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19 Aug
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Main themes in Hamlet

 

Main themes in Hamlet


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The theme is an overarching idea, philosophy, and belief used in the literary works by a writer to show these concepts directly or indirectly. However, in the case of Hamlet, this single idea sometimes fails to cope with the issue in the face of various interpretations. Hamlet’s themes are pervasive and yet dominant that every reader has his own opinion.

The character Hamlet is faced with a very difficult situation. In order to do the right thing in terms of justice and honor, Hamlet must revenge his father's murder. This is clear. 

Yet, avenging his father's death means acting against his own mother. This is wrong as a moral act. One cannot, morally speaking, destroy one's mother (her life, her marriage, etc.) and still claim to be acting morally. This is also clear. 

Thus, Hamlet's dilemma - to be (just) or not to be (just); to be (moral) or not to be (moral); to revenge his dead father against his living mother or to forgive his living mother and thereby wrong his dead father, leaving his honor sullied and his murder unavenged. 

 Hamlet can't stop pondering and considering the meaning of life and its eventual ending. Many questions emerge as the text progresses. What happens when you die? If you're murdered, then will you go to heaven? Do kings truly have a free pass to heaven?

In Hamlet's mind, the idea of dying isn't so bad. It's the uncertainty of the afterlife that frightens Hamlet away from suicide, even though he's obsessed with the notion.

A turning point for Hamlet occurs in the graveyard scene in Act V. Before, Hamlet has been appalled and revolted by the moral corruption of the living. Seeing Yorick's skull (someone Hamlet loved and respected) propels Hamlet's realization that death eliminates the differences between people.

The sheer number of bodies at the end of Hamlet can be misleading. Even though eight of the nine primary characters die, the question of mortality is not fully answered. The questions about death, suicide, and what comes after are left unanswered. What Hamlet presents in an exploration and discussion without a true resolution.

Hamlet's originally acts mad (crazy, not angry) to fool people into thinking he is harmless while probing his father's death and Claudius's involvement. Early on, the bumbling Polonius says "though this be madness, yet there is method int (Act II, Scene II). Polonius's assertion is ironic because he is right and wrong. Polonius falsely believes Hamlet's madness stems from Hamlet's love of Ophelia. To notice a method behind the crazy talk was impressive of Polonius.

But as the play progresses, Hamlet's behavior becomes more erratic. His acting mad seems to cause Hamlet to lose his grip on reality. The circumstances he has to manage emotionally are difficult, to say the least. Succumbing to physical violence when under extreme stress shows that Hamlet has deeper-set issues than merely acting mad. In reflection, Hamlet's choices and impulses beg the question, what gives him the right to act as such without consequences?

 

what do you think about hamlet main themes?


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