A Passage From Hamlet Essay Research Paper — страница 2

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The audience gets the feeling that her faults are as dirty as excrements. Use of these dictions not only provide these emotional effects on the audience but also reveals Hamlet’s thought – his anger, passion, and anxiety to lead Gertrude to the right direction. In addition to Hamlet’s thought, this passage further reveals many aspects of the character Hamlet, contributing significantly to the pity and fear aroused by the whole play; his virtue produces the pity, his tragic flaw the fear. Hamlet’s virtue revealed in this passage that makes him a noble character is his moral stand, especially his honesty and hatred against Gertrude’s adultery and lust. Passages like “Mother, for love of grace, lay not that flattering unction to your soul, that not your trespass but my

madness speaks” (III, iv, 145) and “Confess yourself to heaven, repent what’s past…” (III, iv, 150) show that Hamlet denounces Gertrude’s dull sense of honesty and urges her to be honest with God, revealing that Hamlet puts importance on the virtue of honesty and loathes dishonesty. He himself practices honesty, saying “For this same lord, I do repent….I will bestow him and will answer well the death I gave him.” (III, iv, 173) He could have blamed Polonius for spying on him, but he takes the full responsibility and admits his fault; it is clear that he is very fair and just, compared to Gertrude. Another moral virtue in this passage is his hatred against the evil, or Gertrude’s adultery and lust in this passage. He openly asks her to “go not to my uncle’s

bed. Assume a virtue, if you have it no.” (III, iv, 160) For a character like Hamlet, who values morality as one of the most important virtues, Gertrude’s adultery must have been a great pain and inhumane act. These two virtues, honesty and hatred against adultery and lust, make Hamlet the noble character in this passage, and the audience feel pity for him because they regret the downfall of such moral man. However, a tragic hero should have a tragic flaw that makes him more like ordinary people, for only then the audience feels the fear that the same thing might happen to them. In this passage, the same lines that describe Hamlet’s virtues also convey his tragic flaw; “his excessive morality becomes morbidity.” His innate tragic flaw is excessive disgust for

Gertrude’s adultery and obsessive pursuit of honesty. His excessive loathing is indicated in other lines as well; “rank sweat of an enseamed bed, stew’d in corruption, honeying and making love over the nasty sty-” (III, iv, 93) “a murderer and a villain…and put it in his pocket.” (III, iv, 96) He is so enraged and concentrated on Gertrude’s immorality that the ghost has to step in to remind him of his ultimate goal of killing Claudius; “Do not forget. This visitation is but to whet thy almost blunted purpose…step between her and her fighting soul!..Speak to her Hamlet.” (III, iv, 111) This shows that Hamlet has gone off track because of his excessive disgust of Gertrude’s sin. Surprisingly, in the middle of his tragic flaw lies Hamlet’s another virtue.

Hamlet says at the end of the confrontation “I must be cruel only to be kind.” (III, iv, 179) This is an evidence that Hamlet, although extremely disappointed and enraged, still wants to help Gertrude. His manner might be too cruel and violent, but his intention is to help her to escape from immorality. It is contradictory that his obsession of morality, which is the tragic flaw that causes his death, can be another virtue. Yet because of this, the audience feels even stronger fear. When a virtue can be a flaw and a flaw can be a virtue, the confusion produces more fear. And in reality there are many people who are too moral to do anything and after all miss the point of their life, like Hamlet. Those “moral” people are so concerned with living “morally” that they

cannot do anything in the real life. This fact arouses fear among the audience who may be one of those morality-obsessed people. Both Hamlet’s virtue and tragic flaw are well revealed in this passage, and it is obvious that this is one of the most essential passages of the play in producing the feeling of pity and fear. The passage has more significant impact on the production of pity and fear when it is evaluated in the larger structure of the whole play. In the larger context, this passage serves two important purposes; it confirms and clarifies the descriptions about Hamlet’s character and thoughts made in prior passages, and answers the question “Why does Hamlet delay?” Hamlet’s honesty is already revealed in his speech “I know not ‘seems.’….” (I, ii, 76)