The Unavoidable Tragedy Essay

Submitted By wkforsm
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Pages: 7

The Unavoidable Tragedy The Tragedy of Hamlet is considered one of the most successful Shakespeare's plays and almost every educated person at least has a rough grasp on its plots and the image of Hamlet. However, probably for most readers who have carefully analyzed this tragic character, Hamlet himself is seemingly responsible for the bad ending of the play. Specifically, many people feel that the cast of his mind is so speculative, so questioning, and so contemplative that action, when it finally comes, seems almost like defeat. Nevertheless, I think no matter how Hamlet's characteristics change in this play, the tragedy is unavoidable. This essay will try to justify his seemingly mistaken behaviors and exposit his strength in chronological order, in order to clear Hamlet's stereotyped name of being a procrastinator in action and prove the inevitability of the tragedy. At the beginning of the play, before Hamlet meets the ghost and knows the truth, it is quite reasonable for him being thoughtful and suspicious. Although he suspects Claudius for murdering King Hamlet (as his first reaction to the truth the ghost reveals suggests), he can not take action without convincing reason. That is why he can only convey his dissatisfaction toward the king and his mother, being melancholic without doing anything. However, all the grief and indignation he has foreshadows the following plot that he will know the truth. After meeting the ghost and confirming what he suspects, Hamlet, instead of procrastinating, takes the initiative during the wresting with Claudius in a special way. Firstly, he “put[s] an antic disposition” to justify his bizarre but purposeful words and deeds, from which he tries to averts Claudius’s suspicion and keep the plan going smoothly(1.4. 173). Then he arranges the play "the Mouse-trap" to confirm the ghost’s words and the king’s crime. Nevertheless, some readers may think Hamlet exposes his ambition as the "bait" of the “trap" to explore the king's conscience, which accelerates Claudius's conspiracy imposing on him. In other words, Hamlet acts rashly and causes undesirable agitation. However, since it is obvious that there are great disparities in strength between the king and the prince, Hamlet needs to avoid confrontation with Claudius. In contrast, he needs to wait for a proper opportunity to defeat his rival and confirm the ghost’s words. In addition, Claudius is concerned with Hamlet's grief at first and madness later, which is certainly a sign that he has become aware of Hamlet's acts all the time according to his characterization. That is to say, the longer this situation lasts, the worse it is for Hamlet. As a result, the prince consciously startles the enemy to break the deadlock which is disadvantageous to him, compelling the king to realize the escalation of the situation and take action accordingly. Seemingly the king is the one who takes the first step and the prince belongs to the passive side, but actually it is Hamlet who first declares the war. After the play, the most debatable event in the whole story takes place: when the king is praying for his sins, Hamlet decides not to "do it pat" when he "enter [with sword drawn]"(3.3. 36). Because of this seemingly great mistake, Hamlet is widely accused of his petty mercy, or rather, his procrastination in action. It is easy to imagine that some readers who do not really understand the image of Hamlet will even assert that the loss of this remarkable opportunity leads directly to the ultimate tragedy of the whole play. It is absolutely right if they make this statement based solely on plot. In the play, Hamlet claims that he wants to kill the king when he is with "all his crimes broad blown"(3.3. 83). His excessive consideration about heaven and soul is the main reason why people interpret Hamlet as a procrastinator. However, Hamlet understands that no one will advocate a king-slayer without a motivation of justice. Specifically, he