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Hamlet being a university student of Wittenberg; intelligently tries like men today to justify his life, as can be seen evident of his quoting of both Aristotle and Boethius.However unable to express himself he runs rampant through his own thoughts creating elaborate wordplay and metaphors such as “get thee to a nunnery” which simultaneously means both a place of chastity as well as slang for a brothel, reflecting Hamlets confusion with female sexuality.
Then I to Hercules” by his dead father manifested symbolically in armour, “thy commandment shall live in the book of my brain”.
Hamlet becomes what he most despises most “seeming” not being.
He interrupts his own production of the Mousetrap with rude remarks and condemns Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to death using his father’s signet ring while on route to England.
An analysis of Hamlet’s character reveals that he clearly does not know what he wants, his thoughts are universally reflected by those of men today.
Prince Hamlet has been portrayed by critics such as Goethe as “unfit” for revenge, this is not the case, as previously demonstrated in an analysis of Hamlets character, it is his intelligence that undercuts his quest for vengeance, which adds to the tension that Shakespeare creates and elaborates on in each soliloquy.
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Events in the play such as in Act iii Scene iii that prevent Hamlet from killing Claudius which while viewed as merely tension building today ,have a powerful effect on the responder when viewed through the perspective of the heavily religious era of the texts composition, the fact that Shakespeare has based his revenge play not on action but thought, give it continued relevance to today’s audience as while belief in an action may deviate with time, the conscience of humanity does not, “A villain kills my father and for that, I his sole son, this same villain send to heaven” this quote when analysed shows that while the belief in a heaven may not exist in some modern responders, the idea it embodies can still be felt and empathised with by the audience.
Hamlet thinks and even decieves, as demonstrated in all his siliquae’s, and for most of the play ponders before finally taking action.
Laertes on the other hand immediately returns home at the news of his father’s death, raises a host and invades the palace before asking a question.
Manipulation can be seen within most characters from the opening act, however how the characters respond to this manipulation is what has allowed Shakespeare to pin the human condition onto his characters, by juxtaposing the two university students, the fiery tempered medieval-like Laertes and the philosophical renaissance-like Hamlet.
We can see how men react to manipulation in differing ways, as both lose their father, yet both react in opposite fashions.