Themes of Hamlet Essay

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Themes of Hamlet

The themes within the Shakespearean drama Hamlet are several. Let us discuss in this essay some of the more commonly recognized themes.

In the essay “Hamlet: His Own Falstaff,” Harold Goddard makes a statement of the two main themes of the play, namely war and revenge, relating them to the final scene:

The dead Hamlet is borne out “like a soldier” and the last rites over his body are to be the rites of war. The final word of the text is “shoot.” The last sounds we hear are a dead march and the reverberations of ordnance being shot off. The end crowns the whole. The sarcasm of fate could go no further. Hamlet, who aspired to nobler things, is treated at death as if he were the mere image
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Marchette Chute in “The Story Told in Hamlet” describes the opening scene:

For two nights in succession, just as the bell strikes the hour of one, a ghost has appeared on the battlements, a figure dressed in complete armor and with a face like that of the dead king of Denmark, Hamlet’s father. A young man named Horatio, who is a school friend of Hamlet, has been told of the apparition and cannot believe it, and one of the officers has brought him there in the night so that he can see it for himself. [. . .] Whatever the message is that has wakened the ghost, it refuses to share it with them (35).

Meanwhile Claudius is conducting some items of business: dispatching Cornelius and Voltemand to Norway to settle the Fortinbras affair, thus continuing the martial theme. Hamlet’s first soliloquy emphasizes the corruption of society and the frailty of women – an obvious reference to his mother’s hasty and incestuous marriage – another theme which echoes throughout the drama:

Must I remember? why, she would hang on him,

As if increase of appetite had grown

By what it fed on: and yet, within a month--

Let me not think on't--Frailty, thy name is woman!—(1.2)

Soon Horatio and Marcellus make contact with Hamlet and escort him to the ramparts of Elsinore. At one a.m. the ghost

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