Read Hamlet

I Hamlet loves Ophelia. Although they are worlds apart in terms of stature, Hamlet has shown his feelings for her. He calls her “To the celestial, and my soul’s idol, the most beautified Ophelia”and “The fair Ophelia! –Nymph, in the orisons.” He writes to her, gives her gifts and spends time with her when men of Royalty know that they can get anyone they want. Polonius and Laertes know this. Laertes explains his concern that Hamlet might just be using his sister:
“For Hamlet, and the trifling of his favour,
Hold it a fashion, and a toy in blood.
A violet in the youth of primy nature,
Forward, not permanent—sweet, not lasting.
The perfume and suppliance of a minute.
No more.
I believe that Hamlet is a man that shows his love rather than tells of it. He started to change after his encounter with the ghost. His actions upon seeing Ophelia right after the ghost story tells that he is leaving her as described by Ophelia
He took me by the wrist and held me hard.
Then goes he to the length of all his arm,
And, with his other hand thus o’er his brow,
He falls to such perusal of my face
As he would draw it. Long stay’d he so.
At last, a little shaking of mine arm,
And thrice his head thus waving up and down,
He rais’d sign so piteous and profound
As it did seem to shatter all his bulk
And end his being. That done, he lets me go,
And with his head over his shoulder turn’d
He seem’d to find his way without his eyes,
For out o’doors he went without their hel.p
And to the last bended their light on me.
His actions show him giving bidding Ophelia farewell. His succeeding actions show indifference perhaps to hide his emotions of to help Ophelia get over him. He does not mention her in his soliloquy directly for he was talking in general terms. He does mention love and heartaches but such can refer to any other person. He was talking in generalities. He never did mention him after the funeral because he had other concerns more important than lamenting on loves lost. At the funeral he spoke these words:
What is he whose grief
Bears such an emphasis? Whose phrase of sorrow
Conjures the wand’ring stars, and makes them stand
Like wonder-wounded hearers? This is I,
Hamlet the Dane.
xxx
I lov’d Ophelia. Forty thousand brothers
Could not (with all their quantity of love)
Make up my sum. What wilt thou do for her?
xxx
Be buried quick with her, and so will I.
II
Hamlet is not mad. He even says:
“My pulse as doth temperately keep time
And makes as healthful music. It is not madness
That I have utt’red. Bring me to the test”
He merely acts as he is in order that his ways will not be questioned nor will it be banned or forbidden. By doing this he is within the castle walls and is able to observe the King. As they say, “it is good to keep your friends close but even better to keep your enemies closer.”When he was already making comments or observations the King was quick to make provisions to send him to England.
Hamlet had a plan but he and the audience did not expect that it will end as such. Hamlet could not express a well laid plan to the audience for he was acting as a mad man. It is a technique in writing that keeps the audience in suspense as to what are the details of his real plan is or its execution? Even now as we read it, decades after it was written we are still left thinking and speculating. I believe he was not insane as evidenced by the fact that at his death he wanted Horacio to tell his cause and that he did right. He was right.
I am dead, Horatio.
xxx That are mutes or audience to this act,
xxx Thou liv’st. report me and my cause aright
To the unsatisfied.
The need to tell others shows that he is concerned for his reputation. He even
implores the audience to tell his story. A madman would not in the least bit care.
III
Why can Hamlet be ruthless with the likes of Polonius, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern and yet he seems incapable of acting against Claudius?
There are two probable reasons why Hamlet was ruthless to Polonious, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.
The first is because these men are below him in rank. This being the case, they are no concern of his. As they say, Royalty and Servants do not mix.” But this is inconsistent with how he treats Rosencrantz and Guildenstern at the earlier part of the play. He calls them,
“My excellent good friends!
How dost thou, Guildenstern?
Ah, Rosencrantz! Good lads, how do ye both?”
Another probable reason is that Hamlet was already so engrossed in his present concerns that he cannot think beyond that. This would explain how he treated Ophelia and rest of the characters in the play. He placed his full concentration more on his mother, the King and his plan for revenge. His soliloquy tells of his struggle to give up all for his forthcoming revenge.
He cannot directly move against Claudius. But to kill a king or to bring him to justice is a monumental task. He has the court to contend with, who will all side with the king unless he has strong proof of the Kings guilt. Even his mother would not come to his side, the fact that he married his uncle the new King means that she does not suspect him of killing the king. What he needed was strong proof which he did not have. What he had was a revelation from a ghost that he admits might not even be his father,
Be thou a spirit of health or goblin damn’d
Bring with thee airs from heaven or blasts from hell,
Be thy intents wicked or charitable,
Thou com’st in such a questionable shape
That I will speak to thee

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