The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark is a tragic play written by the famous English playwright William Shakespeare, which portrays how young Prince Hamlet pursues revenge on his uncle for heartless murdering of his father and receiving succession to the throne by marrying his recently widowed mother. Prince Hamlet learns about recently deceased King Hamlet’s murder when the Ghost comes before him, asserting to be his lately departed father’s soul, who came back to demand his son to avenge his vicious death, a “foul and most unnatural murder” (I:V:1375).
Hamlet’s protagonist solemnly promises the Ghost to perform an act of revenge on his Uncle Claudius for killing his beloved father, but throughout the play Prince Hamlet continuously delays revenge for his father’s murder. People who have read or watched a play have basically seen the whole story of Hamlet’s life. Even though the tragedy takes several months, it was the period of a real transformation from a boy to a hero, who never faced with the dark size of life before. Shakespeare took few lines to describe Hamlet before his tragedy.
Hamlet was studying in the Wittenberg University that was located in France. Hamlet was a very intelligent person, he knew literature, art, he wrote poems, and he knew the rules of the stage actions. Also, like a real man in his time, Hamlet knew how to fight with the sword. Hamlet was thirty years old, even though he was old enough to know about life, it did not seem that he actually did. He had to learn about life and people in an unfavorable way. Everything happened after his Father’s death. People that were not supposed to die- died.
What made Hamlet change was a finally understanding of what kind of people were around him all the time. In Shakespeare’s play The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, Prince Hamlet’s uncertainty in nature of the Ghost prevents him from quick action, because he speculates that the Ghost may be a misleading, wicked demon persuading Hamlet to engage in sin. When Prince Hamlet confronts the Ghost, he discovers that King Hamlet was murdered by his own brother, who poured fatal poison into his ear while King Hamlet was peacefully resting in his own garden (I:V:1376-1377 ).
When Prince Hamlet finds out about the cold-hearted murder of his dear father, he guarantees the Ghost that he will seek revenge on Claudius, but does not perform his action immediately. The reader learns about Prince Hamlet’s uncertainties about the nature of Ghost, who claims to be his recently deceased father’s soul, in the second act of the play where Hamlet reveals his doubt by stating that: The spirit that I have seen May be the devil, and the devil hath power T’ assume a pleasing shape; yea, and perhaps, Out of my weakness and my melancholy,
As he is very potent with such spirits, Abuses me to damn me. (II: II: 1398) Phoebe Spinard claims that, spirits were thought by Catholics and Protestants “more likely to be evil spirits than the purgatorial or heavenly beings they claimed to be” (459). Prince Hamlet fears that the Ghost may be an evil tempter from Hell but not his father’s spirit, and induce Hamlet to commit sinful acts. Prince Hamlet fails to immediately obey the Ghost’s command to murder Claudius, because he firstly wishes to carefully examine the nature of the Ghost.
According to Aaron Landau, Prince Hamlet’s confrontation with the spirit may “expose him to either the mental danger of being drawn into madness, or the spiritual danger of being tempted into sin by a devil in disguise” (224). Prince Hamlet is highly concerned with the truthfulness of the Ghost, because “the Ghost does none of the things which a sufferer in Purgatory might be expected to do” (Dean 519). A Purgatorial spirit must not ask or advocate anything against Christian ideals and must only carry out actions that demonstrate the spirit’s devotion to God (Phoebe Spinard 459).
The Ghost serves as a threat in the play, and Prince Hamlet fears that the Ghost’s words might not be true, and be those of a Devil attempting to destroy Hamlet’s soul. According to Philip Goldstein before Prince Hamlet can murder Claudius and believe the Ghost’s claim, “he needs proof that the Ghost is not a devil trying to damn him” (75). Prince Hamlet does not immediately comply with the Ghost’s demands, because Hamlet is obligated to determine the truthfulness of the Ghost’s nature and words.
The protagonist in Shakespeare’s play The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark conducts a play, The Murder of Gonzago, and wishes to acquire sufficient evidence that confirms Claudius’s guilt. Prince Hamlet asks a group of traveling actors to perform a scene which closely resembles a moment when King Claudius murdered his recently deceased father, and if King Claudius is indeed guilty of the crime, he will react and will hopefully experience deep regret.
Before Prince Hamlet came upon this idea, he only knew about King Hamlet’s murder through the Ghost, so by having the actors perform the scene in the play, Prince Hamlet attempts to verify accuracy of the Ghost’s nature and observe his uncle’s reaction in order to see if Claudius is indeed guilty. Prince Hamlet admits that the purpose of the play is to help him “catch the conscience of the King” (II: II: 1398). The purpose of Prince Hamlet’s play-within-the-play scene becomes Hamlet’s attempt to testify the Ghost account, and his desire to cause Claudius feel lamented.
In the second scene of the play, Hamlet suggests that when people watch plays that resemble their crimes, the will react to it: “But it was-as I received it, and others, whose judgments in such matters cried in the top of mine-an excellent play, well digested in the scenes, set down with as much modesty as cunning”(II: II: 1394). Prince Hamlet strongly believes that if King Claudius is guilty, with his play The Murder of Gonzago Claudius will announce an evil act that he has committed (Aaron Landau). When the scene of the moment of murder arrives at the play, King Claudius rises and leaves the room.
According to Philip Goldstein, “Claudius’s abrupt and distraught departure from the play brings Hamlet such a joy not because the Ghost’s story has proven true but also because, in addition to confirming the story, he has roused the king’s conscience” (79). With the help of his play The Murder of Gonzago Prince Hamlet acquired proof that the Ghost indeed his father’s spirit, and confirmed that King Claudius is guilty and admits that he will “take the ghost’s word for a thousand pound” (III: II:1413).
Even after Prince Hamlet attained proof of the Ghost’s account and his uncle’s guilt, something again prevents him to avenge his father’s death by murdering Claudius. When it is over, the death of Polonius, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, Ophelia, Queen Gertrude, Laertes, King Claudius and Hamlet himself, Horatio promises to explain what happened. As he says: So shall you hear Of carnal, bloody, and unnatural acts, Of accidental judgments, casual slaughters, Of death put on by cunning and forced cause, And, in this upshot, purposes mistook
Fall’n on th’ inventors’ heads. All this can Truly deliver. (V: II: 1464) It is very accurately determines, as the events take place in the tragedy. So nobody may blame Hamlet’s slowness. No man is able to subdue their lifetime. As a playwright, a realist, Shakespeare had showed complex of causes and effects that led to the tragic end of all the protagonists of The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. At the end of the tragedy, Hamlet passes through ups and downs, and he stops being afraid of death, but does not feel indifferent about life.
When he dies and sees that hid friend, Horatio, wants to volunteer to share his death, Hamlet takes his cup of poison, and calls for his courage. Death-is the easiest way to settle down with the difficulties of life. Hamlet’s last wish was to tell people about his story: Things standing thus unknown, shall I leave behind me! If thou didst ever hold me in my heart, Absent thee from felicity awhile, And in this harsh world draw thy breath in pain To tell my story. (V: II: 1463)
It is a tragic story of the Danish prince. The tragedy of his life was the fact that he had been hit by a lot of evil and misfortune, and the soul was so sensitive that was torn from the suffering caused by them. His fate is a tragic and because of defending what is right, he died. But “Hamlet” is not a tragedy of despair in the face of evil; instead it is a tragedy of the beauty and courage of a man who could not live any other way, except in the uncompromising struggles against evil.