Hamlet starts to act as a madman to avenge the death of his father by his uncle. Ophelia on the other hand, goes mad after the death of her father. Shakespeare uses both these characters to affect the main plot in the play and their relationships with other characters. Many people debate whether Hamlet’s madness is real or fake. Shakespeare incorporated the theme of madness to serve a motive for Hamlet in order to deceive others.
Hamlet serves to represent a transitional character caught between the shifting codes of honour and becomes tormented by the roles in which he is to mould himself. In this connection, Shakespeare juxtaposes Hamlet with two other revengers, Fortinbras and Laertes. Both of whom have to avenge insults to or murder done on their fathers and act immediately,
As we progress through his soliloquys in the play we see changes in Hamlet’s emotions and feelings towards what he eventually wants to do. By the third soliloquy we have found out about Hamlet’s fathers ghost and that Claudius was the one who killed him. Hamlet is angered by this and assures that he will only think of getting revenge on Claudius. Later he realizes that he should stop procrastinating and hurry up and avenge his father, but he doesn’t have the courage to do it. Hamlet also expresses the possibilities that the ghost could have been the devil.
Act IV Scene i 1-Why has Gertrude betrayed Hamlet? 2-What does Claudius’ response to Gertrude’s revelation reveal about his character? 3-What concerns does Claudius have about the murder? Scene ii 1-Examine Hamlet’s interaction with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Scene iii 1-Again, look closely at Claudius’ concerns over the death of Polonius, revealed in his first speaking part in this scene and in his plans for Hamlet in England.
And then, Hamlet comes to realize that he has heard that when people who are guilty watch a play, sometimes they can be so affected by it that they will confess their guilt. This is when Hamlet realizes what he can do to avenge his father’s murder “The play's the thing/ Wherein I'll catch the conscience of the king” (II, ii, 567-568). He will have the players perform a play, and he will make it an emotional play that will deeply affect Claudius. When he watches Claudius’s reaction, he will know for sure that he was the one who murdered Hamlet
Madness is a vital plot element in William Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Both young Hamlet and his love Ophelia appear mad throughout the play’s duration, but only Ophelia has a genuine affliction of insanity. Although stricken with grief by his father’s death and the clamorous events that follow, Hamlet does not become truly mad because he is still able to distinguish right form wrong and maneuver logically in his plan to avenge his murdered father. Shakespeare surreptitiously places revelations of Hamlet’s sanity throughout the play. Though his planned maneuver to murder his uncle Claudius, the contrast between his feigned madness and Ophelia’s true madness, and his ability change behavior around different characters that possess his trust, Hamlet’s true, rational condition emerges from beneath his veil of insanity.
The play’s main protagonist Hamlet lets his grief over his father’s murder fuel his thirst for revenge, Ophelia lets the grief over the murder of her father Polonius drive her to apparent suicide, and Ophelia’s brother Laertes is pushed to conspire with Claudius to kill Hamlet as a result of his grief. Grief might as well be its own character in Hamlet because if it was it would always be center stage. The grief present in Hamlet comes in many different shapes and forms. Even for life today, until people learn how to deal with grief it will become an inherent part of a person’s character. It is interesting to note how Shakespeare portrays his male and female characters ability to handle grief.
For instance, before the performance of The Murder of Gonzago, Hamlet explains to Horatio, “There is a play tonight before the King. / One scene of it comes near the circumstance, / which I have told thee, of my father’s death. / I prithee, when thou seest that act afoot, / even with the very comment of thy soul / observe my uncle. If his occulted guilt / do not itself unkennel in one speech, / it is a damned ghost that we have seen” (Ham 5.2.80-87). In this scene, Hamlet devises a plan to determine Claudius’ guilt and outlines it to Horatio and asks for his help with absolute sanity.
Hamlet’s father’s ghost drives the whole plot by telling Hamlet that he must go for revenge against Claudius and avenge his death. This kick starts the plot and sets the theme of revenge. He also puts pressure on Hamlet to get revenge by telling him that if he ever loved him he would take revenge on Claudius. Hamlet’s main theme is revenge because there are many different plots within the play centered on revenge, Hamlets revenge on Claudius, and Laertes’s revenge on Hamlet for killing his father Polonius are just two examples of the theme of revenge. In The Lion King the theme of revenge is shown through the actions of Simba who returns to defeat Scar and avenge his father’s death by taking revenge on Scar.
This conflict within Hamlet is further expounded by the possibility that his father was murdered by his uncle, King Cladius. In an attempt to cope with the moral weakness of his mother, Prince Hamlet dispels any sympathetic feelings toward women causing him to ruin his relationship with Ophelia and leaving him lonely. In order to accurately interpret Shakespeare’s usage of a female’s role throughout his play it is imperative to consider the greater source of his ideas-his historical background. The historical period of the Elizabethan era influenced Shakespeare’s negative portrayal of women and thus, he uses the women in his play as tools in unraveling Prince Hamlet. In Hamlet, it can be noted that the patriarchal setup of society mirrors that of England during the Elizabethan era.