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Major Hamlet Themes

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Lena Lam

on 10 July 2015

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Transcript of Major Hamlet Themes

Major Hamlet Themes
-prince Hamlet is depressed
-Gertrude remarried to Claudius
-father's death
-sees his father's ghost
-determined to avenge his dad
Major Themes
Justice and Revenge
-Hamlet becomes infuriated when he learns that Claudius kills his father
-becomes lost in revenge
-the death of others
-temporary insanity + obsession w/ revenge

Was it necessary for Hamlet to act mad
in order to kill Claudius?

"A bloody deed? Almost as bad, good mother
As killing the king and marry with his brother" (Hamlet)
-after Polonius's murder
-two incomparable things (murder + remarriage)
-he is not thinking clearly due to his obsession with revenge
Appearance vs. Reality
Lena and Sabrina
Do you think that if Hamlet
didn't feel that uncertainty in the play,
would it have altered the plot/ending?
Hamlet - The Tragic Hero
King Claudius - Devil Figure
Queen Gertrude - Unfaithful Wife
Horatio - Wise Sage
Laertes, Ophelia and Polonius
Laertes vs. Hamlet
-rash and does not seek
-ready to kill anyone
-very indecisive
-constantly looks for reasoning
-faces moral + ethical issues
*his return from France
and plan to kill Claudius
*the play and doubt of ghost

"Now might I do it pat, now he is praying;
And now I'll do't. And so he goes to heaven
And so am I revenged. That would be scann'd
A villain kills my father; and for that,
I, his sole son, do this same villain send
To heaven," (Hamlet)
*Hamlet witnessed Claudius
attempting to pray
-prayers=time for forgiveness
-wants him to suffer in hell
-revenge or justice?
-Justice and Revenge
-Appearance vs. Reality
-Search for Justification
Are Hamlet's actions a reflection of
revenge or justice?
1.2 1-7

"Though yet of Hamlet our deaf brother's death
the memory be green, and that it us befitted to bear our hearts in grief and our whole kingdom to be contracted in one brow of woe, yet so far hath discretion fought with nature that we with wisest sorrow think of him, together with remembrance of ourselves." (Claudius)
-here Claudius preaches for people to commemorate his brother's death
-ironic b/c he is Hamlet's murderer
"As I perchance hearafter shall think
meet to put an antic disposition on, that you,
at such times seeing me, never shall, witharms encumer'd thus, or this head-shake, or by pronoucing of some doubtful phrase, as, "well, well, we know"; or, "we could, and if we would"..."
-Hamlet tells Horatio of his plan to act mad
-his relationships began to crumble
Search for Justification
-indecisive character
-failure to act appropriately
2.2 560-568
"May be the devil, and the devil hath power
T'assume a pleasing shape. Yea, and perhaps
Out of my weakness and my melancholy
As he is very potent with such spirits,
Abuses me to damn me. I'll have grounds.
More relative than this. The play's the thing
Wherein I'll catch the conscience of the king."
-trying to justify killing Claudius
-better evidence than a ghost
-deviates a plan using the actors
-Claudius is not who he claims to be
-Hamlet acting mad to divert attention
-Claudius praying in the church
-Hamlet's love for Ophelia
Discussion Questions:
1. Who is at fault for the play's concluding events?
Should Hamlet be held accountable? Why or why not?

2. What do you believe is Hamlet's central tragic flaw?

3. Hamlet claims that his madness is all a scheme, what are his reasons for faking it all? How can the appearance of insanity help him achieve his goal?

4. We learn that Hamlet is obsessed with suicide, what are his reasons for avoiding it? How does his attitude change towards taking his own life throughout the play?

Goethe explains why Hamlet delays killing Claudius
"A lovely, pure, noble and most moral nature, without the strength of nerve which forms a hero, sinks beneath a burden which it cannot bear and must not cast away."
-describes a tender, sensitive youth who couldn't bring himself to perform the act of vengeance
(History of Criticism)
"Hamlet's 'intellectual activity' to his 'aversion to action' (2.55). And that, for him, is the point of the play, the 'universal' it dramatizes: that a man prone to thinking is incapable of acting. The more he thinks, the less he acts." (Margareta de Grazia)
-search for justification as well as revenge
-Hamlet must think carefully about his actions and
follow his morals
Thank you
Full transcript