Hamlet Entrapment Analysis

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In the world today, the most common physical form of entrapment is prison. However, Hamlet, written by William Shakespeare, oozes another form of entrapment, which is not physical, but mental and emotional: the prison known as the human mind itself. The play itself highlights themes of entrapment through the riveting internal conflict of Hamlet versus Hamlet, and the progression of key events that happened not only to Hamlet himself, but also to the people involved in Hamlet’s life. Hamlet cleverly weaves the truth that the mind is a trap throughout the entirety of the play, especially through the beginning, with the exposition of the situation of Hamlet’s insane family life and his mental illness, through the climax, with an accidental murder,…show more content…
In late Act II, Hamlet is beginning to approach the climax of the play as he makes realizations about the state of Denmark, and the state of his mind. He voices a few of those feelings when he says to his friends Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, “Denmark is a prison” (II, ii). Hamlet calls Denmark a prison because he feels as if everyone is turning against him, and everyone is watching him, similar to how prisoners are watched in a prison, and he says that Denmark is the worst of the prisons, strictly because there is no one he can trust, not even his friends. In a previous conversation, this time with Polonius, he makes a reference to his mental state and informs Polonius that he could not take anything from Hamlet that he cares less about, except his life. This shows an advancement of his mental illness, where he is struggling to care whether he lives or dies. As Hamlet reaches the climax of the play, his entrapment comes in the form of malevolence towards Claudius in Act III, scene iv. This is when Hamlet stabs Polonius through the curtain, and then voices how he will fully commit to violent actions against the king, after the Ghost tells Hamlet again to do what he has been told. “I do repent; but heaven hath pleased it so, to punish me with this, and this with me, that I must be their…show more content…
The foil character introduced is that of Fortinbras. The two could definitely be seen as very similar to each other, since they are both avenging their fathers, but in fact, the reality is that a closer look reveals the signs of the things that set them apart from each other. When the character of Fortinbras is mentioned in Act IV, Scene ii, Hamlet is quick to point out his shortcomings, such as the fact that he was willing to go to excessively large lenghths to avenge his father’s death, even if it meant wasting many lives and troops for a seemingly worthless cause. However, when Hamlet finds a moment alone, he puts his own feelings into words and confesses how he truly sees the situation, which he does after nearly every altercation that is thrown his way. This does not just show that Hamlet is crazy for always talking to himself; it shows that Hamlet is his own confidant. Hamlet realizes there is no one left to trust but himself, which explains why he only speaks his innermost thoughts and feelings in the confines of privacy. Concerning the Fortinbras situation, Hamlet realizes how Fortinbras is doing something he is too much of a coward to do: actually follow through with a vow to avnge the death of his father. The words spoken from Hamlet himself sum it up perfectly, “How all occasions do inform against me, and

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