Think V Act In Shakespeare — страница 2

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exemplifies Hamlet s ability to twist reality and approach it indirectly and enigmatically. Self protection is likely the root of Hamlet s inability to act and reason under the facade of madness. Madness allows him to strike back at Ophelia for her denial of him and subsequent obedience to her father. “By focusing his anger at a single individual with which he himself had conflict and vested interest in, the perfect cycle of revenge is played to its fullest,” (Reed 182). In addition, all actions done while mad are easily excused as unfortunate responses of an individual under extreme personal duress. “This is a clear classic example of the reappearing theme of appearance verses reality. Hamlet plays his cards perfectly and so the facade is believable.” (185) Madness

allows him to see quasi-results of his actions, though still blind to the fact that his ultimate goal is untended. Madness causes reaction, but brings Hamlet no closer to avenging his father s murder. “The plays the thing wherein I ll catch the conscience of the King,” proclaims Hamlet, yet he takes no action to extend upon this duty on behalf of his father (2.2.633-34). This puzzling delay has lead critics to question the possible personal gain with which Hamlet could weigh the task before him. “Revenge could not bring him any closer to Ophelia or to regaining his father. Hamlet could only loose, his mother, his crown, and his life,” (Detmold 26). Perhaps if he saw the personal attraction to avenging his father s murder earlier in the play, his actions would have been

more decisive. In theory, non-action calculates as decreased loss on Hamlet s part. By failing to kill Claudius, grief is the only negative aftereffect. Dreams of clean cut action are more easily constructed when oneself is not at stake. Through self protective reasoning, Hamlet is able to justify inaction as a logical form of action. Justification for the altered play rests in verification of guilt. Hamlet instructs Horatio to keep a keen eye on the King during the play s performance: “Observe my uncle. If his occulted guilt do not itself unkennel in one speech, it is a damned ghost that we have seen, and my imaginations are foul Give him heedful note and , after, we will both our judgment join in censure of his seeming,” (3.2.85-92). However, even once the guilty reaction

has been established, Hamlet is able to justify his slow inaction as simply a matter of process. As fate would have it, the instant he decides to respond to his father s murdered cry, he discovers the helpless King kneeling in prayer. For fear that the King might ascend to heaven with the blow of his sword, Hamlet falters once again is no further for the action. “And am I then revenged to take him in the purging of his soul, when he is fit and seasoned for his passage? No,” he reasons (3.3.89-92). Yet the action Hamlet does take, mainly toward the finale of the play, is sporadic and compulsive. The audience is offered glimpses of this trait with the arrival of the ghost. The typically passive Hamlet proclaims of the ghost, “I ll speak to it, though hell itself should gape

and bid me hold by peace,” (1.2.266-67). While conversing with the ghost he begs permission to be speedy in his revenge, “Haste me to know t, that I, with wings as swift as thoughts of love, may sweep to my revenge,” (1.5.35-37). It is all or nothing with Hamlet as the next several acts prove. When he finally has enough of inaction, his course is brash and violent, as is the murder of Polonius. As the play draws to a close, Hamlet s actions become fatalistic. He realizes that he must be willing to put his own life in jeopardy in order to fully enact revenge upon Claudius. “There is a special providence in the fall of a sparrow. If it be (not,) tis not to come; if it be not to come, it will be now; if it be not now, yet it (will) come. The readiness is all. Since no man of

aught he leaves knows, what is t to leave betimes? Let be,” (5.2.233-36). Hamlet is suddenly willing to take ill weighed chances, such as the fencing match with Laertes, against his better judgment. The most clear example of compulsion comes in the last scene where in attempts to make up for lost time and fervor, Hamlet kills Claudius not once by “venomed point”, but twice, by cup as well. “Here, thou incestuous, (murd rous,) damned Dane, drink off this potion. Is (thy union)here? Follow my mother,” (5.2.356-58). “Hamlet attempts to reclaim what honor he has remaining when he realizes the folly of his elaborate delay. He is thus compulsive, not by nature but by necessity, to act and act swiftly,” (Hapgood 342). Ruled by thought when course allows, and blind rage