Hamlet: Characters in Hamlet and Hamlet’s Attention Essay

Submitted By paidplate
Words: 1205
Pages: 5

Dipa Patel
Ms. Fleming
English IV
20 December 2012
True or False In William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet there is a constant existence of the motif pretense. This motif is constantly seen throughout the play being used by some of the characters to achieve what they want and to hide whatever it maybe such as evil deeds or their true thoughts from each other. Nobody catches on to their pretenses being used, they act as something else on the outside and something else on the inside. The motif, pretense almost makes it seem like the characters are playing a double role. In the play Hamlet pretense is used by Claudius and Hamlet Jr. to achieve their plans and what they want. In the first act it is found out that the new King Claudius has bad intentions and he is doing pretense but nobody ever suspects him. Claudius puts on the pretense of mourning for his brother King Hamlet’s death. During the speech he says, “to bear our hearts in grief” (I.ii.3). He shows to be in grief over his brother’s death but in reality he is happy for murdering his brother to become the new King. Hamlet is amazed by the way Claudius tricked everyone to get the throne and that he loved his brother very much. At the end of the act Hamlet meets the ghost and finds out that he is his father. It is then that he is told by the ghost that Claudius is the one who murdered him with his own hands and now Hamlet has to avenge Claudius for the murder. Now Hamlet decides to, “hereafter shall think meet to put an antic disposition on” (I.v.192-193). Hamlet has sworn to act like he has neither heard anything his father has said or anything he saw. This begins Hamlets pretense of being madly in love and being insane over his father’s death. In the second act Hamlet begins his pretense for Ophelia. Ophelia runs to her father Polonius to tell him what Hamlet did. She starts believing he is madly in love with her, and her father starts to think, “this is the very ecstasy of love” (II.I.114). Their conversation about Hamlet proves that his pretense of being mad for Ophelia is working and has them convinced he is mad for her. Polonius goes and tells the King and Queen, “the very cause of Hamlet’s lunacy” (II.ii.52) is his love for Ophelia. The Queen then tells the King, “his father’s death and our (o’erhasty) marriage” (II.ii.60) may be the cause of Hamlet’s change in behavior. Now it is official that “he’s mad” (II.ii.105) but he will still be observed by his new father King Claudius to be sure this is not some pretense of his. At the end of the act Hamlet begins to plan to do a play within a play that plays out the murder of his father to observe his uncle. In the third act, Hamlet and Claudius are the only two who suspect each other’s pretense because all the other characters have been convinced that Hamlet’s madness and insanity and King Claudius’s innocence is true. Claudius and Polonius plan to hide behind the arras and have Ophelia stand in the hallway and try to get Hamlet’s attention so he will talk to her. Hamlet’s conversation with Ophelia makes Claudius think it, “was not like madness” (III.i.179). Claudius thinks Hamlet’s madness and insanity may have to do with his own guilt and he decides to send him away to England. In the second scene Hamlet begins the play, The Murder of Gonzago that will include the murder committed by Claudius acted out by the actors to catch Claudius’s reaction. After the play is over “the King rises” (III.ii.291) and leaves which reveals his guilt. Claudius is frightened by this play and starts to suspect that Hamlet may not be insane but is aware of what he has done. Claudius puts on another pretense by praying and putting on emotions for a prayer. Hamlet meets his mom Gertrude while still acting as if he is mad. He then kills Polonius thinking it is Claudius. The ghost reappears reminding Hamlet what he has to do still. Hamlet tries to tell Gertrude that there is the ghost but she thinks that “alas, he’s mad” (III.iv.121)