In what way is Hamlet a play that teaches the reader valuable lessons of life? Paper
Q) In what way is Hamlet a play that teaches the reader valuable lessons of life? “Hamlet”, one of the most inspiring and interesting plays of Shakespeare. Shakespeare with his genius and ability to understand man and human physiology has given us a deep insight into human nature and a broader view of the characters. Shakespeare’s tragedies revolved around a person of social or intellectual status, whose life is ruined by one great tragic mistake or tragic flaw. “Hamlet” like many other Shakespearian plays reveal Shakespeare’s gift for dramatic characterization and brilliant poetic imagery.
Along with his great plot it is Shakespeare’s language techniques and most importantly his poetic language that makes his plays, “not of and age but for all time. ” Many people consider the play “Hamlet”, to be one of Shakespeare’s greatest tragedies ever written, due to the mystery factor in it and striking super natural element that impresses audience. Contemporary audiences were impressed by frightening figures or supernatural creatures like witches and ghosts. In “Hamlet” the ghost of his father adds to the mysterious-supernatural element of the play .
The story revolves around a young prince “Hamlet” , who is obsessed with trapping the culprit- his uncle- and bringing him to justice for murdering his father and hastily taking his mother away from him by marrying her. Shakespeare’s tragedies represented the suffering of characters in order to stir pity in the audience . He refers to a drama in which a heroic protagonist, who meets with an unhappy or calamitous end brought about by some fatal flaw of characters, by circumstances outside his control, or simply by destiny.
Behind each and every character’s action is a deep philosophical meaning that Shakespeare tries to convey. Hamlet may be the most complex character any playwright has ever placed onstage. Over the centuries critics have offered a multitude of explanations for Hamlet’s behavior, none of them was wholly been able to “pluck out the heart of my mystery” as Hamlet himself puts it. When audiences try to “solve” the play’s mysteries, they often look inside their own hearts and minds.
Hamlet offers a deep and some times frightening look at human nature, and its characters seem both good and evil. Our feelings for them change from scene to scene, because Shakespeare does not provide easy answers for sorting out who is innocent and who is guilty, however he makes each and every character look into his own conscience and sort out what’s right and what’s wrong. In the middle of it all stands Hamlet himself, struggling to take action in a world full of plots, doubts and dirty secrets. The tragic flaw of Hamlet is indecisiveness his is unable to take a decision .
He thinks too much and in his famous soliloquy that begins with “To be or not to be” he shows how thinking too much can make us unable to take action, ” Thus the native hue of resolution is sickl’ed over with the pale cast of thought ,”. Hamlet knows that pondering over an issue too deeply is not worth while. He is aware that this is the flaw in him but the tragedy lies in the fact that awareness does not help him overcome this flaw. As a result “Enterprises of great pitch and moment….. turn awry and lose the name of action”. Hamlet is not a man of action.
He is a highly moral character with a very deep and clear sense of right and wrong. To kill others, to harm others, does not come easily to him. After the ghost’s disclosure of how “upon my secure hour thy uncle stole/With juice of cursed hebona in a vial/ And in the porches of my ears did pour / The leperous distilment” Hamlet is horrified that his beloved father “By a brothers hand/ of life, of crown, of queen at once dispatched” and “sent to my account with all my imperfections on my head. ” In spite of this Hamlet is not able to kill his uncle though his heart is full of hatred for him.
He ponders and vacillates and is constantly full of self reproach. He knows he has no reason at all not to kill Claudius. He is “The son of a dear father murdered /prompted to my revenge by heaven and hell. ” He hits upon a feeble course of action to prove to himself that his uncle is indeed guilty. For this he arranges that the players “Play something like the murder of my father/ before mine uncle” and by observing Claudius’s looks and behavior he would get the proof he needs. Therefore he decides that “The play’s the thing/ wherein I will catch the consciousness of the king.
” “Hamlet” is a play about a worthy and noble young man who is given the task of doing something which is beyond him. Therefore he resorts to thought instead of action . Each time he delays his revenge he is filled with regret, remorse and self abasement. He even ponders whether it would be right to take his own life. “Hamlet” is a play that is deeply philosophical in content since the central character is a highly intellectual and philosophical young man. Through his soliloquy he also makes us think “Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer /the slings and arrows of outrageous sea of troubles and by opposing end them.
” Thorough the soliloquy Hamlet offers no solutions only pointers and suggestions that when we are faced with a situation that is beyond our ability to handle, death may appear as a “consummation/ devoutly to be whished” but this would only bring greater troubles because death is “The undiscovered country, from whose bourn /No traveler returns. ” Thus one of the lessons that Hamlet teaches us is that killing ourselves is no solution to “the heartache and the thousand natural shocks /that flesh is heir to. ” “Hamlet” deals with a variety of themes and one of the most significant is the love and duty of children to parents.
Shakespeare explores the theme of filial respect and love, through three sets of characters . Hamlet towards his parents, Ophelia and Polonius, and Laertes and Polonius . Hamlet feels keenly that his duty to his father is to be shown by making Claudius pay for his sins. He is torn by mental agony and conflict when he is unable to discharge this duty. He feels useless and wishes that “that this too too sullied flesh would melt /Thaw and resolve itself into a dew. ” He finds “All the uses of this world” are “weary, flat, stale and unprofitable.
” Ophelia’s relationship with her father is something of an ideal daughter -father relationship. Polonius is not a very sensitive father though he is loving, shrewd and protective. He forces Ophelia to confide in him about how Hamlet has “of late made many tenders/ of his affection to me” and how “He hath importuned me with love n honorable fashion. ” Polonius warning to his daughter to be careful is a warning to all young women of all ages and all societies that an aristocrat and a young man of the elite upper class who “Is young, /and with a larger tether may he walk / than may he given you.
” Laertes’s brotherly warning is also valid for all times when there is inequality in birth, status and position. Laertes warns his sister that as the Prince of Denmark Hamlet’s “will is not his own” for he himself is subject to his birth. ” Hamlet is to be the future king of his country and therefore in the choice of a bride “He may not, as unvalued people do, / carve for himself. For on his choice depends the safety and health of his whole estate. ” Therefore Laertes advices his only sister “keeps you in the rear of your affection / Out of the shot and danger of desire.
” Another character through whom we can learn many lessons is Polonius and through his conversation with his son Laertes we get to learn more about the way we should behave and present ourselves. The very first one out of many is when he says, ‘Give thy thought no tongue. ‘ We come to learn a great lesson from these words as any person who speaks the least is considered to a very wise person . It also indicates the attitude of a deep thinker. The way Shakespeare has proven this lesson is very fascinating, as he has personified thought by ‘giving’ it a tongue.
This can be compared to the very popular phrase, ‘to speak one’s mind. ‘ He shows us through this that it is important to conceal one’s thoughts. We also come to learn that you must never sound your thoughts and ideas, but merely stay quiet and keep your thoughts to yourself. This same message is repeated again except with an extra lesson, which is to listen more than talk. ‘Give every man thine ear, but few thy voice. Take each man’s censure, but reserve thy judgment. ‘