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Themes in Hamlet

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Amelia Stephenson

on 17 October 2014

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Transcript of Themes in Hamlet

Evidence
Act 1 scene 5: King Hamlet tells Hamlet,"So art thou to revenge, when thou shalt hear."
Act 4 scene 5: Laertes speaking: "Let come what comes; only I'll be revenged Most thoroughly through my father."
Betrayal
Before revenge consumes the character, they are deceived by someone they least expect. In the play, numerous characters feel like the people they love have wronged them in some sort of way. For example, Hamlet feels betrayed by his mother because she married King Hamlet's brother. King Hamlet is betrayed by his own brother killing him.
Evidence
Act 1 scene 5: The Ghost tells Hamlet, "Upon my secure hour thy uncle stole with juice...And in the porches of my ear did pour the leperous distillment, whose effect holds such an enmity with blood of man..."
Act 1 scene 5: King Hamlet speaks about Queen Gertrude saying, "won to his shameful lust The will of my most seeming-virtuous queen: O Hamlet, what a falling-off was there!"
Insanity
The theme of insanity is mentioned several times in the play. Characters like Hamlet and Ophelia both reveal acts of insanity. Hamlet is so obsessed with revenge and grief and Ophelia is full of sorrow over the death of her father that they both go a little insane.
Evidence
Act 2 scene 1: Hamlet comes to Ophelia's closet and Ophelia reports to Polonius that "Lord Hamlet with his doublet all unbraced, No hat upon his head, his stockings fouled, Ungart'red, and down-gyved to his ankle, Pale as his shirt, his knees knocking each other...As if he had been loosed out of hell to speak of horrors..."
Act 4 scene 7: Queen Gertrude explains to Laertes that his sister "drown'd...clambering to hang, an envious sliver broke...which time she chanted snatches of old tunes; As one incapable of her own distress..."
Revenge
Revenge is one of the underlying themes throughout the entire play. It acts as a catalyst for the events and decisions made in the play. Hamlet relies so heavily on revenge which is basically what causes his downfall in the end and what helps make this play a tragedy.
Themes in
Hamlet

Mystery of
Death
Death is a mystery to Hamlet and he becomes fascinated and curious by it. It is mysterious because
Hamlet is confused on life after death and what it is like. He ponders death from the perspectives if spiritual aftermath and physical reminders of it
Evidence
Act 5 scene 1: Hamlet is speaking to Horatio and says, "Dost thou think Alexander looked o' this fashion i' the earth?"
Act 5 scene 1: Hamlet also evaluates death when he thinks about his old friend Yorick in the same scene. He says, "a fellow of infinite jest...and now, how abhorred in my imagination it is!"
Act 3 scene 1: Hamlet considers death through the lines "To be, or not to be...Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer...or to take up arms against a sea of troubles..."
Love
Love is discussed many times in the play. It is evident through Ophelia and Hamlet and King Claudius and Queen Gertrude. Being a main theme in the play, love affects many situations and finds a way to make itself evident.
Evidence
Act 1 scene 2: Ophelia tells her father, Polonius, about her love for Hamlet by saying, "He hath, my lord, of late made many tenders of his affection to me."
Act 5 scene 1: Hamlet expresses his love for Ophelia through the words, "I loved Ophelia: forty thousand brothers could not, with all their quantity of love, make up my sum."
Act 1 scene 2: Hamlet explains the love King Hamlet had for Queen Gertrude when he says, "...so loving to my mother that he might not beteem the winds of heaven visit her face too roughly."
Act 1 scene 2: Hamlet later says, "...She married. O, most wicked speed, to post..." It was too quick and she remarried without even grieving.
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