Essay, Research Paper: Hamlet Themes

Shakespeare: Hamlet

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Hamlet by William Shakespeare illustrates foreshadowing through its characters
to keep the reader interested throughout the play. An example of foreshadowing
is Hamlet’s depressed state of mind which foreshadows his motivation to find
out the truth about his father’s death. A second example of foreshadowing is
when Hamlet’s father comes to him as a ghost and informs him about his murder,
this causes rage within Hamlet that foreshadows his revenge. A third example of
foreshadowing is when Hamlet asks the players to perform “The Mousetrap”
which might prove Claudius’ involvement in King Hamlet’s murder and
foreshadows Hamlet’s revenge. Another example is Hamlet’s sudden unusual
behavior towards Ophelia which foreshadows a fatal outcome for the lovers.
Finally, the concluding example is Laertes’ anger and pain towards his
father’s death which foreshadows his revenge towards Hamlet, his father’s
murderer. So these five examples of foreshadowing keep the reader interested and
eager to continue reading the play. In the beginning of Hamlet there is an
immediate introduction to Hamlet’s grief and gloominess which foreshadows his
need for revenge. Hamlet’s lovely personality and pleasantry were gone and he
found himself dissatisfied of the world around him. His world was falling apart
in front of him. His father’s death was a bitter wound in his heart he
couldn’t be forgotten. King Hamlet was an excellent king who loved his wife,
Queen Gertrude, deeply. But Hamlet couldn’t understand how his mother who
would “hang on [her husband]/as if increase of appetite had grown” could
forget about him so quickly (1.2.147-148). It seemed to Hamlet as if they both
loved each other immensely. However, before Gertrude’s “unrighteous
tears/had left the flushing in her galled eyes/she married” her husbands
brother (1.2.159-161). It was only two months after the funeral and she was
married. This hurt Hamlet a lot because he felt his mother didn’t seem to love
her deceased husband as much as he loved her. She proved this by marrying his
brother which was considered improper to Hamlet and others. Hamlet’s
depression and madness were not only caused by the death of his father but by
his mother’s remarriage. His love for his dear father motivated him to seek
the truth. Hamlet does find out the truth when his father’s ghost comes and
tells him he was murdered. So Hamlet has a mission to find his father’s
murderer and get revenge. Another example of foreshadowing Hamlet’s revenge
occurs when he speaks to his father’s ghost. Hamlet had heard from the
soldiers who worked as night watchers that they had seen an image resembling the
king. The soldiers said the King’s spirit would come exactly at twelve
midnight. They explained he was dressed in a full suit of armor and very pale.
Hamlet stood guard with Horatio and Marcellus on the platform awaiting his
father’s spirit. Hamlet was in awe at the sight of the ghost and he couldn’t
help but be scared. He became relaxed as he noticed the ghost, his father, was
eager to speak with him. He wondered why his father “revisits thus the
glimpses of the moon” since his death (1.4.58). King Hamlet came to inform his
son he was “stung by a serpent” and the “serpent that did sting [his]
life/now wears his crown” (1.5.43,46-47). He explained that his brother
Claudius arranged to have him poisoned in his sleep with the poision being
poured into his ear. Consequently, Claudius murdered his brother to gain his
brother’s crown. He told Hamlet if he loved him he would get revenge on his
murderer. This incident foreshadows Hamlet’s revenge. Hamlet plots a way to
have Claudius admit he killed King Hamlet. His plan was to have the players
perform the play “The Mousetrap” which was an allusion to the truth.
Claudius gets angry during the play which proves he was the murderer. For that
reason Hamlet eventually gets revenge and kills Claudius. Hamlet was obligated
to his father to seek revenge on his murderer which foreshadowed the death of
Claudius. He felt that the longer he waited to capture the truth and bring
justice to his father’s death he was dishonoring his name. Therefore, Hamlet
plotted a plan to make Claudius confess. He asked the players to performed
“The Mousetrap” which was really a way of solving the mystery of his
father’s death. The play was a story about the murder of a Duke in Vienna. The
Duke was murdered by a family member and soon after the Duke’s death the
family member gained his crown. Hamlet selected this play since it was an
allusion to his father’s murder. His intention was to make Claudius feel
guilty as he watched the play so he would breakdown and confess. Claudius
becomes very angry and leaves and does not continue to watch the play. Claudius
was setup and got caught in a trap which was laid for him. Hamlet’s
premonition that Claudius murdered his father was proven with Claudius reaction
while watching the play. This is another example that foreshadows Hamlet getting
revenge on Claudius. The death of Ophelia is foreshadowed by Hamlet’s unusual
behavior towards her. Hamlet showed Ophelia his unconditional love through his
acts of kindness. He showed her his affections by sending her letters and
pledging his undevoted love to her. She believed his devotion of love and felt
the same way because he “made many tenders/of his affection to [her]”
(1.3.108-109). His madness increased after his uncle Claudius and his mother
Gertrude married two months after his father’s death. Ophelia described
Hamlet’s appearance “as if he had been loosed out of hell/to speak of
horrors’” since he was so pale and dreadful looking (2.1.93-94). After his
father’s death and his mother’s marriage Hamlet’s depressed state of mind
caused him to neglect Ophelia. Therefore, she felt very lonely especially since
her father, Polonius, was murdered by her lover. Her lover’s neglect, her
brother’s absence and her father’s death caused her to go mad. She just
needed to be comforted. The lack of love she received caused her madness which
left her with no other choose but to take her own life by drowning. Laertes’
rage towards his father, Polonius’ death foreshadows his revenge towards
Hamlet who killed Polonius. Hamlet was sent to England by Claudius since he
murdered Polonius. However, Hamlet managed to return to Denmark to finally get
revenge on Claudius. Yet when he arrived there was a funeral in procession.
Hamlet noticed that the funeral was for Ophelia his lovely maiden. He declares
he loved Ophelia more than “forty thousand brothers” who “could not with
all their quantity of love/make upon [his] sum” (5.1.285-287). Laertes was
full of grief as well and blamed Hamlet for this so he seeked revenge. Laertes
and Claudius plotted a plan to murder Hamlet. Laertes challenged Hamlet to a
fencing match and Hamlet agrees. Laertes prepares a poisoned weapon to kill
Hamlet in guidance from Claudius. By the end of the match Hamlet dies, Laertis
dies, as well as Claudius and Gertrude. Horatio is the only one living to tell
the story. So Laertes gets revenge on Hamlet for killing Polonius and Hamlet
finally gets revenge on Claudius for killing King Hamlet. In conclusion, these
five examples of foreshadowing keep the reader interested in wanting to find out
the ending of this tragedy. Hamlet is forced to seek revenge not only for
himself but for his father as well. Laertes, Ophelia, and Polonius were innocent
victims of Hamlets’ procrastination to get revenge throughout the play.
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