Hamlet Character Commentary Essay

Submitted By multiview30XS
Words: 671
Pages: 3

Justin Ko
Seibert
IB LIT II
12/12/11
Essence of Character
In his play Hamlet, Shakespeare introduces to the readers the young protagonist, Hamlet, with an intimate conflict: Hamlet’s duty of avenging the murder of his father versus his hesitant nature. As Hamlet wrestles with this dilemma, the full spectrum of his character is revealed, along with his gradual progression to what fate has assigned him to do—to kill Claudius as vengeance. The pivotal moment of this is seen in the passage of Act 3, scene 4. Due to the spur of the moment of this scene, Hamlet’s sense of revenge and passivity collide. As portrayed by the juxtapositions, imagery, diction, metaphors, this scene magnifies Hamlet’s hatred toward Claudius and his intentions to keep Gertrude from revealing his plan for vengeance. In the first stanza, the readers witness a voice of authority from Hamlet, something not seen prior. The context of this scene- the impulsive murder of Polonius by Hamlet and the sudden reappearance of the ghost—seem to have impelled Hamlet to release the bitter frustration he had been holding back. As Hamlet literally commands his mother, Queen Gertrude, a list of what not to do with Claudius, the readers can feel the rage in Hamlet’s words. Imagery seen in Hamlet’s words, such as “tempt you again to bed”, “reechy kisses”, and “paddling in your neck with his damned fingers,” creates a disgusting image of Claudius as a sex fiend. Also, the short and crisp sentence structure Hamlet uses adds an expression of assertion, a sure way of getting his sentiments of hatred across. Then, Hamlet goes on to warn Gertrude to keep silence of the truth that he is “not in madness/ but mad in craft”. He does this by illustrating a rather vulgar imagery of an ape that breaks its neck as a parallelism to what would happen to her if she were to do so. Ultimately he is trying to emerge a sense of guilt into Gertrude so she feels no need to try and stop Hamlet of his revenge. However, Hamlet’s second stanza is a direct juxtaposition of the first. Hamlet suddenly brings up the issue of his future trip to England, drastically changing the subject matter and the tone of the passage. The coarseness of the words used is simmered down and the sentence structures are back to normal, like a casual speech. The former Hamlet seems to have returned; future-oriented yet reluctant to action. Instead of the previous aggressive tone, he uses words as “sweep my way” and “marshal me to knavery” as if he…