Tuesday, August 20, 2019
Isolation as the Root of Hamlets Torment Essay -- Essays on Shakespear
Isolation as the Root of Hamlet's Torment Does Hamlet stand alone? Does this magnate of English literature hold any bond of fellowship with those around him, or does he forge through his quandaries of indecision, inaction and retribution in solitude? Though the young Dane interacts with Shakespeare's entire slate of characters, most of his discourse lies beneath a cloud of sarcasm, double meaning and contempt. As each member of Claudius' royal court offers their thickly veiled and highly motivated speech Hamlet retreats further and further into the muddled depths of his conflict-stricken mind. Death by a father, betrayal by a mother, scorn by a lover and abhorrence by an uncle leave the hero with no place to turn, perhaps creating a sense of isolation painful enough to push him towards the brink of madness. Ã Ã Ã With the supporting cast of detractors circled around him, Claudius clearly constitutes the core of Hamlet's opposition. The king's animosity towards Hamlet spreads to the rest of his entourage in the same way that his refusal to mourn his brother's passing left only the prince in black attire and dark-eyed grief. Claudius and the others each make weakly shrouded attempts to gain Hamlet's support, but the deafening falsity of their gestures leaves little doubt about their true sentiments. The first appearance of King and nephew together begins with the disingenuous greeting, "But now, my cousin Hamlet, and my son-" (1.2, 64) to which Hamlet sardonically retorts, "A little more than kin, and less than kind!" (1.2, 65). Ã Ã Ã This initial encounter between the two men reveals a sea of mutual hostilities and as a broker of the king's will, Polonius parallels such an antagonism. The advisor's first meeting with Haml... ...is inaction. The tragic hero walks a very lonely role, and this seclusion probably deserves a mention in literature's eternal search for the roots of his torment. With words more sage than he realizes, Polonius condenses Hamlet's entire struggle into a single poignant idea: "The origin and commencement of his grief / Sprung from neglected love" (3.1, 180-181). Polonius and Laertes derail Ophelia's tenderness, and Claudius' persuasion steals the heart of Gertrude. A unanimous lack of mourning scoffs at Hamlet's deep esteem for his fallen father and even the companionship of his childhood friends succumbs to Claudius' menacing demands. The end result is a huge gulf between ally and adversary, a gulf that ultimately plummeted Hamlet to the depths of psychological torment. Works Cited: Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. Ed. David Bevington. New York: Longman,1997.
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