Characterization Of Hamlet

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Gandhi once said, “An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind (Gandhi).” While he had been speaking out against revenge as a whole and not Hamlet specifically, the quote fits, nonetheless. William Shakespeare’s Hamlet mainly centers around Prince Hamlet of Denmark who must create and execute a plot to murder King Claudius, his uncle and stepfather, after the potential ghost of his father reveals that Claudius is his killer. The story follows Hamlet and chronicles the effects of his decisions on those around him. Shakespeare utilizes morbid irony and shifting characterization to warn his audience that revenge leads to one becoming the person that they are trying to exact retaliation onto by chronicling Hamlet’s deteriorating…show more content…
The audience is never entirely sure of Hamlet’s mental state as he begins his, rather short, fake acting career until he accidentally murders Polonius while under the impression that he was Claudius. His senseless act of violence is highlighted by his mother’s cry of, “Oh, what a rash and bloody deed is this!” after watching her son commit cold-blooded murder right in front of her, tells the audience just how insane he had become (III.iiii.28). This is again proven by his brazen act after, declaring that Polonius was to blame for his own murder and calling the man a “wretched, rash, intruding fool” (III.iiii.32). These actions bring Hamlet’s character ever closer to becoming his uncle in that he, like his uncle, was willing to do anything, even commit murder, to get what he wanted - the throne for Claudius and Claudius’ blood for Hamlet. Shakespeare goes even further with the morbid irony by having Claudius’ son just as desperate to kill Hamlet for murdering his father as Hamlet is to kill Claudius for the exact same reason. Additionally, at the end of the story when Hamlet finally manages to kill Claudius, he dies, ironically, at the hands of Laertes - the son of Polonius whom he had killed in an effort to achieve his goal (Neill). This final scene is Shakespeare's’ way of telling the audience that Hamlet has become Claudius. Shakespeare uses the stark differences in Laertes and Hamlet to pointedly remind his audience of the type of person that Hamlet used to be and how much revenge changed him in this comparison of Hamlet to
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