Research Paper On Hamlet

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Shakespeare’s hamlet is a complex play based on the royal family of Denmark. The king Hamlet dies and his wife Gertrude marries his brother Claudius Prince hamlet is not happy with the wedding and his thoughts are later confirmed when the ghost of his father tells him that he was murdered by Claudius.

Hamlet then starts to take revenge which eventually leaves everyone dead. In this essay I will be discussing act 1 scenes 4 and 5 in which the ghost appears, I will be looking at the events within the play that could be held responsible for the onset of hamlets madness or indeed his death.

I will consider both sides of the argument and acknowledge wether the appearance of the ghost was the catalyst of hamlets eventual demise. Act 1 scenes 4 starts of with horatio Marcellus and hamlet waiting impatiently for the ghost which Marcellus and horatio have seen “it then draws near the season wherein the spirit held his wont to walk” this also prove that the ghost is not just hamlets mind in a state of madness as the men witness the ghost before even notifying Hamlet.

Horatio states “Before my God, I might not this believe without the sensible and true avouch Of mine own eyes.

Research Paper Topics About Shakespeare’s Plays

Considering stagecraft I would reckon that horatio hamlet and Marcellus would be standing fairly close together whilst having the conversation.

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The atmosphere would be rather quiet and ominous and the tension would dramatically increase when the ghost enters. Horatio and Marcellus then try to stop hamlet from following the ghost “do not my lord” however hamlet is determined and explains to them that following the ghost will probably be the only way that he can know his fate and follows the ghost.

Hamlets first speech with the ghost show the doubts that exist in his mind about the nature of the ghosts apparition he says “Whither wilt thou lead me? Speak I’ll go no further. ” This shows doubt because hamlet was willing to follow the ghost to seek some guidance and answers but he’s now feeling unsure that this ghost or apparition may just be an evil spirit and therefore tells the ghost to stop as he will follow no more.

Hamlet then beckons the ghost to reveal what discord robbed his fathers peace, the ghost then tells the story of how Claudius his brother poured poison into his ears The ghost urges Hamlet to “Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder” (Act1 Scene 5 Line25) and informs him that “The serpent that did sting thy father’s life now wears his crown “(Act1 Scene5 Line 38). Considering the views of the audience at this point would be the essential difference between Catholicism and Protestantism the Catholics believe in Purgatory and Protestants do not.

The Protestant line is that if you lead a good life and have great faith in Christ’s ultimate sacrifice, a place in heaven is assured. Catholics though believe that immediately after death there is a period of purification, in Purgatory, before the deceased enters heaven. The opposing views are represented in the play by the Ghost, who comes from Purgatory and must have come back to make right the story of how he died in other words the ghost had unfinished business before he could go to heaven.

The Ghost then taunts Hamlet, telling him that it is part of every man’s honour to avenge his death. Hamlet then becomes a part of Denmark’s foulness and wretchedness when he agrees to avenge his father’s death. This is the beginning of a vicious cycle of hatred, death and revenge that destroys many lives. The ghost then departs leaving hamlet trapped in a dilemma of moral conflict and duty towards the promise he makes to his fathers ghost. Horatio and Marcellus come rushing in on the line my lord my lord! The exclamation mark used at the end of the lines by Shakespeare shows great urgency.

The ghost then cries out from under the stage, urging them to swear their secrecy. Obeying the spirit’s demands, Horatio and Marcellus pledge upon the cross of Hamlet’s sword that they will never speak a word of what they have seen and heard. Hamlet then tells them that he will pretend to be mad “these are but wild and whirling words” however Hamlet’s choice to put on an “antic disposition” leads to his downfall; it is a tragic error in judgement which destroys his relationship with Ophelia and Gertrude. Is the appearance of the ghost the catalyst for hamlets eventual demise?

Hamlet is certainly unhappy about the circumstances from before but his encounter with the ghost adds to his anguish trauma and despair, hamlets character undergoes a serious change after this meeting with his father’s ghost. However the question arises wether this is the only cause of hamlets madness which infact lead to his death. As we already know hamlets grief over the loss of his father was showing signs of consuming him. Some would argue that it was hamlets spontaneous killing of Polonius or maybe his choice of pretending to be mad actually turned him mad I feel that Hamlet has a tragic flaw in his personality and behaviour.

His flaw is that he is overly concerned with death and tragedy. This flaw or weakness in Hamlet leads him into a world of chaotic surroundings and madness. Hamlet’s flaw and his mad personality led to the death of several people, including his mother and the King of Denmark Hamlet is disheartened he ponders thoughts of suicide by his own soliloquy. “To be, or not to be; that is the question” Hamlet’s misery, or state of depression, was more easily perceived by an Elizabethan audience than would be by a modern one.

Shakespeare’s use of language generated the drama and tension in hamlet, the lack of special effects which were not available in Shakespeare times were accomplished by his use of language and the effect of writing throughout the play in form of poetry was very efficient. The meanings ideas and hamlets soliloquies were all used by Shakespeare to show hamlets isolation and despair. Shakespeare’s literary techniques and devices had a great impact on the audience; however compared to now the audience would expect more such as extraordinary devices and distinctive elements.

His use of dramatic and emotional vocabulary in Hamlet virtually all the way through arouses the audience’s attention and creates an exciting atmosphere. The phrase to be or not to be demonstrates Shakespeare’s intentions of building up an anxious and tense mood for the audience as they feel highly sympathetic towards the character. Shakespeare later uses the character of Laertes. Who is clearly a remorseless and bitter man in search for revenge for his late father’s death to build up the idea of hamlet as a victim once more.

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Research Paper On Hamlet. (2019, Dec 06). Retrieved from

Research Paper On Hamlet
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