Essay, Research Paper: Hamlet

Shakespeare: Hamlet

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People like to put things into categories. Movie critics do so with films:
slasher,buddy,western, war, and more. You can do the same with books: science
fiction, gothic romance and so on. Shakespeare's plays also have categories:
tragedies, comedies, and histories. But these terms don't mean exactly what you
may think they mean. Shakespeare's most famous plays are his tragedies, such as
Hamlet. These plays follow the standard rules for tragedies: The hero has a
basic human failure that brings about his downfall and death, but before he
dies, he learns an important lesson about his failure and how it destroyed his
life (and usually the lives of those he loved). Shakespeare didn't write these
plays to deliver a moral message, butthat doesn't stop us from learning from his
plays. He fills his plays with ordinary people, and we can see ourselves in
their situations. When the heroes face their tragic ends, we can learn from
their mistakes and ordinary problems, and we can see ourselves with the same
problems. At the same time, we can watch a play that is fun and entertaining,
full of action, intrigue, and excitement. Hamlet, for example, is clearly an
honest, decent person who is wrongly cheated out of the throne of Denmark by his
conniving uncle, Claudius. We root for Hamlet, cheer his triumphs, and pity his
failures. The protagonist is not always a hero, though. Sometimes he is his own
worst enemy. Coriolanus, for example, is too proud. He is a great Roman general
the best, and he knows it. His arrogance and conceit affect all around him and
drive away those who would be his friends. In the end, you almost cheer when
they conspire against him and he gets his due. In other words, Shakespeare felt
free to break the rules whenever he felt like it. After all, his audience didn't
care whether the plays followed the rules, and Shakespeare wrote to make his
audience happy, not writers and authors.
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