Hamlet: Family and Hamlet’s Appearance Essay

Submitted By nscheetz
Words: 1571
Pages: 7

In the late middle ages in a city amongst Denmark, a young man named Hamlet wrestled with himself in grief and pain over his recently deceased father, who was also the king of the time. As Shakespeare’s tragedy unfolds, we can see the full extent of a young man tormented with his thoughts on death on humanity. It may seem fitting thus, for Hamlet’s own mother removed herself from the grieving and found a matched level of joy in marrying her dead husband’s brother. Finding a way to cope with the pain of his mother’s betrayal of their family, Hamlet’s subconscious plan for revenge comes to him through a ghost who haunts the halls and he is guided by this vengeance throughout the play. Hamlet’s depression from his father’s death grew tremendously as his mother, Queen Gertrude married the dead king’s brother, King Claudius. The conflict for Hamlet originally rises when the grieving for his father is not fulfilled and his mother so easily moves on to love another man. Hamlet’s world is torn apart as he encounters an internal struggle of love and hate towards his family. He very clearly loves his parents and is absolutely devastated by his father’s death. His mother, who would seemingly be the closest source and comfort in such grievous times has alternately found a giddy love with her belated husband’s brother. These marriage circumstances in and of themselves would have been a scandal for that time period, being considered a major sin against God. (Archbishop Parker’s list of rules about marriage which are included in “The Book of Common Prayer”). Hamlet, in all emotional grief, is thrown to anger at his mother for betraying their family ties and leaving him to be the last soul standing of their so recently loving family. His depression worsens as his frustration, hate, distrust, and anger take over his thoughts towards those he loves. He ultimately feels betrayed by his mother and holds anger towards the new happy couple. In all desperation, the only seemingly plausible way to put the small family pieces back together would be to firmly bring his mother back to her senses and to get rid of his uncle. At a dinner party, Queen Gertrude remarks upon Hamlet’s appearance and suggests he wear more cheerful clothes, for it is a fact that every man will die, it is time to move on. Hamlet responds tense and sarcastic, telling how his inner grief and anguish are more intense than any outward “show” (clothing, behavior, etc.). His grief was so strong that he soon hereafter contemplates suicide and wished his flesh would melt. He concluded his mother was selfish and deceitful, therefore he had no faith in the world or the people in it. This is the first step of becoming subject to his subconscious thoughts and removing himself from the advises of distrustful people around him. It was shown even shortly after as Hamlet’s good friend Horatio entered the room, as he said to see the King’s funeral. Hamlet’s immediately responded, “I pray thee, do not mock me, fellow-student; I think it was to see my mother’s wedding… The funeral baked meats Did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables” (I.ii.179-184). This statement shows both his new distrust in the people around him and his anger with his mother’s deeds. A major point in the turn of events for Hamlet’s revenge comes rise as he bears witness to a ghost and receives direction for a plan of action of revenge. Already having his father in his mind’s eye (I.ii.189), Hamlet quickly assumes the ghost to be his dead father’s spirit and follows it to hear what it has to say. Being alone in the depths of his suffering, Hamlet’s subconscious desires and plans to take vengeance upon his mother and his uncle come forth through the ghost’s mouth as though from his own deceased father. A new found murderer for an uncle is the perfect reason to start pulling his family back together. Hamlet’s own mind solved his depression and anger through constructing a plan of vengeance.