It is no coincidence that both the Player King and Fortinbras are pursuing stupid, vaingoals.What is Shakespeare trying to tell us?Hamlet's "revenge" isn't so much simply the killingof the king, as it is the purging of all the rottenness in the Danish court.
Now, when Hamlet expresses regrets that he's not completed his revenge, he compares himself unfavorably to the PlayerKing (who has just recited a ridiculous, bombastic speech)and to Fortinbras (who is getting thousands of people killed forno good reason at all -- I first became interested in Shakespeareduring the Vietnam war).
Hamlet's actions towards his former friends lacked both respect (in that he caused them harm unnecessarily) and caring (in that he didn't forgive them).
7. Who acts more unethically toward the other, Hamlet or Laertes?
These considerations may affect the by which Hamlet violated moral precepts, his eligibility for forgiveness, and the extent of his punishment if called to account in a court of law.
Somebody will ask you to say that Hamlet is a very bad person for wanting to wait for his revenge until the king is more likely to end up going to hell.
(You may not agree with everything they decide.)As you read the play, watch how Hamlet -- who starts by wishing he was dead -- comes to terms with life, keeps his integrity, andstrikes back successfully at what's wrong around him.
So far as I know, it's the first time this theme -- now so common -- appeared in world literature.Hamlet, our hero, is the son of the previous king of Denmark,also named Hamlet ("Old Hamlet", "Hamlet Senior" as we'd say),who has died less than two months ago.
(Shakespeare and the other characters just call him "King".)Hamlet's mother, Gertrude, married Claudius within lessthan a month.Old Hamlet died during his after-lunch napin his garden.
This passage seems to contradict the critical law that what is told, makes a faint impression compared with what is beholden; for it does indeed convey to the mind more than the eye can see; whilst the interruption of the narrative at the very moment when we are most intensely listening for the sequel, and have our thoughts diverted from the dreaded sight in expectation of the .desired, yet almost dreaded, talethis gives all the suddenness and surprise of the original appearance;
Hamlet opens his mouth with a playing on words, the complete absence of which throughout characterizes Macbeth. This playing on words may be attributed to many causes or motives, as either to an exuberant activity of mind, as in the higher comedy of Shakspeare generally; or to an imitation of it as a mere fashion, as if it were said'Is not this better than groaning?'or to a contemptuous exultation in minds vulgarized and overset by their success, as in the poetic instance of Milton's Devils in the battle;or it is the language of resentment, as is familiar to every one who has witnessed the quarrels of the lower orders, where there is invariably a profusion of punning invective, whence, perhaps, nicknames have in a considerable degree sprung up;or it is the language of suppressed passion, and especially of a hardly smothered personal, dislike. The first and last of these combine in Hamlet's case; and I have little doubt that Farmer is right in supposing the equivocation carried on in the expression 'too much i' the sun,' or son.
Here observe Hamlet's delicacy to his mother, and how the suppression prepares him for the overflow in the next speech, in which his" character is more developed by bringing forward his aversion to externals, and which betrays his habit of brooding over the world within him, coupled with a prodigality of beautiful words, which are the half embodyings of thought, and are more than thought, and have an outness, a reality sui generis, and yet retain their correspondence and shadowy affinity to the images and movements within. Note also Hamlet's silence to the long speech of the king which follows, and his respectful. but general, answer to his mother.
Not knowing the sword is poisoned, Hamlet begins to use it and pricks Laertes.) The unintended consequence of Laertes' act of revenge is his own death.
Shakspeare never introduces a catalectic line without intending an equivalent to the foot omitted in the pauses, or the dwelling emphasis, or the diffused retardation. I do not, however, deny that a good actor might by employing the last mentioned means, namely, the retardation, or solemn knowing drawl, supply the missing spondee with good effect. But I do not believe that in this or any other of the foregoing speeches of Polonius, Shakspeare meant to bring out the senility or weakness of that personage's mind. In the great ever-recurring dangers and duties of life, where to distinguish the fit objects for the application of the maxims collected by the experience of a long life, requires no fineness of tact, as in the admonitions to his son and daughter, Polonius is uniformly made respectable. But if an actor were even capable of catching these shades in the character, the pit and the gallery would be malcontent at their exhibition. It is to Hamlet that Polonius is, and is meant to be, contemptible, because in inwardness and uncontrollable activity of movement, Hamlet's mind is the logical contrary to that of Polonius, and besides, as I have observed before. Hamlet dislikes the man as false to his true allegiance in the matter of the succession to the crown.