Through his antithetical use of character foils, Shakespeare demonstrates the renaissance values of humanism and individual choice, which in turn critiques the traditional role played by wrath and vengeance in Elizabethan tragedies. As such, the audience witnesses that it is this examination of inaction and the inadequacy of revenge which subverts the tradition of tragedy, arousing interest and universality, thus making Hamlet a key tenant for future study. Nevertheless, the vengeance to which Hamlet takes oath seems without appropriate reason as it will not bring back his father, nor give him his love.
One way to measure Shakespeare's work, "Hamlet", is to appraise it using the methods of classical critics to see if it meets the criteria for a tragedy. Hamlet is one of the most recognizable and most often quoted tragedies in all of English literature.
Aristotle, who is concerned with the proper presentation of tragic plays and poetry, defines tragedy as: It is the above mentioned elements; character, plot and setting, used in a non-Aristotelian way, that makes Hamlet work as one of the English language's most renown tragedies.
By proper revenge, we refer to the Elizabethan view that revenge must be sought in certain cases, for the world to continue properly. This is the main plot of Hamlet.
In Poetics, Aristotle defines for us, the element of plot and shows us how he believes it must be put together. He also believes in various unities which he states are necessary for a proper tragedy. Aristotle believes in what he calls "Unity of plot" Aristotle 42 - 3.
This "Unity" leaves no room for subplots, which are crucial to the theme of Hamlet. Without the subplot of Laertes' revenge and the subplot of Fortinbras' revenge, we are left with a lugubrious play where the ending, although necessary, is pointless.
The three sub-plots together as a unit, allow us to understand what Shakespeare thought of revenge. Another of the ways Aristotle defines plot in tragedy as "The noble actions and the doings of noble persons" Aristotle By this definition, Hamlet should be a noble person, who does only noble things.
Aristotle would have objected to Hamlet's refusal to kill Claudius during prayer which forms the turning point of Hamlet. This is significant because if he were to have achieved his revenge at that point, Claudius' soul may have been clean. By waiting for the right time, Hamlet loses his chance to achieve revenge.
This ignoble act does add to the theme of proper revenge, not in the primary plot, but when all three revenge sub-plots are considered together. Aristotle also believed in heroes that are "First and foremost good Aristotle Laertes does act, but he acts rashly, and cannot perform good either.
Fortinbras is the type of hero that Aristotle would have preferred, although from Fortinbras' point of view the play is not tragic; instead it is a comedy where all of the other characters run about and in the end through no fault of his own, Fortinbras receives the kingship of Denmark.
The plot events with which Aristotle disagrees give meaning to Hamlet's theme.
Shakespeare uses the plot to help create the mood of Hamlet by incorporating subplots and by having his tragic hero do things which are particularly unheroic. Hamlet's treatment of Ophelia is particularly barbaric. By the same token Ophelia's unstinting devotion to her father, and by that, her poor treatment of Hamlet, causes us to question which of the two is not the worthier, but the least evil.
Both of their actions invoke disgust. Aristotle would have objected to Hamlet's treatment of Ophelia because of his aforementioned belief in the character attributes of the hero.
The only characters who act particularly heroic are Horatio, who is devoted to Hamlet, and Fortinbras. These two characters are the only ones who survive. The rest of the characters are left dead and bleeding. As another classical critic, Horace, wrote in Ars Poetica "I shall turn in disgust from anything of this kind that you show me Horace It is the evocation of this emotion that Aristotle would have disagreed with.
Shakespeare's character's in Hamlet illustrate the theme of the drama, however Aristotle would have disagreed with Shakespeare's choices. To understand character in terms of theme one must compare the characters. Samuel Johnson calls Hamlet "through the whole piece an instrument rather than an agent".
This is giving too much credence to the soliloquies, when Hamlet ponders, and gives too little credence to the fact that he sent Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to their deaths without hesitating, and the fact that he was the first on the pirate ship when attacked on the high seas.
It is the type of revenge that Hamlet insists on that shapes his character and forces the bloodshed at the end of the play. This contrasts with a play of which Aristotle did approve. In Oedipus the King, Sophocles has created a character who tries to do the greater good, and in doing so finds that his fate has been damned from the start.
Hamlet has the chance to do good, in this case revenge a murderer, but he lets passion sway his reason. This "madness" is what leads Hamlet astray, leads him to kill Polonius, leads Ophelia to commit suicide and leads to the carnage of the final scene. Rather than learn from experience, Hamlet follows his own will.In William Shakespeare's Hamlet, contrast plays a major role.
Characters have foils, scenes and ideas contrast each other, sometimes within the same soliloquy. One such contrast occurs in Act Five, Scene One, in the graveyard. Here, the relatively light mood in the first half is offset by the grave and somber mood in the second half.
The scene opens with two "clowns", who function as a sort of. The Juxtaposition of Hamlet Characters To completely understand how someone is, the reasoning behind their person, you have to take into account the people around them.
In William Shakespeare’s play “The Tragedy of Hamlet”, Ophelia and Laertes represent different aspects of prince Hamlets traits that further the understanding of his . Hamlet's Soliloquy: O, that this too too solid flesh would melt () Commentary Notice Shakespeare's use of juxtaposition and contrast to enhance Hamlet's feelings of contempt, disgust, and inadequacy.
"The counterpointing between things divine and things earthly or profane is apparent from the opening sentence of the soliloquy, in which. Using the essay topics below in conjunction with the list of important quotes from Hamlet by William Shakespeare at the bottom of the page, you should have no trouble connecting with the text and writing an excellent essay.
ESSAY QUESTIONS ON HAMLET Note: Some of the questions are In Hamlet Shakespeare explores the relationships between various children and their parents. He looks at the (Your answer should concentrate more on Hamlet than on Polonius.) 17 Write an essay in which you discuss what the play has to say about political power and the use and.
the application of foils in hamlet William Shakespeare's Hamlet, written during the first part of the 17th century, is an excellent demonstration of a character foil. A foil is a literary device that reveals the true nature of a character by comparing and contrasting him or her to other, usually minor, characters.