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William Shakespeares Hamlet - Book Report/Review Example

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William Shakespeares Hamlet

The significance of the castle helps us to remember that we are dealing with characters of royalty. Other significant settings include a theater in Elsinore where Hamlet exposes Claudius for murder and the scene in the graveyard where Hamlet discovers that Ophelia is dead.
The primary theme of Hamlet is revenge followed by indecision and uncertainty as close second and third. These themes work together to create superior tension in the play. Death is also a theme in the play in that the play begins and ends with it. Everyone in the play is touched by death in some way or another and it fuels human emotion from one end of the gamut to another. Revenge is what drives the action of the play in that Hamlet is prodded by the ghost of his father to avenge his death. The ghost is persistent and while Hamlet knows what it is he should do, he encounters difficulty doing it. The theme of indecision emerges as Hamlet tried to find reason to believe the ghost is that of his father, which brings us to the theme of uncertainty. At first, Hamlet believes the ghost to be evil and calls it a "goblin damned" (Shakespeare I.iv.44); however, not long after saying this he calls the ghost, "King, father, Royal Dane" (I.iv.50). Death becomes a theme in the play and it is something that hamlet cannot escape. He meets in at the beginning of the play and is deeply affected by it. His melanholy mood causes him to wish his "sullied flesh would melt, / Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew" (I.ii.33-4). Here he is so distraught, he thinks it might be better to be dead. His attitude is also impacted by his father's death. He states, "How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable / Seem to me all the uses of the world! (I.ii.137-8). Here we can see how Hamlet's attitude is reflected in his worldview.

Hamlet is the protagonist in this play and his objective is to avenge his father's death. The ghost makes this known early in the play. He tells Hamlet to revenge his father's "foul and most unnatural murder" (I.v.1). The conflict in the play is Hamlet's inability to kill Claudius, which reinforces Hamlet's objective. Hamlet's objective is finally reached at the end of the play, signifying resolution. The ghost's reappearance only reinforces Hamlet's duty, especially after Hamlet misses an opportunity to kill Claudius. This is illustrated after Hamlet inadvertently kills Polonius and the ghost tells him that he is there to "whet thy almost blunted purpose" (III.iv.127) Claudius is the antagonist in the play. He kills King Hamlet and marries the queen just months after the funeral. He has had his eye upon the throne and does whatever it takes to keep the crown. When he recognizes Hamlet as a threat, he quickly attempts to get rid of him so his kingdom will not be threatened. He is the perfect action-oriented antagonist to foil Hamlet's inaction as protagonist.

One of the most powerful scenes in the play occurs when Hamlet is contemplating his own death. This is still rather early in the play and it reveals just how emotionally weary Hamlet has become over past events. The soliloquy is important because Hamlet knows that it wrong to commit suicide but he still entertains the thought. Another powerful scene that stands out in the play is Hamlet's conversation and eventual confrontation with Gertrude in her bedroom. Here, we see the extent of Hamlet's mental distress when he unleashes his angst upon her. He confronts her about ...Show more


William Shakespeare's play, Hamlet, takes place in Denmark. Hamlet is a prince so the setting takes place primarily in or around the castle at Elsinore. The play's opening scene is a guard platform of the castle. The first time we see Hamlet, it is in the castle…
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William Shakespeares Hamlet essay example
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