Hamlet Critical Study

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Hamlet explores the individual’s struggle to find meaning in life, and it is this profound but relatable idea that captivates audiences and readers over time. The major philosophical ideas are explored in the characters’ journey, especially Hamlet’s. Hamlet’s struggle to find meaning in a world that offers none is highlighted in his first soliloquy, “Oh that this too too solid flesh would melt…” As the play progresses and Hamlet delves deeper into a world of corruption and deceit, his internal turmoil heightens and Hamlet continues on his search for meaning. However, his search comes to a quiet, resonating end as seen in the “Gravedigger scene.” Hamlet begins the play as a grieving boy who has just lost his father. His mother’s quick marriage to Claudius, his father’s brother, leaves him bitter and disillusioned. In the first act of Hamlet that Hamlet’s state of mind is explored and his quest for the meaning of life begins. The soliloquy “Oh that this too too solid flesh would melt…” is a dramatic technique used by Shakespeare to reveal Hamlet’s true emotions and marks the beginning of Hamlet’s philosophical journey. The dominant imagery used in this soliloquy is one of corruption and disease. His disgust at his mother’s “incestuous” marriage is also revealed in this soliloquy. The corrupt imagery used by Hamlet – “unweeded garden” – is reflective of the current state at which the nation is in. It is also indicative of Hamlet’s struggle to find meaning in a “weary world” that is corrupt. To further his disillusionment, his mother has married Claudius. He expresses his clear disgust for his mother’s “incestuous” deed – “Frailty, thy name is woman.” Hamlet’s disillusionment with women can be said to begin with his mother. Hamlet cannot digest the fact that his mother has fallen from such a great height – from being married to Old Hamlet to being married to
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