Lack Of Power In Hamlet By William Shakespeare

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“Power does not corrupt. Fear corrupts... perhaps the fear of a loss of power” (John Steinbeck). Maybe it isn’t power that necessarily corrupts people, but the idea of having it relinquished that does. Someone in control will enjoy the power and control they possess so much that he or she will never want to lose it. Power can be very addictive, and most people who have tasted it only desire and long for more. As a result, people will do almost anything in their power to hold onto the power and control they’ve worked so hard to attain. In the play Hamlet written by Shakespeare, power is a central theme that is mentioned throughout the book. Political power, the lack of power women have, and Hamlet’s need to seek revenge and take back his father’s …show more content…

Claudius is a very powerful character who is very dominating, intelligent, and well-spoken. These three traits put together compliment his manipulative nature. As Claudius addresses the Court in the very beginning of the play, he deflects attention away from “our dear brother’s death” by focusing on the threat from Norway and what he’s done to take care of that problem (1.2.1). Although Hamlet is perceptive and quickly able to catch on to what his uncle is up to, Claudius is the one in power, therefore his orders will be obeyed. Claudius quickly removes Hamlet from the court and justifies sending him off to England by telling him “Hamlet, this deed, for thine especial safety / thou know’st our purposes” (4.3.40-50). Although Claudius won’t admit it, part of him is greatly threatened by Hamlet. He sends Hamlet away because that is much easier than dealing with him and having him threaten his …show more content…

Claudius demands his wife to “set some watch over your son” (5.1.275). Gertrude allows not only Claudius to overpower her, but Hamlet as well. Hamlet acts as the parent and lectures Gertrude to “confess yourself to heaven, repent what’s past” (3.4.149-50). As Laertes is leaving for France, he gives Ophelia advice, “best safety lies in fear” (1.3.43), although he doesn’t feel as if he needs to follow his own advice. Her father, Polonius is very upfront about her role as a woman stating that “Lord Hamlet… is young, and with a larger tedder may he walk than may be given you” (1.3.124-26). He is alluding to the fact that since she is a woman that she must accept her lesser role in society. Ophelia is aware of the fact that she has very little power, listens to his advice, and even allows him to listen in on her conversation with Hamlet by agreeing to “obey, my Lord” (1.3.136). Gertrude and Ophelia allow men to decide what their roles in society are, and accept that rather than fighting back and questioning it. If these two women stood up for themselves and challenged these men, that would only cause problems since these men take pride in their power. These men are content and comfortable with the power they’ve given themselves, and would be very bothered and somewhat fearful if any man, muchless woman questioned

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