Essay

Hanlet Research Paper

Hamlet Research Paper

William Shakespeare, the greatest playwright of the English language,

wrote a total of 37 plays in his lifetime, all of which can be categorized under

tragedy, comedy, or history. The Tragedy of Hamlet, Shakespeare's most popular

and greatest tragedy, displays his genius as a playwright, as literary critics

and academic commentators have found an unusual number of themes and literary

techniques present in Hamlet. Hamlet concerns the murder of the king of Denmark

and the murdered king's son's quest for revenge. Its main character, Hamlet,

possesses a tragic flaw which obstructs his desire for revenge and ultimately

brings about his death. This tragic flaw makes him a tragic hero, a character

who is destroyed because of a major weakness, as his death at the end could

possibly have been avoided were it not for his tragic flaw. Hamlet's flaw of

irresolution, the uncertainty on how to act or proceed, is shown when Hamlet

sees a play and the passion the actors had, after Hamlet's third soliloquy, in

Hamlet's fourth soliloquy, and in Hamlet's indecisive pursuit in avenging his

father's death.

First, Hamlet's flaw of irresolution is shown when he sees a play and

the passion one particular actor had. A group of players has arrived and Hamlet

arranges a personal viewing of The Murder of Gonzago with a small portion of his

own lines inserted. Hamlet then observes one portion of the play in which one

of the players put on a great display of emotion. Hamlet, besieged by guilt and

self-contempt, remarks in his second soliloquy of Hamlet of the emotion this

player showed despite the fact that the player had nothing to be emotional about.

Hamlet observed that he himself had all the reason in the world to react with

great emotion and sorrow, yet he failed to show any that could compare with the

act of the player. Hamlet calls himself a "rogue and peasant slave" and a "dull

and muddy-mettled rascal" who, like a "John-a-dreams", can take no action.

Hamlet continues his fiery speech by degrading himself and resoluting to take

some sort of action to revenge his father's death.

Next, Hamlet's flaw of irresolution is shown after his third soliloquy, the

famed "To be or not to be…" lines. Hamlet directly identifies his own tragic

flaw, remarking of his own inability to act. Hamlet, unsure whether or not the

his uncle Claudius was responsible for his father's murder, schemes to have The

Murder of Gonzago presented to the royal court, with a few minor changes, so its

contents would closely resemble the circumstances behind the murder. Reflecting

on his own guilt, he talks of death, referring to it as the undiscovered country,

and then continues by riddling his own feelings. He declares "conscience does

make cowards of us all" and that the natural ruddy complexion of one intent, or

resolute, on an action is "sicklied" over with the "pale cast of thought". This

makes an individual second guess his own actions and often times take no action

at all,.