The play Hamlet by William Shakespeare

The play Hamlet by William Shakespeare

In the play Hamlet by William Shakespeare he shows how duty and obligation are closely connected to death. Death, duty and obligation come hand in hand and prove to be the downfall of Hamlet and Laertes. To prove this I will examine the life of Laertes as well as Hamlet. Hamlets sole duty in life was to avenge his fathers death. A sons duty to his father can lead to destruction. After Hamlet learned that the death of his father arose out of jealously from his uncle Hamlet became enraged with anger and wanted to avenge his uncle; Claudius.

Hamlet puts on a play for Claudius and the others to see. “The Murder of Gonzago” This play was put on solely to see if Claudius would react to the play in which old Hamlets murder was re-enacted. The play proves Claudius is responsible. Throughout the play Hamlet lets on that he is mad so that others aren’t aware of the scheme that he plans to carry out. While carrying out his scheme Hamlet is aware that someone is spying on him. He thinks that it is someone Claudius sent and decides to kill him, he later finds out that is was Polonius.

Hamlet being too jumpy executes one of his friends. All this happened because of procrastination on Hamlets part. “Up, sword; and know thou a more horrid hent: Whe! n he is drunk asleep, or in rage, Or in the incestuous pleasure of his bed, At gaming, swearing, or about some act that has no relish of salvation in’t” Hamlet is still procrastinating which leads to his downfall. After Hamlet killed Polonius the second time is always easier so killing Claudius would be nothing more than swinging a sword.

Claudius becoming aware of Hamlets plan tells Laertes about the death of his father; Plonius. This enrages Laertes and he too wants to avenge the death of his father. With the word of Polonius being killed his son Laertes comes back from France and is raving mad about the death of his father. After he returns to Denmark he soon learns that Hamlet was the sole killer in his fathers death. Laertes can’t wait to fight Hamlet and show him that the duty and obligation to ones father can lead to destruction. Hamlet too realizes this and is prepared to fight.

Just before they fight Hamlet apologies to Laertes for what has happened to his father. During the dual the sword with the poison and the other one gets mixed up and both Hamlet and Laertes die. But before Hamlet dies his vengeance for father is taken care of and Claudius dies. Throughout the entire play innocent people die for the simple reason of duty and obligation, duty and obligation prove to be the downfall of Ophelia; Laertes; Polonius and Hamlet. This is how duty and obligation are closely related to death and come hand in hand.


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The play Hamlet by William Shakespeare

The play Hamlet by William Shakespeare

In the play Hamlet by William Shakespeare, the theme of revenge is very palpable as the reader examines the characters of Hamlet himself, as well as Laertes, son of Polonius, and Fortinbras, prince of Norway and son of the late King Fortinbras. Each of these young characters felt the need to avenge the deaths of their fathers who they felt were untimely killed at the bloody hands of their murderers. However, the way each chose to go about this varies greatly and gives insight into their characters and how they progress throughout the play.

Hamlet, Laertes and Fortinbras are similar in the fact that each had love, or at least respect their fathers. Enough to make an attempt to wreak revenge upon their fathers murderers at the risk of their own reputation, freedom, and souls. Each of the sons believed that the killers had dishonored their fathers as well as themselves. Each acts in a way that they consider to be an attempt at restoring it to the family, as honor was a significant thing to uphold in this day. Hamlet, Laertes and Fortinbras each have characteristics that make them different from each other and show how each acted unlike the others when carrying out their plans.

Hamlet seems to be the one who lets things dwell in his mind before taking any action or making an attempt at trying to get on with things. He shows this after the death of his father when he remains in morning and a depressed state for three months without trying to get on with his life. Laertes seems to be the more quick minded of the three as he makes hasty judgments about Hamlet and is quick to force his opinion upon his sister. Judging from the differences of the three men, it is obvious that they will each take different paths in dealing with the deaths of their fathers.

Laertes acts the most irrationally and hastily, showing his reckless nature as he storms the castle of Denmark overthrowing the guards and demanding answers about his fathers death and questionable funeral. He is enraged that his father was not buried with his sword and that there was no memorial or tablet displaying their family coat of arms. He gives no thought to the damnation of his soul as he quickly makes a plan with Claudius to poison Hamlet. Hamlet has no reason to point blame at anyone, as there is nothing to make him believe that his father was killed unjustly.

It is not until his fathers ghost appears to him that he is aware of a killer. Fortinbras, after learning that the late King Hamlet was responsible for his fathers death, he does not act irrationally out of haste like Laertes or become passive and a coward like Hamlet. He takes the time to establish an army and seek revenge upon the country of Denmark as a whole as it was in war against the country that his father was killed. When Claudius informs Fortinbras uncle, the king of Norway, of Fortinbras real intentions, the king demands that Fortinbras retreat in his military attempts at Denmark.

He obeys showing that he can be dealt with sensibly and that he does not look so much to murder as the way to avenge his father as Hamlet and Laertes do. Hamlets situation has the most emotional effect on the audience. One cannot help but take pity on the young prince who has not only lost his father, but has had to endure the re-marriage of his mother to his uncle. His state of depression and madness throughout most of the play may not be understood, but it can be tolerated.

In todays society, it would be considered most rational to act under the law to seek revenge upon the murderer of a family member. But how can one say that they would be willing not to take out personal revenge and trust the system if they were not in the situation themselves. It is difficult to understand the actions of these three characters, as the audience cannot relate to what they are feeling after the deaths of their fathers. However, after all the revenge has taken place the audience can then decide for themselves who is the monster and who is the man.

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The play Hamlet by William Shakespeare. (2019, Mar 11). Retrieved February 23, 2020, from