What Hamlet Has Changed and What We Learn From Hamlet and Hamlet the Play by William Shakespeare
Information Hamlet Learns Concerning Events in Denmark
Hamlet learns about various events in Denmark and finds out more information concerning his family, friends, reality, and appearances, balancing thoughts, loyalty, polities, and love. The new information that Hamlet learns becomes essential in his life and influences his perception and conception about various aspects in life. Hamlet realizes that Denmark is filled with corruption and is on the verge of destruction. He finds out that ruthless scheming by many people starting with the palace, and royal treason troubles Denmark.
Hamlet learns significant information concerning his family. First, he finds out that his father was murdered. His father’s ghost plays a key role in his understanding of the murder. Hamlet is informed that the apparent ghost of his father has been appearing to the palace guards (Shakespeare and Farnham 10; Act 1, Scene IV, Line 3). As such, he plans to and confronts the ghost. He realizes that his uncle, Claudius, treacherously murdered his father who was the king then. Hamlet discovers that Claudius had been crowned king after the death of his father. His actions influence the life of Hamlet throughout his return to Denmark. Additionally, Hamlet learns that his mother, Queen Gertrude, remarries Claudius after the death of his father. Prince Hamlet finds out about this union and is not intrigued by it because he perceives it to be incestuous and hasty.
Friends, Loyalty, and Balancing Thoughts and Actions
Hamlet’s discovery of the spies at the court of Denmark leads him to the learning of his friends’ betrayal. King Claudius hires Hamlet’s friends Guildenstern and Rosencrantz as one of his spies at the palace. The realization that this friends had accepted to spy on him troubles Hamlet, who questions the loyalty of his friends and people in the court of Denmark (Baldo 23; Act 3, Scene ii, Line 12). Hamlet also discovers that he had killed Polonius thinking he was Claudius spying on him and his mother. This discovery also makes him learn about balancing thoughts and action. He had been thinking of avenging his father’s death by killing Claudius. As such, his thoughts led to his actions of killing the wrong individual because of his overclouded vengeance towards Claudius.
After killing Polonius, Hamlet discovers that Ophelia, his love interest becomes infuriated by his actions. Additionally, Hamlet finds out that since the Court of Denmark had many spies, Polonius had been one of them and had been using Ophelia as a bait to reach him. He later on finds out that Ophelia dies in a suspected suicide when she falls into a river from a tree. After the death of Ophelia and Polonius, Hamlet discovers that Claudius and Laertes, Ophelia’s brother, had planned revenge on him (Shakespeare 41; Act 5, Scene IV, Line 8). He finds out that, the sword Laertes was using while the sword battle was poisoned and that Gertrude had been poisoned too from a drink (Baldo 23; Act 5, Scene iii, Line 9). The death of Ophelia also makes him learn about reality and appearances. Ophelia had been his secret love interest and reality dawns on him when he returns from England and learns of the burial of Ophelia.
Hamlet learns about the polities in the court of Denmark. He finds out that the polities are based on the decisions of a single figure in the court, the king. Hamlet learns that Claudius was behind the killing of his father to take the throne (Branagh, Barron, Christie, Crystal, Depardieu, Heston, Jacobi, Lemmon, Sewell, Williams, Winslet, Thomson, Doyle, and Shakespeare 14: Act 1, Scene i, and Line 5). His understanding of the fact that the polities were based on the decisions and power of the king only was manifested in his quest to avenge his father’s death. That is, when he tries to expose Claudius of killing his father, he ends up being exiled to England.
Reality and Experiences
Hamlet learns about his loneliness, betrayals and false friends. These factors contribute immensely to his eventual downfall. Claudius fills the court of Denmark with spies. This activity forms the reality and appearances that Prince Hamlet learns about after returning to Denmark. He realizes that the king hired spies to look for information that could link him to plots against murder. Hamlet realizes that the king was out to protect his royalty and prevent individuals at the court from the fact that he murdered his brother to take up on his position in the kingdom.
Hamlet learns that Polonius insructs Ophelia not to associate with Hamlet and insisted that he did not love her (Branagh, Barron, Christie, Crystal, Depardieu, Heston, Jacobi, Lemmon, Sewell, Williams, Winslet, Thomson, Doyle, and Shakespeare 21; Act 4, Scene IV, Line 10). After finding out about the disloyalty of her mother, Hamlet demands that she faces the truth of that disloyalty. Moreover, after finding out that Guildenstern and Rosencrantz betrayed him, he loses his trust in them. These activities show the realities that dawned on him.
Hamlet and the Character of Hamlet
Hamlet plays an integral character in the play. His character in the play depicts him as an elemental individual whose character traits can be of help to the readers. That is; readers can emulate his examples and traits in their lives to handle various situations and events in their lives. The readers can also get information from Hamlet, which they can use to guide other people through various aspects of life (Branagh, Barron, Christie, Crystal, Depardieu, Heston, Jacobi, Lemmon, Sewell, Williams, Winslet, Thomson, Doyle, and Shakespeare 24). Hamlet takes the central role in the play by depicting the immense individuality throughout the play. As readers, we can learn a lot from both the entire play of Hamlet and the character of Hamlet as well.
Lessons from Hamlet the Play
The entire play of Hamlet has significant lessons for the readers. These lessons surface in the setting and theme of the play. The themes depict the happenings in the society and the significance of these happenings to the people in the society. The themes with elemental lessons for readers include the nations as deceased body, political livelihood, and intrigue.
The Nation as a Deceased Body
Hamlet connects all the aspects of society including the health of the state and the royal family’s welfare. The initiatory stages of the play depict the sense of dread and anxiety that surrounds transfer of power from one leader to another. This sense is a reflection of the happenings that occur in the society today especially during general elections (Faulkner 27; Act 2, Scene iii, Line 2). These elections mark the beginning of a new era of leadership, which is often met with some front of opposition or resistance. As such, readers can learn that leadership transformations are elemental aspects of the society and that forceful taking of power can lead to a deceased nation.
For instance, the actions of Claudius depict him as a corrupted and wicked politician whose behavior compromises the entire of Denmark to satisfy his needs. This aspect shows that corrupt and unjust politics in a society can result in a deceased nation. That is, the vested interests of a ruler derail the progress of a society. Moreover, such leadership can lead to damages in the society when met with strong resistance or opposition. For instance, Hamlet decides to confront Claudius and avenge the death of his father. As such, it leads to tragedies in the court of Hamlet because many individuals die including Claudius, Gertrude, Ophelia, Polonius, Laertes and Hamlet himself (Faulkner 33: Act 4, Scene iii, Line 12). The death of Hamlet also suggests the consequences that individuals face in their fight for freedom. Consequently, the lesson is that a deceased nation cannot prosper.
The state of Denmark as depicted in the play is deteriorating. The death of the king leads to political turmoil in the court of Denmark. With the tension between the new king and the son of the deceased king, there are political and personal variations between the two, which affect the entire society. Guard Marcellus refers to the state of Denmark as rotten. His statement foreshadows the impending deaths the principle characters in the play (Faulkner 49; Act 3, Scene i, Line 14). As such, the lesson from that is that political livelihood of a nation is dependent upon the type of leadership that the nation has. Therefore, for a nation to be successful and have political progress, its leaders have to be liberal, firm and fair and should shun corruption and greed.
The entire play is full of occurrences depicting political intrigue in the society. The murder of the Old King Hamlet is the primal instance of such acts. However, it is hardly the only one because there are other instances depicting the same. First, Polonius spends most of his time spying on someone or something, checking on his son in Paris, eavesdropping or hiding behind the tapestries or instructing Ophelia on every detail of how she behaves. He represents the parody of politicians in the society, convinced that the only way of knowing then truth is though sneaking ways.
Claudius is also another individual with the same political aspects. He invites Fortinbras to survey and march across Denmark with a full army. He also enlists Guildenstern and Rosencrantz as his chief spies (Ornstein 15). He attempts to poison Hamlet but fails. His political ineptitude leads to the revelation of a weak Denmark under his rule. He is not a natural ruler because he has fewer interests in warm political plotting or reconnaissance (Shakespeare and Farnham 28; Act 5, Scene ii, Line 8). On the other hand, Hamlet himself is a capable politician in the play because of his acumen and penetration. The instances of political intrigue in the play is essential to the readers because it portrays the fact that there are some leaders in the society who do not deserve that power at the expense of other enabled individuals who lack opportunity to lead.
Lessons from the Character of Hamlet
The character portrayed by Hamlet in the play is essential for individuals, especially the readers. Hamlet portrays variant character traits that are essential to the society. First, Hamlet is perceptive but seems naïve due to his innate goodness. His perceptiveness enables him to recognize the betrayal that surrounds him. He also understands the reason behind the betrayal. His naivety and goodness establish a tragic flaw redeemed only by his killing of then King (Shakespeare and Jenkins 15; Act 4, Scene ii, Line 15). From this character trait of Hamlet, the readers acknowledge the significance of being perceptive in life. That is; individuals should establish their way of thinking and formulate their conceptions regarding various aspects in life. Being perceptive can enable people to deal with varying situations in their lives especially the challenging ones.
Throughout the play, Hamlet is deeply sensitive. He is too noble and good to remain in or cope with the wicked world that he finds himself. This character trait is important for many people. It assists the readers to develop attitudes such as acceptance in the changing fortunes of time. That is; they learn to be sensitive to handle every situation that comes their way, whether challenging or not. For instance, according to Prince Hamlet, the world is full of corruption (Shakespeare and Jenkins 21; Act 3, Scene IV, Line 4). He accepts the reality that there is corruption in the world and at the court of Denmark.
In order to confront the corruption in the world, he develops hate towards the individuals that make it corrupt. Moreover, his hatred towards these individuals is in the form of the vengeance that he has for them. As such, the manner in which he deals with them depicts his hatred towards them. He is sensitive because he is disturbed deeply by the hasty decision of his mother to marry Claudius (Shakespeare and Jenkins 22; Act 1, Scene iii, Line 7). His disgust with these events makes him develop a revulsion against the mechanisms of the continuance of life. His sensitive character teaches readers that it is essential to portray such character in life because it allows for the opportunity to handle the smaller details in life that have an immense impact on the lives of people.
Contemplative and Philosophical
Hamlet is contemplative and philosophical. He is drawn to the difficult questions that cannot be answered with uncertainties. Faced with the evidence of his uncle murdering his father, Hamlet develops an obsession towards proving the guilt of his uncle before acting. This trait is important for irrational and impulsive individuals in society (Shakespeare 28; Act 4, Scene i, Line 9). These people would appreciate the importance of being rational and taking time to establish facts before acting.
Hamlet held utmost reverence and respect for his father. He does not forget his father after he dies. He continues mourning his father’s death even after other people move on with their lives. His awe and respect for his father evidences itself in his comparison between his late father to Hyperion, who was a titan in the classical mythology (Shakespeare 33). The godlike perception of his father enhances this respect, especially when he compares him to Claudius. Hamlet depicts reverence for his father even though he is dead.
Some of his negative attitudes such as being impulsive when he stabs Polonius with no premeditation of who it was, teaches readers the importance of being thoughtful of their actions. Impulsive actions have severe consequences in the society (Stirling 24). For instance, the death of Polonius is an example of such consequences to the readers.
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Shakespeare, William, and Harold Jenkins. Hamlet. London: Methuen, 1982. Print.
Shakespeare, William, and Willard Farnham. Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. Baltimore: Penguin Books, 2007. Print.
Shakespeare, William. The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. Champaign: Project Gutenberg, 1990. Print.