Reality Vs. Unreality In William Shakespeare's Hamlet

Decent Essays
The narrative of Hamlet tells the story of a son seeking revenge for the murder of his father, the king of Denmark. Hamlet’s uncle poisoned the king, so he could control the kingdom, he betrayed Hamlet’s father just as Hamlet’s father betrayed the father of Fortinbras, the Norwegian prince. Several themes can be traced throughout the play. Two prominent themes include the constant reinforcing of male dominance, and the question of reality vs. unreality. Women are powerless within the play because they are seen as inferior; they depend upon the help of men to clear any existing conflicts or raise them to positions of power. From the beginning of the play to the end there is heavy contrast between the concepts of reality and imagination. Not …show more content…
When speaking to those around him the king is upset about his brother’s death because he has passed, but in reality he is distressed because he killed him. If Hamlet had not enacted his revenge his uncle would have slowly descended into madness after being unable to repel his guilt, instead Hamlet descends into madness. Hamlet’s desire to successfully avenge his father’s death completely consumes him, leading him and the people around him to suffer. Had Hamlet waited, his uncle would have got his just deserts when Fortinbras came to take his throne, and he would not have had to dirty his hands. Although Hamlet manages to successfully kill his uncle and avenge his father, he dies because Laertes swipes him with his poisoned sword; his revenge lead to his death. The same is true for Laertes; he dies from a swipe of Hamlet’s poisoned sword after seeking revenge for when he killed his father, Polonius, causing his sister, Ophelia’s, madness/death. Hamlet and Laertes are killed by their uncontrollable want to assert their male …show more content…
The ghost presents believable evidence of being Hamlet’s father, but there are some hitches in his claims; one being that he mentions purgatory when Protestant churches reject the doctrine of purgatory. He encourages Hamlet to avenge him beginning Hamlet’s slow decline into madness and death. Had Hamlet been given more time and freedom to mourn without it being considered “unmanly” perhaps he would not have been influenced by this unknown spiritual figure. Women were seen as weak or inferior in 14th/15th century Europe; any act associated with weakness, such as crying, was considered feminine. Laertes grieves the death of Ophelia while criticizing the femininity of it, “It is our trick; nature her customs holds, Let shame say what it will. When these are gone, The woman will be out” (4.7.185-187). Laertes undermines the act of crying by comparing it to a cheap trick because it is inevitable. In favor of looking heroic and manly Laertes challenges Hamlet to a duel to avenge his late father and sister, but this leads to his downfall. His desire for revenge turns him into a dishonorable man fueled by rage and hatred; one swipe of Hamlet’s poisoned sword has Laertes joining his late father and sister. Laertes’ and Ophelia’s deaths could have been prevented had Laertes taken a few precious moments to grieve, and help his sister ground herself with the death of their father. Hamlet could deal with his uncle as he pleases,

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