Hamlet And Masculinity In Hamlet, By William Shakespeare

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Hamlet and Masculinity What defines society’s portrait of a man? Perhaps it is his fighting skill, his ability to lead, or his valiency. Within the play by William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, Hamlet is a prince who struggles with his father’s death and lacks any sense of responsibility. He spends the whole play making excuses and never facing his problems head on. Eventually, he gets revenge on King Claudius, kills Laertes, and dies. Shakespeare utilizes the character Hamlet to portray the complications within society’s ideal of being a real man, as all men are different and handle situations in multiple ways. Throughout the play society’s portraits of real men are defined, such as Laertes and young Fortinbras, who are foils to Prince Hamlet. They possess something the young Danish prince does not have, a manly reputation. Hamlet shows his admiration for Fortinbras by saying: The imminent death of twenty men; That for a fantasy and trick of fame; Go to their graves like beds, fight for a plot. (4.4.60-63) Here, Hamlet is fascinated with the fact that Fortinbras would wage a battle for land that has no meaning. Fortinbras is a manly warrior and shows the ability to take action. Similarly, Laertes is known for being a good fighter, a man of action, and having the ability to lead. During the play, Laertes states, “To cut his throat i’th’ church”(4.7.98). Laertes here claims he would go as far as kill Hamlet in the church, something almost unheard of for the

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