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Melancholy in Hamlet

Melancholy in Hamlet

Melancholy has caused many to look down on the world and themselves, driving themselves to suicide or treating their life like it has no meaning. Hamlet is a lonely and melancholic soul who doesn’t think highly of women or his own life. Melancholy forms the basis of Hamlet’s character starting with the moment he arrives in Denmark and hitting a low note when Ophelia dies. Thoughts of suicide loomed throughout the play commencing with the news of old Hamlet’s death and showing in his “To be or not to be” soliloquy. Throughout the entire play, Hamlet has various opinions and views, which show how he disrespects women, especially the one he should love the most, his mother. All of these character traits of Hamlet are well described by Shakespeare in every line spoken by Hamlet. These traits show the reader who the real Hamlet is, during the time that hamlet himself does now know who he is.

Melancholy is the first emotion we see in Hamlet. Upon his arrival in Denmark, Hamlet receives the tragic news that his father died. When he arrives, he realises that Denmark has changed in a way that doesn’t please him. ” ‘Tis an unweeded garden that grows to seed. Things rank and gross in nature possess it merely,” (I; ii; 135-137), is a reference to the changed Denmark that Hamlet has grown unfamiliar to. Melancholy is also evident when he realises that Ophelia has died. When Hamlet says ” Woo’t weep? Woo’t fight? Woo’t fast? Woo’t tear thyself? Woo’t drink up esill? Eat a crocodile? I’ll do’t. Dost thou come here to whine? To outface me with leaping in her grave? ” (V; I; 252-254), he means he would do anything to be with the woman he loves at that moment, and would ‘be buried quick with her’ (V; I; 255…

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…rs and is not afraid to say what is on his mind.

Although many have turned on the world, Hamlet is not one to give up without a fight. Hamlet indeed does have a lonely and melancholic soul, which makes him contemplate suicide and causes him to lash out at the opposite sex. Hamlet’s sadness is evident as he arrives in Denmark as well appearing when his true love, Ophelia, dies. Suicide is on his mind when situations do not go his way. Disrespecting his mother is apparent when Hamlet speaks his mind about his mother’s marriage. Hamlet has a way of mixing up his attributes with his flaws, causing himself to be indecisive about his life. He was also envious of others, when he was the one other’s could have envied. The play taught the readers that they should fight for what they believe in and not to give up until they have achieved their ultimate goal.

Horatio – Unsullied Character in Shakespeare’s Hamlet

Horatio – Unsullied Character in Hamlet

Perhaps even more innocent than Ophelia in Shakespere’s Hamlet is Horatio. This essay will treat his character in depth, including many literary critical evaluations.

Who is the play’s historian? None other than Horatio. In the first scene Horatio gives a detailed history of what has gone before regarding King Hamlet:

Our last king,

Whose image even but now appear’d to us,

Was, as you know, by Fortinbras of Norway,

Thereto prick’d on by a most emulate pride,

Dared to the combat; in which our valiant Hamlet–

For so this side of our known world esteem’d him–

Did slay this Fortinbras; who by a seal’d compact,

Well ratified by law and heraldry,

Did forfeit, with his life, all those his lands

Which he stood seized of, to the conqueror:

Against the which, a moiety competent

Was gaged by our king; which had return’d

To the inheritance of Fortinbras,

Had he been vanquisher; as, by the same covenant,

And carriage of the article design’d,

His fell to Hamlet. Now, sir, young Fortinbras,

Of unimproved mettle hot and full,

Hath in the skirts of Norway here and there

Shark’d up a list of lawless resolutes,

For food and diet, to some enterprise

That hath a stomach in’t; which is no other–

As it doth well appear unto our state–

But to recover of us, by strong hand

And terms compulsatory, those foresaid lands

So by his father lost: and this, I take it,

Is the main motive of our preparations,

The source of this our watch and the chief head

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… Press, 1992.

Shakespeare, William. The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 1995.

West, Rebecca. “A Court and World Infected by the Disease of Corruption.” Readings on Hamlet. Ed. Don Nardo. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1999. Rpt. from The Court and the Castle. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1957.

Wilkie, Brian and James Hurt. “Shakespeare.” Literature of the Western World. Ed. Brian Wilkie and James Hurt. New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., 1992.

Wright, Louis B. and Virginia A. LaMar. “Hamlet: A Man Who Thinks Before He Acts.” Readings on Hamlet. Ed. Don Nardo. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1999. Rpt. from The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. Ed. Louis B. Wright and Virginia A. LaMar. N. p.: Pocket Books, 1958.

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