT IS STABBED AND POISONED FATALLY IN THE THIRD ROUND. EXCHANGING SWORDS WHILST FIGHTING, HAMLET WOUNDS AND POISONS LAERTES WHO EXPLAINS THAT HIS SWORD IS POISON TIPPED. NOW DYING, HAMLET STABS KING CLAUDIUS WITH THIS SAME SWORD, KILLING HIM. HAMLET, DYING, TELLS HORATIO TO TELL HIS STORY AND NOT TO COMMIT SUICIDE. HAMLET RECOMMENDS YOUNG FORTINBRAS AS THE NEXT KING OF DENMARK. YOUNG FORTINBRAS ARRIVES, CLEANING UP THE MASSACRE. HORATIO PROMISES TO TELL ALL THE STORY WE HAVE JUST WITNESSED, ENDING THE PLAY.

CHARACTER ANALYSIS HAMLET: SON OF THE LATE KING HAMLET OF DENMARK AND NEPHEW TO THE PRESENT KING. FAMOUS FOR THE GRAVEYARD SCENE WHERE HOLDING THE SKULL OF DECEASED JESTER YORICK, HAMLET REALIZES MAN HAS LITTLE LASTING CONTROL OVER HIS FATE AND ALSO FOR DESCRIBING MAN AS THE "PARAGON OF ANIMALS!" EDUCATED IN WITTENBURG AND INTRODUCED TO US IN ACT I, SCENE II, HAMLET RESENTS HIS MOTHER QUEEN GERTRUDE MARRYING KING CLAUDIUS WITHIN TWO MONTHS OF HIS FATHER KING HAMLET'S DEATH TO WHICH SHE WAS PREVIOUSLY MARRIED. DISTRUSTFUL OF KING CLAUDIUS, HAMLET IS EQUALLY WEARY OF THE KING'S SPIES, GUILDENSTERN AND ROSENCRANTZ WHO ATTEMPT TO KNOW HIS TRUE INTENTIONS. WHEN HAMLET MEETS KING HAMLET'S GHOST AND LEARNS THAT KING CLAUDIUS MURDERED HIS FATHER, HAMLET CHANGES FROM A DISTRUSTFUL, DISILLUSIONED YOUNG MAN TO ONE DRIVEN TO AVENGE HIS FATHER'S DEATH. TO THIS END, HAMLET DISTRUSTS AND REJECTS ALL THOSE AROUND HIM WHOM HE BELIEVES ARE SPYING ON HIM FOR KING CLAUDIUS. FEARING THAT HIS INTENTIONS COULD BE REVEALED, HAMLET INVENTS A MADNESS TO DISTRACT AND HIDE HIS TRUE INTENTIONS FROM KING CLAUDIUS' MANY SPIES. THIS INCLUDES OPHELIA, THE WOMEN HE LOVES WHOM HE BITTERLY REJECTS WHEN HE LEARNS SHE HAS BETRAYED HIM. CUNNING AND INVENTIVE, HAMLET CHANGES THE LINES OF A PLAY PERFORMED BEFORE KING CLAUDIUS TO DIVINE WHETHER KING HAMLET'S GHOST TOLD HIM THE TRUTH ABOUT HIS FATHER'S DEATH. AT THE END OF THE PLAY, HAMLET KILLS BOTH ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN (INDIRECTLY), LAERTES AND FINALLY KING CLAUDIUS BEFORE DYING HIMSELF FROM A WOUND INFLICTED BY LAERTES. CLAUDIUS: THE PRESENT KING OF DENMARK, KING CLAUDIUS TOOK QUEEN GERTRUDE WHOM HE LOVES AS HIS QUEEN AND CLAUDIUS WIFE, MUCH TO THE CONSTERNATION OF HAMLET WHO BELIEVES HIS MOTHER HAS BETRAYED HIM AND HIS FATHER'S MEMORY BY DOING SO. CAUTIOUS AND SUSPICIOUS, CLAUDIUS HAS COURTIERS ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN AND HAMLET'S LOVE INTEREST OPHELIA SPYING ON HAMLET FOR HIM SINCE AS HE SAYS, THE GREAT ONES MUST BE WATCHED. DISTRUSTFUL OF HAMLET AND HIS "MADNESS", KING CLAUDIUS HAS HAMLET DEPORTED TO ENGLAND TO BE KILLED WHEN HE FEARS HE HAS BECOME A THREAT. INSTEAD, HAMLET RETURNS TO DENMARK, AND KING CLAUDIUS MANIPULATES LAERTES INTO KILLING HAMLET FOR HIM. UNFORTUNATELY, KING CLAUDIUS' PLAN TO POISON HAMLET BACKFIRES, KILLING HIS BELOVED QUEEN GERTRUDE INSTEAD. IN ACT III, SCENE III, KING CLAUDIUS REVEALS HIS INNER GUILT AND THE KNOWLEDGE THAT HE CANNOT AVOID GOD'S JUDGMENT OF HIM... DIES AT THE END OF THE PLAY TO THE POISON TIPPED SWORD OF HAMLET. HORATIO: FRIEND TO HAMLET AND THE ONE PERSON HAMLET TRULY TRUSTS. WITNESSES KING HAMLET'S GHOST IN ACT I. AT THE END OF THE PLAY, HORATIO WISHES TO COMMIT SUICIDE TO JOIN HAMLET IN DEATH BUT HAMLET CONVINCES HIM TO LIVE SO HE CAN TELL HIS STORY, RESTORING HAMLET'S NAME.

GERTRUDE: QUEEN OF DENMARK AND MOTHER TO HAMLET, QUEEN GERTRUDE IS RESENTED DEEPLY BY HAMLET FOR MARRYING KING CLAUDIUS WITHIN TWO MONTHS OF HIS FATHER, KING HAMLET'S DEATH. HAMLET MAKES THIS BITTERLY CLEAR THROUGHOUT THE PLAY ESPECIALLY IN HIS FIRST SOLILOQUY IN ACT I, SCENE II. QUEEN GERTRUDE LOVES HER SON BUT WHEN SHE SEES A PLAY MOCKING HER ACTIONS, SHE FAMOUSLY SAYS OF THE FEMALE CHARACTER WHO VOWS NEVER TO FORGET HER HUSBAND, "THE LADY DOTH [DOES] PROTEST TOO MUCH, METHINKS [I THINK]", (ACT III, SCENE II, LINE 242) IN AN ATTEMPT TO JUSTIFY HER OWN ACTIONS IN REMARRYING SO QUICKLY. CLEARLY LOVING OF HAMLET, SHE REALIZES HER WRONG WHEN HAMLET SCOLDS HER MERCILESSLY IN ACT III, SCENE V. SHE AGREES TO NO LONGER SHARE KING CLAUDIUS' BED, AND AIDS HER SON BY HIDING HAMLET'S TRUE MENTAL STATE FROM KING CLAUDIUS. DIES IN ACT V, SCENE II, TO A POISONED CUP OF WINE MEANT FOR HAMLET. POLONIUS: LORD CHAMBERLAIN. THE FATHER OF LAERTES AND OPHELIA, LORD CHAMBERLAIN POLONIUS DUTIFULLY CHAMBERLAIN. SERVES KING CLAUDIUS. WHEN NEWS OF HAMLET'S MADNESS CIRCULATE, POLONIUS IS CERTAIN THAT HIS DAUGHTER OPHELIA IS RESPONSIBLE, HAVING MADE HAMLET LOVESICK. WORRIED THAT HAMLET'S INTENTIONS FOR HIS DAUGHTER ARE DISHONORABLE, POLONIUS ORDERS OPHELIA TO KEEP HER DISTANCE. LATER WHEN KING CLAUDIUS NEEDS INFORMATION, POLONIUS USES HIS DAUGHTER TO SPY ON HAMLET. HE EVEN HAS REYNALDO, A SERVANT SPY ON HIS OWN SON LAERTES IN PARIS. AN ENTHUSIASTIC SPY FOR KING CLAUDIUS, POLONIUS IS KILLED BY HAMLET WHEN HE ATTEMPTS TO LISTEN IN ON A CONVERSATION BETWEEN HAMLET AND QUEEN GERTRUDE IN ACT III, SCENE IV. HIS DEATH LEADS TO OPHELIA'S MADNESS AND LATER DROWNING BROUGHT ON BY GRIEF AND ALSO TO LAERTES' ALLIANCE WITH KING CLAUDIUS TO KILL HAMLET, TO AVENGE POLONIUS, HIS FATHER'S DEATH. DEATH LAERTES: POLONIUS' SON, LAERTES IS HELD IN HIGH ESTEEM FOR HIS FENCING SKILLS. FAMOUS FOR THE ADVISE, "TO THINE OWN SELF BE TRUE," (BE TRUE TO YOURSELF) AND THE ADVISE TO "NEITHER A BORROWER, NOR A LENDER BE;" IN ACT I, SCENE III. LAERTES' ROLE IN THIS PLAY IS MINOR UNTIL THE DEATH OF HIS FATHER POLONIUS. FROM THIS POINT ON, LAERTES EMERGES AS RATHER MORE ASSERTIVE, CONFRONTING KING CLAUDIUS PERSONALLY TO KNOW HIS FATHER'S WHEREABOUTS, ARGUING WITH A PRIEST FOR BEING DISRESPECTFUL TO HIS SISTER, FIGHTING HAMLET ABOVE HIS SISTER'S GRAVE AND ULTIMATELY CONSPIRING TO AND KILLING HAMLET WITH THE HELP OF KING CLAUDIUS. WE SEE LITTLE OF LAERTES' INNER CHARACTER HOWEVER SINCE HE RESPONDS TO EVENTS CONTINUOUSLY. LOVING OF HIS SISTER OPHELIA, HE MUST WATCH HIS SISTER'S CRUEL DECAY INTO MADNESS HELPLESSLY FOLLOWING HIS FATHER'S DEATH. DIES IN ACT V, SCENE II, THE VICTIM OF A WOUND INFLICTED UPON HIM BY HAMLET WITH HIS OWN POISON TIPPED SWORD. OPHELIA: THE DAUGHTER TO POLONIUS, OPHELIA IS LOVED BY HAMLET. UNFORTUNATELY AS QUEEN GERTRUDE LAMENTS AT OPHELIA'S FUNERAL, OPHELIA NEVER MARRIES HAMLET. DUTIFUL TO HER FATHER, SHE IGNORES HAMLET'S ROMANTIC OVERTURES WHEN INSTRUCTED TO IGNORE THEM BY HER FATHER POLONIUS. RECEIVES ADVICE ON HOW TO LIVE FROM BROTHER LAERTES IN ACT I, SCENE III. THOUGH LOVED BY HAMLET, OPHELIA ULTIMATELY BETRAYS HIM BY SPYING ON HIM FOR KING CLAUDIUS. AS A RESULT HAMLET MERCILESSLY INSULTS HER VIRTUE DURING THE PLAY "THE MURDER OF GONZAGO" IN ACT III, SCENE II. A DUTIFUL DAUGHTER, OPHELIA DESCENDS INTO MADNESS FROM THE GRIEF OF LOSING HER FATHER POLONIUS AND LATER DROWNS IN CIRCUMSTANCES THAT SUGGEST A POSSIBLE SUICIDE. HER FUNERAL IS THE LOCATION OF A FIGHT BETWEEN HAMLET AND LAERTES THAT CENTERS ON WHICH LOVED HER MORE; HAMLET BELIEVES HE DID, RESENTING LAERTES EXAGGERATED EMPHASIS OF HIS SORROW... FORTINBRAS: PRINCE OF NORWAY. THE SON OF KING FORTINBRAS, WHO WAS DEFEATED BY KING HAMLET, YOUNG FORTINBRAS HAS RAISED AN ARMY TO RECLAIM THE LANDS LOST BY HIS FATHER TO KING HAMLET AND DENMARK. CONVINCED INTO ATTACKING THE POLISH INSTEAD, YOUNG FORTINBRAS DISPLAYS ALL THE NOBLE, HONOR DRIVEN QUALITIES, HAMLET WISHES HE HAD. AT THE END OF THE PLAY, YOUNG FORTINBRAS IS RECOMMENDED BY HAMLET TO BE THE NEXT KING OF DENMARK. PARALLELS HAMLET'S CHARACTER IN THAT LIKE HAMLET HIS FATHER WAS A RULER (KING OF NORWAY) AND THAT BOTH ARE NOW NEPHEWS TO THE CURRENT RULERS OF THEIR LANDS.. ROSENCRANTZ, GUILDENSTERN: COURTIERS TO KING CLAUDIUS, BOTH THESE MEN GREW UP WITH HAMLET. AS A RESULT KING CLAUDIUS RECRUITS THEM TO SPY ON HAMLET FOR HIM. NEITHER MAN HAS A PROBLEM TRADING IN THEIR FRIENDSHIP TO BETRAY HAMLET; THEY SERVE THE KING. BOTH DIE WHEN THE INSTRUCTIONS THEY BEAR FROM KING CLAUDIUS ARE ALTERED BY HAMLET TO INSTRUCT KING CLAUDIUS' ENGLISH ASSOCIATES TO KILL THOSE BEARING HIS COMMISSION IMMEDIATELY (ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN). A PRIEST: INTRODUCES AT OPHELIA'S FUNERAL, THE PRIEST INSULTS LAERTES BY EXPRESSING HIS PERSONAL OPINION THAT OPHELIA DOES NOT DESERVE A PROPER CHRISTIAN BURIAL FOR ENDING HER LIFE BY SUICIDE, WHICH WAS CONSIDERED A SIN UNWORTHY OF PROPER BURIAL. REYNALDO: SERVANT TO POLONIUS, REYNALDO IS INSTRUCTED TO SPY ON HIS LAERTES IN PARIS IN ACT II, SCENE I. REYNALDO: SERVANT TO POLONIUS, REYNALDO IS INSTRUCTED TO SPY ON HIS LAERTES IN PARIS IN ACT II, SCENE I. MARCELLUS AND BERNARDO: OFFICERS WHO INITIALLY SPOT KING HAMLET'S GHOST IN ACT I, SCENE I. VOLTIMAND, CORNELIUS, OSRIC AND A GENTLEMAN: Courtiers.

FRANCISCO: A SOLDIER. FAMOUS FOR THE LINES "'TIS [IT IS] BITTER COLD, / AND I AM SICK AT HEART" WHICH SETS THE TONE OF THIS TRAGEDY. A CAPTAIN, ENGLISH AMBASSADORS, PLAYERS, TWO CLOWNS (GRAVEDIGGERS), LORDS, LADIES, OFFICERS, SOLDIERS, SAILORS. ANALYSIS AND INTERPERTATION LANGUAGE HAMLET'S STATEMENT THAT HIS DARK CLOTHES ARE THE OUTER SIGN OF HIS INNER GRIEF DEMONSTRATES STRONG RHETORICAL SKILL MUCH OF THE PLAY'S LANGUAGE IS COURTLY: ELABORATE, WITTY DISCOURSE, AS RECOMMENDED BY BALDASSARE CASTIGLIONE'S 1528 ETIQUETTE GUIDE, THE COURTIER. THIS WORK SPECIFICALLY ADVISES ROYAL RETAINERS TO AMUSE COURTIER. THEIR MASTERS WITH INVENTIVE LANGUAGE. OSRIC AND POLONIUS, ESPECIALLY, SEEM TO RESPECT THIS INJUNCTION. CLAUDIUS'S SPEECH IS RICH WITH RHETORICAL FIGURES—AS IS HAMLET'S AND, AT TIMES, OPHELIA'S—WHILE THE LANGUAGE OF HORATIO, THE GUARDS, AND THE GRAVEDIGGERS IS SIMPLER. CLAUDIUS'S HIGH STATUS IS REINFORCED BY USING THE ROYAL FIRST PERSON PLURAL ("WE" OR "US"), AND ANAPHORA MIXED WITH METAPHOR TO RESONATE WITH GREEK POLITICAL SPEECHES HAMLET IS THE MOST SKILLED OF ALL AT RHETORIC. HE USES HIGHLY DEVELOPED METAPHORS, STICHOMYTHIA, AND IN NINE STICHOMYTHIA, MEMORABLE WORDS DEPLOYS BOTH ANAPHORA AND ASYNDETON: "TO DIE: TO SLEEP— / TO SLEEP, PERCHANCE TO DREAM".] ASYNDETON: DREAM".] IN CONTRAST, WHEN OCCASION DEMANDS, HE IS PRECISE AND STRAIGHTFORWARD, AS WHEN HE EXPLAINS HIS INWARD EMOTION TO HIS MOTHER: "BUT I HAVE THAT WITHIN WHICH PASSES SHOW, / THESE BUT THE TRAPPINGS AND THE SUITS OF WOE AT TIMES, HE RELIES HEAVILY ON PUNS TO EXPRESS HIS TRUE THOUGHTS WHILE SIMULTANEOUSLY CONCEALING THEM HIS "NUNNERY" REMARKS TO OPHELIA ARE AN EXAMPLE OF A CRUEL DOUBLE MEANING AS NUNNERY WAS ELIZABETHAN SLANG FOR BROTHEL HIS VERY FIRST WORDS IN THE PLAY ARE A PUN; WHEN CLAUDIUS ADDRESSES HIM AS "MY COUSIN HAMLET, AND MY SON", HAMLET SAYS AS AN ASIDE: "A LITTLE MORE THAN KIN, AND LESS THAN KIND." AN UNUSUAL RHETORICAL DEVICE, HENDIADYS, APPEARS IN SEVERAL PLACES IN THE PLAY. EXAMPLES ARE FOUND IN HENDIADYS, OPHELIA'S SPEECH AT THE END OF THE NUNNERY SCENE: "TH'EXPECTANCY AND ROSE OF THE FAIR STATE"; "AND I, OF LADIES "TH'EXPECTANCY MOST DEJECT AND WRETCHED" MANY SCHOLARS HAVE FOUND IT ODD THAT SHAKESPEARE WOULD, SEEMINGLY WRETCHED" ARBITRARILY, USE THIS RHETORICAL FORM THROUGHOUT THE PLAY. ONE EXPLANATION MAY BE THAT HAMLET WAS WRITTEN LATER IN SHAKESPEARE'S LIFE, WHEN HE WAS ADEPT AT MATCHING RHETORICAL DEVICES TO CHARACTERS AND THE PLOT. LINGUIST GEORGE T. WRIGHT SUGGESTS THAT HENDIADYS HAD BEEN USED DELIBERATELY TO HEIGHTEN THE PLAY'S SENSE OF DUALITY AND DISLOCATION. PAULINE KIERNAN ARGUES THAT SHAKESPEARE CHANGED ENGLISH DRAMA FOREVER IN HAMLET BECAUSE HE "SHOWED HOW A CHARACTER'S LANGUAGE CAN OFTEN BE SAYING SEVERAL THINGS AT ONCE, AND CONTRADICTORY MEANINGS AT THAT, TO REFLECT FRAGMENTED THOUGHTS AND DISTURBED FEELINGS." SHE GIVES THE EXAMPLE OF HAMLET'S ADVICE TO OPHELIA, "GET THEE TO A NUNNERY", WHICH IS SIMULTANEOUSLY A REFERENCE TO A PLACE OF CHASTITY AND A SLANG TERM FOR A BROTHEL, REFLECTING HAMLET'S CONFUSED FEELINGS ABOUT FEMALE SEXUALITY. HAMLET'S SOLILOQUIES HAVE ALSO CAPTURED THE ATTENTION OF SCHOLARS ; HAMLET INTERRUPTS HIMSELF, VOCALISING EITHER DISGUST OR AGREEMENT WITH HIMSELF, AND EMBELLISHING HIS OWN WORDS. HE HAS DIFFICULTY EXPRESSING HIMSELF DIRECTLY AND INSTEAD BLUNTS THE THRUST OF HIS THOUGHT WITH WORDPLAY. IT IS NOT UNTIL LATE IN THE PLAY, AFTER HIS EXPERIENCE WITH THE PIRATES, THAT HAMLET IS ABLE TO ARTICULATE HIS FEELINGS FREELY. DRAMATIC STRUCTURE HAMLET DEPARTED FROM CONTEMPORARY DRAMATIC CONVENTION IN SEVERAL WAYS. FOR EXAMPLE, IN SHAKESPEARE'S DAY, PLAYS WERE USUALLY EXPECTED TO FOLLOW THE ADVICE OF ARISTOTLE IN HIS POETICS: THAT A DRAMA SHOULD POETICS: FOCUS ON ACTION, NOT CHARACTER. IN HAMLET, SHAKESPEARE REVERSES THIS SO THAT IT IS THROUGH THE SOLILOQUIES, HAMLET, SOLILOQUIES, NOT THE ACTION, THAT THE AUDIENCE LEARNS HAMLET'S MOTIVES AND THOUGHTS. THE PLAY IS FULL OF SEEMING DISCONTINUITIES AND IRREGULARITIES OF ACTION. AT ONE POINT, AS IN THE GRAVEDIGGER SCENE,[9] HAMLET SEEMS SCENE,[9] RESOLVED TO KILL CLAUDIUS: IN THE NEXT SCENE, HOWEVER, WHEN CLAUDIUS APPEARS, HE IS SUDDENLY TAME. SCHOLARS STILL DEBATE WHETHER THESE TWISTS ARE MISTAKES OR INTENTIONAL ADDITIONS TO ADD TO THE PLAY'S THEME OF CONFUSION AND DUALITY. FINALLY, IN A PERIOD WHEN MOST PLAYS RAN FOR TWO HOURS OR SO, THE FULL TEXT OF HAMLET—SHAKESPEARE'S LONGEST PLAY, WITH 4,042 LINES, TOTALLING 29,551 WORDS—TAKES OVER FOUR HOURS TO HAMLET—SHAKESPEARE'S DELIVER. HAMLET ALSO CONTAINS A FAVORITE SHAKESPEAREAN DEVICE, A PLAY WITHIN THE PLAY

RELIGIOUS OPHELIA DEPICTS LADY OPHELIA'S MYSTERIOUS DEATH BY DROWNING. IN THE PLAY, THE CLOWNS DISCUSS WHETHER OPHELIA'S DEATH WAS A SUICIDE AND WHETHER OR NOT SHE MERITS A CHRISTIAN BURIAL. (ARTIST: JOHN EVERETT MILLAIS 1852). WRITTEN AT A TIME OF RELIGIOUS UPHEAVAL, AND IN THE WAKE OF THE ENGLISH REFORMATION, THE PLAY IS REFORMATION, ALTERNATELY CATHOLIC (OR PIOUSLY MEDIEVAL) AND PROTESTANT (OR CONSCIOUSLY MODERN). THE GHOST DESCRIBES HIMSELF AS BEING IN PURGATORY, AND AS DYING WITHOUT LAST RITES. THIS AND OPHELIA'S BURIAL CEREMONY, WHICH IS PURGATORY, RITES. CHARACTERISTICALLY CATHOLIC, MAKE UP MOST OF THE PLAY'S CATHOLIC CONNECTIONS. SOME SCHOLARS HAVE OBSERVED THAT REVENGE TRAGEDIES COME FROM TRADITIONALLY CATHOLIC COUNTRIES, SUCH AS SPAIN AND ITALY; AND THEY PRESENT A CONTRADICTION, SINCE ACCORDING TO CATHOLIC DOCTRINE THE STRONGEST DUTY IS TO GOD AND FAMILY. HAMLET'S CONUNDRUM, THEN, IS WHETHER TO AVENGE HIS FATHER AND KILL CLAUDIUS, OR TO LEAVE THE VENGEANCE TO GOD, AS HIS RELIGION REQUIRES. MUCH OF THE PLAY'S PROTESTANTISM DERIVES FROM ITS LOCATION IN DENMARK—THEN AND NOW A PREDOMINANTLY PROTESTANT COUNTRY, THOUGH IT IS UNCLEAR WHETHER THE FICTIONAL DENMARK OF THE PLAY IS INTENDED TO MIRROR THIS FACT. THE PLAY DOES MENTION WITTENBERG, WHERE HAMLET, HORATIO, AND ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN WITTENBERG, ATTEND UNIVERSITY, AND WHERE MARTIN LUTHER FIRST NAILED UP HIS 95 THESES WHEN HAMLET SPEAKS OF THE "SPECIAL PROVIDENCE IN THE FALL OF A SPARROW", HE REFLECTS THE PROTESTANT BELIEF THAT THE WILL OF GOD—DIVINE GOD—DIVINE PROVIDENCE—CONTROLS EVEN THE SMALLEST EVENT. IN Q1, THE FIRST SENTENCE OF THE SAME SECTION READS: "THERE'S A PROVIDENCE—CONTROLS PREDESTINATE PROVIDENCE IN THE FALL OF A SPARROW," WHICH SUGGESTS AN EVEN STRONGER PROTESTANT CONNECTION THROUGH JOHN CALVIN'S DOCTRINE OF PREDESTINATION. SCHOLARS SPECULATE THAT HAMLET MAY HAVE BEEN CENSORED, PREDESTINATION. AS "PREDESTINED" APPEARS ONLY IN THIS QUARTO. PHILOSOPHICAL PHILOSOPHICAL IDEAS IN HAMLET ARE SIMILAR TO THOSE OF THE FRENCH WRITER MICHEL DE MONTAIGNE, A MONTAIGNE, CONTEMPORARY OF SHAKESPEARE'S. HAMLET IS OFTEN PERCEIVED AS A PHILOSOPHICAL CHARACTER, EXPOUNDING IDEAS THAT ARE NOW DESCRIBED AS RELATIVIST, EXISTENTIALIST, AND SCEPTICAL. FOR EXAMPLE, HE EXPRESSES A RELATIVISTIC IDEA WHEN HE SAYS TO RELATIVIST, EXISTENTIALIST, SCEPTICAL. ROSENCRANTZ: "THERE IS NOTHING EITHER GOOD OR BAD, BUT THINKING MAKES IT SO". THE IDEA THAT NOTHING IS REAL EXCEPT IN THE MIND OF THE INDIVIDUAL FINDS ITS ROOTS IN THE GREEK SOPHISTS, WHO ARGUED THAT SINCE NOTHING CAN SOPHISTS, BE PERCEIVED EXCEPT THROUGH THE SENSES—AND SINCE ALL INDIVIDUALS SENSE, AND THEREFORE PERCEIVE, THINGS DIFFERENTLY—THERE IS NO ABSOLUTE TRUTH, ONLY RELATIVE TRUTH. THE CLEAREST EXAMPLE OF EXISTENTIALISM IS FOUND IN THE "TO BE, OR NOT TO BE" SPEECH, WHERE HAMLET USES "BEING" TO ALLUDE TO BOTH LIFE AND ACTION, AND "TO BE" "NOT BEING" TO DEATH AND INACTION. HAMLET'S CONTEMPLATION OF SUICIDE IN THIS SCENE, HOWEVER, IS LESS PHILOSOPHICAL THAN RELIGIOUS AS HE BELIEVES THAT HE WILL CONTINUE TO EXIST AFTER DEATH. SCHOLARS AGREE THAT HAMLET REFLECTS THE CONTEMPORARY SCEPTICISM THAT PREVAILED IN RENAISSANCE HUMANISM. HUMANISM. PRIOR TO SHAKESPEARE'S TIME, HUMANISTS HAD ARGUED THAT MAN WAS GOD'S GREATEST CREATION, MADE IN GOD'S IMAGE AND ABLE TO CHOOSE HIS OWN NATURE, BUT THIS VIEW WAS CHALLENGED, NOTABLY IN MICHEL DE MONTAIGNE'S ESSAIS OF 1590. HAMLET'S "WHAT A PIECE OF WORK IS A MAN" ECHOES MANY OF MONTAIGNE'S IDEAS, BUT SCHOLARS "WHAT MAN" DISAGREE WHETHER SHAKESPEARE DREW DIRECTLY FROM MONTAIGNE OR WHETHER BOTH MEN WERE SIMPLY REACTING SIMILARLY TO THE SPIRIT OF THE TIMES.

POLITICAL IN THE EARLY 17TH CENTURY POLITICAL SATIRE WAS DISCOURAGED, AND PLAYWRIGHTS WERE PUNISHED FOR "OFFENSIVE" WORKS. IN 1597, BEN JONSON WAS JAILED FOR HIS PARTICIPATION IN THE PLAY THE ISLE OF DOGS. THOMAS MIDDLETON WAS DOGS. IMPRISONED IN 1624, AND HIS A GAME AT CHESS WAS BANNED AFTER NINE PERFORMANCES NUMEROUS SCHOLARS BELIEVE THAT HAMLET'S POLONIUS POKED FUN AT THE SAFELY DECEASED WILLIAM CECIL (LORD BURGHLEY)—LORD HIGH HAMLET'S TREASURER AND CHIEF COUNSELLOR TO QUEEN ELIZABETH I—AS NUMEROUS PARALLELS CAN BE FOUND. POLONIUS'S ROLE AS ELDER STATESMAN IS SIMILAR TO THE ROLE BURGHLEY ENJOYED; POLONIUS'S ADVICE TO LAERTES MAY ECHO BURGHLEY'S TO HIS SON ROBERT CECIL; AND POLONIUS'S TEDIOUS VERBOSITY MAY RESEMBLE BURGHLEY'S. ALSO, CECIL; "CORAMBIS", (POLONIUS'S NAME IN Q1) RESONATES WITH THE LATIN FOR "DOUBLE-HEARTED"—WHICH MAY SATIRISE LORD BURGHLEY'S LATIN MOTTO COR UNUM, VIA UNA ("ONE HEART, ONE WAY"). LASTLY, THE RELATIONSHIP OF POLONIUS'S DAUGHTER OPHELIA WITH HAMLET MAY BE COMPARED TO THE RELATIONSHIP OF BURGHLEY'S DAUGHTER, ANNE CECIL, WITH THE EARL OF OXFORD, EDWARD DE VERE. THESE ARGUMENTS ARE ALSO OFFERED IN SUPPORT OF THE SHAKESPEARE VERE. AUTHORSHIP CLAIMS FOR THE EARL OF OXFORD. NEVERTHELESS SHAKESPEARE ESCAPED CENSURE; AND FAR FROM BEING OXFORD. SUPPRESSED, HAMLET WAS GIVEN THE ROYAL IMPRIMATUR, AS THE KING'S COAT OF ARMS ON THE FRONTISPIECE OF THE 1604 IMPRIMATUR, HAMLET ATTESTS.

PSYCHOANALYTIC

FREUD SUGGESTED THAT AN UNCONSCIOUS OEDIPAL CONFLICT CAUSED HAMLET'S HESITATIONS. IN THE FIRST HALF OF THE 20TH CENTURY, WHEN PSYCHOANALYSIS WAS AT THE HEIGHT OF ITS INFLUENCE, ITS CONCEPTS WERE APPLIED TO HAMLET, NOTABLY BY SIGMUND FREUD, ERNEST JONES, AND JACQUES LACAN, AND THESE STUDIES HAMLET, FREUD, JONES, LACAN, INFLUENCED THEATRICAL PRODUCTIONS. IN HIS THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS (1900), FREUD'S ANALYSIS STARTS FROM THE PREMISE THAT "THE PLAY IS BUILT UP ON HAMLET'S HESITATIONS OVER FULFILLING THE TASK OF REVENGE THAT IS ASSIGNED TO HIM; BUT ITS TEXT OFFERS NO REASONS OR MOTIVES FOR THESE HESITATIONS". AFTER REVIEWING VARIOUS LITERARY THEORIES, FREUD CONCLUDES THAT HAMLET HAS AN "OEDIPAL DESIRE FOR HIS MOTHER AND THE SUBSEQUENT GUILT [IS] PREVENTING HIM FROM MURDERING "OEDIPAL THE MAN [CLAUDIUS] WHO HAS DONE WHAT HE UNCONSCIOUSLY WANTED TO DO". CONFRONTED WITH HIS REPRESSED DESIRES, HAMLET REALISES THAT "HE HIMSELF IS LITERALLY NO BETTER THAN THE SINNER WHOM HE IS TO PUNISH". FREUD DESIRES, SUGGESTS THAT HAMLET'S APPARENT "DISTASTE FOR SEXUALITY"—ARTICULATED IN HIS "NUNNERY" CONVERSATION WITH OPHELIA—ACCORDS WITH THIS INTERPRETATION.[88][89] JOHN BARRYMORE INTRODUCED FREUDIAN OVERTONES INTO HIS INTERPRETATION.[88] LANDMARK 1922 PRODUCTION IN NEW YORK, WHICH RAN FOR A RECORD-BREAKING 101 NIGHTS. IN THE 1940S, ERNEST JONES—A PSYCHOANALYST AND FREUD'S BIOGRAPHER—DEVELOPED FREUD'S IDEAS INTO A SERIES OF JONES—A ESSAYS THAT CULMINATED IN HIS BOOK HAMLET AND OEDIPUS (1949). INFLUENCED BY JONES'S PSYCHOANALYTIC APPROACH, SEVERAL PRODUCTIONS HAVE PORTRAYED THE "CLOSET SCENE", WHERE HAMLET CONFRONTS HIS MOTHER IN HER PRIVATE QUARTERS, IN A SEXUAL LIGHT. IN THIS READING, HAMLET IS DISGUSTED BY HIS MOTHER'S "INCESTUOUS" RELATIONSHIP WITH CLAUDIUS WHILE SIMULTANEOUSLY FEARFUL OF KILLING HIM, AS THIS WOULD CLEAR HAMLET'S PATH TO HIS MOTHER'S BED. OPHELIA'S MADNESS AFTER HER FATHER'S DEATH MAY ALSO BE READ THROUGH THE FREUDIAN LENS: AS A REACTION TO THE DEATH OF HER HOPED-FOR LOVER, HER FATHER. SHE IS OVERWHELMED BY HAVING HER UNFULFILLED LOVE FOR HIM SO ABRUPTLY TERMINATED AND DRIFTS INTO THE OBLIVION OF INSANITY. IN 1937, TYRONE GUTHRIE DIRECTED LAURENCE OLIVIER IN A JONES-INSPIRED HAMLET AT THE OLD VIC. VIC. IN THE 1950S, LACAN'S STRUCTURALIST THEORIES ABOUT HAMLET WERE FIRST PRESENTED IN A SERIES OF SEMINARS GIVEN IN PARIS AND LATER PUBLISHED IN "DESIRE AND THE INTERPRETATION OF DESIRE IN HAMLET". LACAN POSTULATED THAT HAMLET". THE HUMAN PSYCHE IS DETERMINED BY STRUCTURES OF LANGUAGE AND THAT THE LINGUISTIC STRUCTURES OF HAMLET SHED LIGHT ON HUMAN DESIRE. HIS POINT OF DEPARTURE IS FREUD'S OEDIPAL THEORIES, AND THE CENTRAL THEME OF MOURNING THAT RUNS THROUGH HAMLET. IN LACAN'S ANALYSIS, HAMLET UNCONSCIOUSLY ASSUMES THE ROLE OF HAMLET. PHALLUS—THE CAUSE OF HIS INACTION—AND IS INCREASINGLY DISTANCED FROM REALITY "BY MOURNING, FANTASY, PHALLUS—THE NARCISSISM AND PSYCHOSIS", WHICH CREATE HOLES (OR LACK (MANQUE)) IN THE REAL, IMAGINARY, AND SYMBOLIC PSYCHOSIS", (MANQUE)) ASPECTS OF HIS PSYCHE. LACAN'S THEORIES INFLUENCED LITERARY CRITICISM OF HAMLET BECAUSE OF HIS ALTERNATIVE VISION OF THE PLAY AND HIS USE OF SEMANTICS TO EXPLORE THE PLAY'S PSYCHOLOGICAL LANDSCAPE.

FEMINIST OPHELIA IS DISTRACTED BY GRIEF. FEMINIST CRITICS HAVE EXPLORED HER DESCENT INTO MADNESS. (ARTIST: HENRIETTA RAE 1890). IN THE 20TH CENTURY FEMINIST CRITICS OPENED UP NEW APPROACHES TO GERTRUDE AND OPHELIA. NEW HISTORICIST AND CULTURAL MATERIALIST CRITICS EXAMINED THE PLAY IN ITS HISTORICAL CONTEXT, ATTEMPTING TO PIECE TOGETHER ITS ORIGINAL CULTURAL ENVIRONMENT. THEY FOCUSED ON THE GENDER SYSTEM OF EARLY MODERN ENGLAND, POINTING TO THE COMMON TRINITY OF MAID, WIFE, OR WIDOW, WITH WHORES ALONE OUTSIDE OF THE STEREOTYPE. IN THIS ANALYSIS, WIDOW, THE ESSENCE OF HAMLET IS THE CENTRAL CHARACTER'S CHANGED PERCEPTION OF HIS MOTHER AS A WHORE BECAUSE OF HER FAILURE TO REMAIN FAITHFUL TO OLD HAMLET. IN CONSEQUENCE, HAMLET LOSES HIS FAITH IN ALL WOMEN, TREATING OPHELIA AS IF SHE TOO WERE A WHORE AND DISHONEST WITH HAMLET. OPHELIA, BY SOME CRITICS, CAN BE HONEST AND FAIR, HOWEVER; IT IS VIRTUALLY IMPOSSIBLE TO LINK THESE TWO TRAITS, SINCE 'FAIRNESS' IS AN OUTWARD TRAIT, WHILE 'HONESTY' IS AN INWARD TRAIT. CAROLYN HEILBRUN'S 1957 ESSAY "HAMLET'S MOTHER" DEFENDS GERTRUDE, ARGUING THAT THE TEXT NEVER HINTS THAT GERTRUDE KNEW OF CLAUDIUS POISONING KING HAMLET. THIS ANALYSIS HAS BEEN CHAMPIONED BY MANY FEMINIST CRITICS. HEILBRUN ARGUED THAT MEN HAVE FOR CENTURIES COMPLETELY MISINTERPRETED GERTRUDE, ACCEPTING AT FACE VALUE HAMLET'S VIEW OF HER INSTEAD OF FOLLOWING THE ACTUAL TEXT OF THE PLAY. BY THIS ACCOUNT, NO CLEAR EVIDENCE SUGGESTS THAT GERTRUDE IS AN ADULTERESS: SHE IS MERELY ADAPTING TO THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF HER HUSBAND'S DEATH FOR THE GOOD OF THE KINGDOM. OPHELIA HAS ALSO BEEN DEFENDED BY FEMINIST CRITICS, MOST NOTABLY ELAINE SHOWALTER. OPHELIA IS SURROUNDED SHOWALTER. BY POWERFUL MEN: HER FATHER, BROTHER, AND HAMLET. ALL THREE DISAPPEAR: LAERTES LEAVES, HAMLET ABANDONS HER, AND POLONIUS DIES. CONVENTIONAL THEORIES HAD ARGUED THAT WITHOUT THESE THREE POWERFUL MEN MAKING DECISIONS FOR HER, OPHELIA IS DRIVEN INTO MADNESS. FEMINIST THEORISTS ARGUE THAT SHE GOES MAD WITH GUILT BECAUSE, WHEN HAMLET KILLS HER FATHER, HE HAS FULFILLED HER SEXUAL DESIRE TO HAVE HAMLET KILL HER FATHER SO THEY CAN BE TOGETHER. SHOWALTER POINTS OUT THAT OPHELIA HAS BECOME THE SYMBOL OF THE DISTRAUGHT AND HYSTERICAL WOMAN IN MODERN CULTURE. INFLUENCE HAMLET IS ONE OF THE MOST QUOTED WORKS IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE, AND IS OFTEN INCLUDED ON LISTS OF THE WORLD'S GREATEST LITERATURE. AS SUCH, IT REVERBERATES THROUGH THE WRITING OF LATER CENTURIES. ACADEMIC LAURIE OSBORNE IDENTIFIES THE DIRECT INFLUENCE OF HAMLET IN NUMEROUS MODERN NARRATIVES, AND DIVIDES THEM INTO FOUR MAIN CATEGORIES: FICTIONAL ACCOUNTS OF THE PLAY'S COMPOSITION, SIMPLIFICATIONS OF THE STORY FOR YOUNG READERS, STORIES EXPANDING THE ROLE OF ONE OR MORE CHARACTERS, AND NARRATIVES FEATURING PERFORMANCES OF THE PLAY. HENRY FIELDING'S TOM JONES, PUBLISHED ABOUT 1749, DESCRIBES A VISIT TO HAMLET BY TOM JONES AND MR PARTRIDGE, FIELDING'S JONES, WITH SIMILARITIES TO THE "PLAY WITHIN A PLAY". IN CONTRAST, GOETHE'S BILDUNGSROMAN WILHELM MEISTER'S APPRENTICESHIP, WRITTEN BETWEEN 1776 AND 1796, NOT ONLY HAS A PRODUCTION OF HAMLET AT ITS CORE BUT ALSO APPRENTICESHIP, CREATES PARALLELS BETWEEN THE GHOST AND WILHELM MEISTER'S DEAD FATHER. IN THE EARLY 1850S, IN PIERRE, HERMAN PIERRE, MELVILLE FOCUSES ON A HAMLET-LIKE CHARACTER'S LONG DEVELOPMENT AS A WRITER. TEN YEARS LATER, DICKENS'S GREAT EXPECTATIONS CONTAINS MANY HAMLET-LIKE PLOT ELEMENTS: IT IS DRIVEN BY REVENGE-MOTIVATED ACTIONS, CONTAINS GHOST-LIKE CHARACTERS (ABEL MAGWICH AND MISS HAVISHAM), AND FOCUSES ON THE HERO'S GUILT.[102] HAVISHAM), GUILT.[102] ACADEMIC ALEXANDER WELSH NOTES THAT GREAT EXPECTATIONS IS AN "AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL NOVEL" AND "ANTICIPATES PSYCHOANALYTIC READINGS OF HAMLET ITSELF". ABOUT THE SAME TIME, GEORGE ELIOT'S THE MILL ON THE FLOSS WAS ELIOT'S PUBLISHED, INTRODUCING MAGGIE TULLIVER "WHO IS EXPLICITLY COMPARED WITH HAMLET"[104] THOUGH "WITH A HAMLET"[104] REPUTATION FOR SANITY".[105] THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO BY ALEXANDRE DUMAS, PÈRE MAKES MENTION OF HAMLET SANITY".[105] NUMEROUS TIMES AND DEALS WITH THE SAME REVENGE THEME. IN THE 1920S, JAMES JOYCE MANAGED "A MORE UPBEAT VERSION" OF HAMLET—STRIPPED OF OBSESSION AND REVENGE—IN HAMLET—STRIPPED ULYSSES, THOUGH ITS MAIN PARALLELS ARE WITH HOMER'S ODYSSEY. IN THE 1990S, TWO WOMEN NOVELISTS WERE ULYSSES, HOMER'S ODYSSEY. EXPLICITLY INFLUENCED BY HAMLET. IN ANGELA CARTER'S WISE CHILDREN, TO BE OR NOT TO BE IS. REWORKED AS A SONG HAMLET. CHILDREN, AND DANCE ROUTINE, AND IRIS MURDOCH'S THE BLACK PRINCE HAS OEDIPAL THEMES AND MURDER INTERTWINED WITH A MURDOCH'S LOVE AFFAIR BETWEEN A HAMLET-OBSESSED WRITER, BRADLEY PEARSON, AND THE DAUGHTER OF HIS RIVAL. HAMLET-OBSESSED

PLACE-STRUCTURE AND TIME-STRUCTURE
There is both a place structure and a time structure in Hamlet. The place structure depends upon no exact localization of scenes. The time structure answers to no scheme of act division. But each has its dramatic import. The action of Hamlet is concentrated at Elsinore; and this though there is much external interest, and the story abounds in journeys. As a rule in such a case, unless they are mere messengers, we travel with the travelers. But we do not see Laertes in Paris, nor, more surprisingly, Hamlet among the pirates; and the Norwegian affair is dealt with by hearsay till the play is two-thirds over. This is not done to economize time, or to leave space for more capital events. Scenes in Norway or Paris or aboard ship need be no longer than the talk of them, and Hamlet’s discovery of the King’s plot against him is a capital event. Shakespeare is deliberately concentrating his action at Elsinore. When he does at last introduce Fortinbras he stretches probability to bring him and his army seemingly to its very suburbs; and, sooner than that Hamlet should carry the action abroad with him, Horatio is left behind there to keep him in our minds. On the other hand he still, by allusion, makes the most of this movement abroad which he does not represent; he even adds to our sense of it by such seemingly superfluous touches as tell us that Horatio has journeyed from Wittenberg, that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern have been "sent for"–and even the Players are traveling. The double dramatic purpose is plain. Here is a tragedy of inaction; the center of it is Hamlet, who is physically inactive too, has "foregone all custom of exercises," will not "walk out of the air," but only, book in hand, for "four hours together, here in the lobby." The concentration at Elsinore of all that happens enhances the impression of this inactivity, which is enhanced again by the sense also given us of the constant coming and going around Hamlet of the busier world without. The place itself, moreover, thus acquires a personality, and even develops a sort of sinister power; so that when at last Hamlet does depart from it (his duty still unfulfilled) and we are left with the conscience-sick Gertrude and the guilty King, the mad Ophelia, a Laertes set on his own revenge, among a people muddied, Thick and unwholesome in their thoughts and whispers… we almost seem to feel it, and the unpurged sin of it, summoning him back to his duty and his doom. Shakespeare has, in fact, here adopted something very like unity of place; upon no principle, but to gain a specific dramatic end. He turns time to dramatic use also, ignores or remarks its passing, and uses clock or calendar or falsifies or neglects them just as it suits him. The play opens upon the stroke of midnight, an ominous and "dramatic" hour. The first scene is measured out to dawn and gains importance by that. In the second Hamlet’s "not two months dead" and "within a month…" give past events convincing definition, and his "tonight … tonight … upon the platform ’twixt eleven and twelve" a specific imminence to what is to come. The second scene upon the platform is also definitely measured out from midnight to near dawn. This framing of the exordium to the tragedy within a precise two nights and a day gives a convincing lifelikeness to the action, and sets its pulse beating rhythmically and arrestingly. 1 But now the conduct of the action changes, and with this the treatment of time. Hamlet’s resolution–we shall soon gather–has paled, his purpose as slackened. He passes hour upon hour pacing the lobbies, reading or lost in thought, oblivious apparently to time’s passing, lapsed–he himself supplies the phrase later–"lapsed in time." So Shakespeare also for a while tacitly ignores the calendar. When Polonius dispatches Reynaldo we are not told whether Laertes has already reached Paris. Presumably he has, but the point is left vague. The Ambassadors return from their mission to Norway. They must, one would suppose, have been absent for some weeks; but again, we are not told. Why not insist at once that Hamlet has let a solid two months pass and made no move, instead of letting us learn it quite incidentally later? There is more than one reason for not doing so. If the fact is explicitly stated that two months separate this scene from the last, that breaks our sense of a continuity in the action; a thing not to be done if it can be avoided, for this sense of continuity helps to sustain illusion, and so to hold us attentive. An alternative would be to insert a scene or more dealing with occurrences during these two months, and thus bridge the gap in time. But a surplusage of incidental matter is also and always to be avoided. Polonius’ talk to Reynaldo, Shakespeare feels, is relaxation and distraction enough; for with that scene only halfway through he returns to his main theme.

FAMOUS QUOTES FROM HAMLET

"To be, or not to be: that is the question". Hamlet quote (Act III, Sc. I). "Neither a borrower nor a lender be; For loan oft loses both itself and friend, and borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry". Hamlet quote Act I, Sc. III). "This above all: to thine own self be true" Hamlet quote (Act I, Sc. III). "Though this be madness, yet there is method in 't." Hamlet quote (Act II, Scene II). "That it should come to this!". Hamlet quote (Act I, Scene II). "There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so" Hamlet quote (Act II, Sc. II). "What a piece of work is man! how noble in reason! how infinite in faculty! in form and moving how express and admirable! in action how like an angel! in apprehension how like a god! the beauty of the world, the paragon of animals! " Hamlet quote (Act II, Sc. II). "The lady doth protest too much, methinks". Hamlet ( Quote Act III, Sc. II). "In my mind's eye". Hamlet quotation (Quote Act I, Scene II). "A little more than kin, and less than kind". (Hamlet Quote Act I, Scene II). "The play 's the thing wherein I'll catch the conscience of the king". Hamlet Quote (Act II, Scene II). "And it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man". (Hamlet Quote Act I, Scene III)." "This is the very ecstasy of love". - ( Hamlet Quote Act II, Sc I). "Brevity is the soul of wit". - Hamlet Quote (Act II, Scene II). "Doubt that the sun doth move, doubt truth to be a liar, but never doubt I love". Hamlet Quote (Act II, Sc. II). "Rich gifts wax poor when givers prove unkind". - (Hamlet Quote Act III, Scene I). "Do you think I am easier to be played on than a pipe?" Hamlet Quote (Act III, Sc. II). "I will speak daggers to her, but use none". - (Hamlet Quote Act III, Sc. II). "When sorrows come, they come not single spies, but in battalions".

MY REVIEW ABOUT HAMLET HAMLET HAS FASCINATED READERS AND AUDIENCES FOR CENTURIES AND FIRST THING TO POINT ABOUT HIM IS THAT HE IS ENIGMATIC.EVEN THE MOST CAREFUL AND CLEVER READERS COME AWAY WITH SENSE THAT THEY DON’T KNOW EVERYTHING ABOUT HIM.WHEN HE SPEAKS ,HE SOUNDS AS IF THERE’S SOMETHING IMPORTANT HE’S NOT SAYING,MAYBE SOMETHING EVEN HE IS NOT AWARE OF .THE ABILITY TO WRITE SOLILOQUIES AND DIALOGUES THAT CREATE THIS EFFECT IS ONE OF SHAKESPEARE’S MOST IMPRESSIVE ACHIEVMENTS. A UNIVERSITY STUDENT WHOSE STUDIES ARE INTERRUPTED BY HIS FATHER’S DEATH,HAMLET IS EXTREMELY PHILOSOPICAL AND CONTEMPLATIVE.FACED WITH EVIDENCE THAT HIS UNCLE MURDERED HIS FATHER , EVIDENCE THAT ANY OTHER CHARACTER IN A PLAY WOULD BELIEVE,HAMLET BECOMES OBSESSED WITH PROVING HIS UNCLE’S GUILT BEFORE TRYING TO ACT.THE STANDARD OF”BEYOND A RESONABLE DOUBT” IS SIMPLY UNACCEPTABLE TO HIM.HE IS EQUALLY PLAQUED WITH QUESTIONS ABOUT THE AFTERLIFE,ABOUT WISDOM OF SUICIDE,ABOUT WHAT HAPPENS TO BODIES AFTER THEY DIEAND THE LIST IS EXTENSIVE. BUT EVEN THOUGH HE IS THOUGHTFUL TO THE POINT OF OBSESSION,HAMLET ALSO BEHAVES RASHLY AND IMPULSIVELY.WHEN HE DOES ACT,IT IS WITH SURPRISING SWIFTNESS AND LITTLE OR NO PREMEDITATION,AS HE STABS POLONIUS THROUGH A CURTAIN WITHOUT EVEN CHECKING WHO HE IS.HE SEEMS TO STEP VERY EASILY INTO A ROLE OF A MADMAN,BEHAVING ERRATICALLY AND UPSETTING THE OTHER CHARACTERS WITH HIS WILD SPEECH AND POINTED INNUENDOS. BUT DESPITE ALL OF THE THINGS WITH WHICH HAMLET PROFESSES DISSATISFACTION,IT IS REMARKABLE THAT THE PRINCE AND HEIR APARENT OF DENMARK SHOULD THINK ABUT THESE PROBLEMS ONLY IN PERSONAL AND PHILOSOPICAL TERMS.HE SPENDS RELATIVELY LESS TIME THINKING ABOUT THE THREATS TO DENMARK’S NATIONAL SECURITY FROM WITHOUT OR THE THREATS TO ITS STABILITY FROM WITHIN(SOME OF WHICH HE HELPS TO CREATE THROUGH HIS OWN CARELESSNESS).THIS PLAY IS AN EXTRAORDINARY WORK BY SHAKESPEARE AND IT IS A BIT TRICKY TO READ.
ON THE WHOLE IT IS A GREAT TRAGEDY FROM A GREAT PLAYWRITER I.E WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE. TRAGEDY : IT MEANS ALL THE MAIN CHARACTERS IN THE PLAY WILL DIE.

THANK YOU. THIS IS PRESENTED BY GEORGE MATHEW.

NOTE : THESE INFORMATIONS ARE COLLECTED FROM VARIOUS SITES AND SUMUPED TO HAVE A CLEAR UNDERSTAND OF HAMLET.