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Essay/Term paper: Growing pains

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Hamlet

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GROWING PAINS
In the epic tragedy Hamlet, by William Shakespeare, Prince Hamlet is entrapped in
a world of evil that is not of his own creation. He must oppose this evil, which permeates
his seemingly star-struck life from many angles. His dealings with his father"s eerie death
cause Hamlet to grow up fast. His family, his sweetheart, and his school friends all appear
to turn against him and to ally themselves with the evil predicament in which Hamlet finds
himself. Hamlet makes multiple attempts to avenge his father"s murder, but each fails
because his father"s murder, but each fails because his plans are marred by very human
shortcomings. It is these shortcomings that Hamlet is a symbol of ordinary humanity and
give him the room he needs to grow.
The Hamlet that Shakespeare begins to develop in Act I is a typical mortal, bowed
down by his human infirmities and by a disgust of the evils in a world which has led him to
the brink of suicide. Hamlet voices his thoughts on the issue: "O that this too too solid
flesh would melt..." (I. ii. 135). He is prevented from this drastic step only by a faith
which teaches him that God has "fix"d/ His canon "gainst self-slaughter" (I. ii. 131-2). To
Hamlet appears his dead father"s spirit, and he must continue to live in the "unweeded
garden, / That grows to seed" in order to fulfill the obligation he has to his father (I.ii.
135-6).
Making Hamlet more a story of personal growth than a dark murder mystery,
Shakespeare emphasizes the emotional, rather than the physical, obstacles that Prince must
face in accomplishing his goal. Immediately, Hamlet must determine whether the ghost
speaks the truth, and to do so he must cope with theological issues. He must settle the
moral issue of private revenge. He must learn to live in a world in which corruption could
be as near as the person who gave birth to him. He also must control the human passions
within him which are always threatening his plans. There are no more sobering issues than
these which would catalyze growth in any human.
Hamlet"s widely recognized hamartia, or tragic flaw, is his inability to make
decisions on subjects with consequences of any weight. That he is aware of his stagnation
in such situations does prove to be helpful in defeating this flaw. After passing up three
oppotuities to entrap Claudius in the third act (the nunnery scene on which the king was
eavesdropping, during The Murder of Gonzago, the scene in Gertrude"s closet), Hamlet
berates himself because of his indecisiveness: "Why (must ) I live to say "This thing"s to
do; / Sith I have cause and will and strength and means / To do"t" (IV.iv. 44-46). Hamlet
realizes that his strength and opportunity are of no avail until he feels morally right in
following through on his vengeful task. Looking towards Horatio as a model of the
Christian stoicism he needs to pull himself through the play, Hamlet comments on him: ". .
.thou hast been / As one, in suffering all, that suffers nothing, / A man that fortune"s
buffets and rewards / Hast ta"en with equal thanks. . . .Give me that man / That is not
passion"s slave, and I will wear him / I my hearts core" (III.ii. 70-79).
Hamlet must become like Horatio. He must learn that evil is a necessary part of the
harmonious order that God created. When Hamlet can become impervious to the blows
of fortune, his mission will be accomplished.
The impending dark period Hamlet must endure is represented by the sympathetic
fallacy of the state of nature in Denmark. Francisco notes, ""tis bitter cold, And I am sick
at heart" (I.i. 8-9). This readies the audience for the appearance of the ghost which will
represent the perversion of the harmonious order that Hamlet must restore.
Hamlet"s reactions to his father"s questionable death begin to reveal his
immaturity. Suffering from an unnatural grief over his father"s death, Hamlet lets his
immaturity be revealed when he says the death was "a will most incorrect to heaven" (I.ii.
129). As of now, Hamlet has a "...heart unfortified, a mind impatient, / An understanding
simple and unschool"d" ( I.ii. 96-97). He is, therefore, unable to bear the brunt of
something tragic as his father"s death. Unable to see the god in things, Hamlet views the,
world, God"s own creation, as merely a place of corruption: "How weary, stale, flat and
unprofitable, / Seem to me all the uses of tis world!" (I.ii. 133-134). It takes a mature man
to delve deeper into a particular situation to find some good, and Hamlet can find nothing.
Although continuing to be very mentally distraught, a sign of growth occurs when
Hamlet bursts into Opelia"s closet. Ophelia, in relating the scene to her father, says, "He
took me by the wrist and held me hard" ( II.i. 98). This description of the occurrence
proves that he has grown enough since the first act to realize that he needs the help of
others in order to stay strong. Hamlets short-lived relationship with Ophelia did not fare
well, and it dies sharply when he finds out she is conspiring against him. A sign of growth
occurs as he shows his willingness to accept the situation as it is. He says, "I never gave
you aught" ( III.i. 96). Not wholly mature at this point, Hamlet does revert to some
immaturity when he makes threats on many peoples" lives. Knowing of the presence of
the eavesdropping Claudius, Hamlet makes a mistake when he declares, "I say, we will
have no new marriages: those that are married already, all but one, shall live" (III.i. 153-5).
This statement only proves to make the situation more difficult to Hamlet because it gives
Claudius plausible reason to ship him to England.
Later in the play, Gertrude calls her son into her closet for what s to be a lecture to
discourage the "pranks" he had been pulling. He finally mentions to Gertrude that he
believes she had some underlying part in his father"s death. She, in turn, is astonished, "As
kill a king?" (III.iv. 30). This response corroborates the accumulating evidence of her
innocence. Due to Hamlet"s excess of passion during this scene, however, this victory is
marred by his inadvertent killing of Polonius. Now, his the importance of his mother"s
well being is heightened. His Christian concern for his mother"s salvation as opposed to
his uncles damnation shows immeasurable growth. After all, he does invoke the "soul of
Nero" to assure her safety.
At this point, Hamlet is taken to England by two of his friends turned betrayers,
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. During this trip, he seems to smother fear with his
newfound blanket of faith in God. This is a principal mark in the development of his trust
in God. He writes to Horatio of his dramatic escape from the voyage to England and has
this to say: "There"s a divinity that shapes our ends, / Rough-hew them how we will" (V.ii.
10-11). It is in this fifth act that Hamlet has fully submitted to the will of God, and this
very submission allows him to make the Final push to accomplish his goal. He is confused
no longer and feels obligated to kill Claudius when he says, "He hath killed my king and
whored my mother, / Popp"d in between the election and my hopes. . ./ To let this canker
of our nature come / In further evil" (V.ii. 64-5, 69-70)? He can now view Claudius"
death not as a sinful act of vengeance, but as a duty to the subjects of Elsinor. When
Horatio suggests that the duel that Claudius has arranged with Laertes may bring about
Hamlet"s demise, Hamlet"s reply shows he has taken on Horatio"s stoicism: "If it be now,
"tis not to come; if it be not to come, it will be now; if it be not now, yet will come:
readiness is all. . . .Let be" (V.ii. 231-5).
The ineffective schemer of the first three acts is no more. Through the tragic
events that Hamlet endures, his character has evolved into arguably his greatest asset.
Now he can put the final touches on the restoration of order which must be done to
successfully end the catastrophe in any Shakespearean tragedy. As Hamlet forces the
poisoned cup to the king"s lips, Laertes emphasizes that, in order for harmony to be
restored, evil must destroy itself: "He is justly served; / It is a poison temper"d by himself"
(V.ii. 338-9). The now fully grown Hamlet attains salvation after he is poisoned, and this
is hinted at by Horatio: "Good night, sweet prince; / And the flights of angels sing to thee
thy rest" (V.ii. 370-1).


GROWING PAINS
In the epic tragedy Hamlet, by William Shakespeare, Prince Hamlet is entrapped in
a world of evil that is not of his own creation. He must oppose this evil, which permeates
his seemingly star-struck life from many angles. His dealings with his father"s eerie death
cause Hamlet to grow up fast. His family, his sweetheart, and his school friends all appear
to turn against him and to ally themselves with the evil predicament in which Hamlet finds
himself. Hamlet makes multiple attempts to avenge his father"s murder, but each fails
because his father"s murder, but each fails because his plans are marred by very human
shortcomings. It is these shortcomings that Hamlet is a symbol of ordinary humanity and
give him the room he needs to grow.
The Hamlet that Shakespeare begins to develop in Act I is a typical mortal, bowed
down by his human infirmities and by a disgust of the evils in a world which has led him to
the brink of suicide. Hamlet voices his thoughts on the issue: "O that this too too solid
flesh would melt..." (I. ii. 135). He is prevented from this drastic step only by a faith
which teaches him that God has "fix"d/ His canon "gainst self-slaughter" (I. ii. 131-2). To
Hamlet appears his dead father"s spirit, and he must continue to live in the "unweeded
garden, / That grows to seed" in order to fulfill the obligation he has to his father (I.ii.
135-6).
Making Hamlet more a story of personal growth than a dark murder mystery,
Shakespeare emphasizes the emotional, rather than the physical, obstacles that Prince must
face in accomplishing his goal. Immediately, Hamlet must determine whether the ghost
speaks the truth, and to do so he must cope with theological issues. He must settle the
moral issue of private revenge. He must learn to live in a world in which corruption could
be as near as the person who gave birth to him. He also must control the human passions
within him which are always threatening his plans. There are no more sobering issues than
these which would catalyze growth in any human.
Hamlet"s widely recognized hamartia, or tragic flaw, is his inability to make
decisions on subjects with consequences of any weight. That he is aware of his stagnation
in such situations does prove to be helpful in defeating this flaw. After passing up thre








 

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