Posted: August 6th, 2013







            Hamlet is one of the best Shakespeare plays. It is also one of the famous plays in the western literature. Hamlet is a play about revenge, action and tragedy. Shakespeare combines a simple plot, deep insights in to the human situations and drama in order to develop the plot. In addition, Shakespeare also succeeds in exploring the sexual relationships in history without excluding conflict. Previously, critical attention was focused on the character of Hamlet. However, with time, the critics begun centering on other characters. Shakespeare succeeds in making these characters outstanding to the audience. However, in some of the scenes, he fails to maintain an appropriate dialogue for the various characters. In addition, he also makes Hamlet’s character more inconsistent by failing to provide an appropriate dialogue. However, despite this, Shakespeare gives the play a great plot that develops the themes and the various characters. This enables the audience to understand the play. Despite the fact that Shakespeare succeeds in developing the play, he also appears to be gender bias and ignorant in the portrayal of some characters.


Shakespeare succeeds in making the audience develop an interest in some of the minor characters. One of these characters is Ophelia. He succeeds in portraying Ophelia’s ambiguous character, which is one of the most vital factors about her. Ophelia becomes a barrier to Hamlet’s revenge and this makes Hamlet to ignore her. In turn, this makes her mad. Shakespeare incorporates a modern performance in this scene to enable Ophelia’s character portrayal. Through this, the viewers gain interest in her. She finally becomes an interesting part of the play.

Shakespeare accomplishes one of his best characterizations when he creates Hamlet’s role. He makes the audience to gain an interest in Hamlet due to his great human weaknesses (Wetmore, 12).

Hamlet’s reflection on Claudius’s guilt exposes his uncertainty. He is reluctant to kill the king who is responsible for his father’s death. This scene perfectly portrays the character. The audience can also identify the character with ease. Even after having a dream where his father tells him that the king is the person responsible for his death, Hamlet is still uncertain. Through this, Shakespeare makes the play simple to the audience since they can easily identify the main character’s personality by themselves. However, in some scenes, Hamlet fails artistically. His main weakness in the play does not to correspond with the playwright’s dialogue. Therefore, Shakespeare should have created a dialogue that is appropriate to the different characters personalities. Shakespeare fails to achieve this in the closet scene. In this scene, Hamlet approaches his mother, Queen Gertrude in a hostile and spiteful manner. The audience does not expect him to approach his mother in this way. The approach does not correspond to Hamlet’s character. This only creates confusion to the audience.

Hamlet portrays love by expression. He expresses his love for his mother in the play. Though this expression is designed to educe love to the audience, it fails to do so. This is so because Shakespeare fails to give a background for this. This feeling can only be brought out to the audience when it is accompanied by some background music. Therefore, background music could have been featured in the scene to educe the love effect. Shakespeare appears to be ignorant in this case. The failure to incorporate the background also increases the play’s inconsistency since it makes Hamlet to appear more inconsistent. This is because his feelings of love are not brought out clearly to the audience. However, despite the inconsistencies, some of the audiences are still thrilled by the play. Therefore, Shakespeare might have overseen the inconsistency aspect while writing the play. Shakespeare also succeeds in making the characters to portray the individual’s strength factor. People always fight for what they know is right. Therefore, Hamlet’s revenge is depicted as the portrayal of individual’s strength. Shakespeare perfectly portrays this factor in the characters by developing the plot in a way that shows Hamlet’s intention of revenging as the play continues (Shakespeare, Thomas, Alexander & Nicholas, 16).

Shakespeare also succeeds in portraying Hamlet as a person who is not a murderer. Despite not being a murderer, Hamlet is forced to kill Claudius who is responsible for his father’s death. This enables the audience to see that murder is not in Hamlet’s nature. With this, Shakespeare not only enables the audience to understand Hamlet’s nature, but also enhances the audience understanding of people’s negative characters. Shakespeare incorporation of Hamlet’s thoughts concerning the murder act enables the audience to see this. The audience is able to understand why Hamlet turns to someone he is not. It even takes him a long time to kill Claudius (Shakespeare, 43).

.           Shakespeare portrays Polonius as a political insider. Polonius fails due to his manipulative character. He decides to follow Claudius after Hamlet father’s death. He is confident of his manipulative tactics that lead to his downfall. He enables the audience to relate this to their political characters. Today, people like Polonius exist. Such people today are investigated and forced to resign. In addition, Shakespeare portrays the importance of Hamlet’s character through his focus on finding the truth. However, the main thing that makes him material to the story is his strength and honesty, which enables him to think wisely before acting. On the other hand, his weaknesses and misery do not make him valuable to the story. Shakespeare features the theme of politics and power by relating it to the political tension in Shakespeare’s Elizabethan England. He enables the audience to see the three kinds of leaders. The first one is the late king Hamlet who engages in theft activities after succeeding in battle. The second is King Claudius who appears corrupt, and, the third, Prince Hamlet who appears honest but indecisive.

The play also portrays a different kind of revenge as compared to the one featured in the other plays. This makes the play unique and interesting to the viewers. The plot of this play is designed in a way that makes the audience to anticipate for the revenge until the end of the play. Hamlet postpones the act, which the audience expects to see. Hamlet postpones his revenge in order to be certain on what he intend to do. This makes audience curious as the play continues. Shakespeare makes the audience to questions the existence of ghosts. They also question how a person can know facts about a murder, which has no witnesses. The play also keeps the audience in suspense since they do not know when Hamlet is going to kill Claudius. Through this, Shakespeare has managed to relate Hamlet’s indecisive character to the theme of revenge. It also relates to the human life. This is because humans are able to see how uncertain their lives can get. It takes a long time for him to avenge his father’s death (Shakespeare, 77).

Shakespeare uses the plot to develop the theme of tragedy. The plot arises from a situation where Hamlet is not responsible for the tragedies featured in the play. At the beginning, Claudius is the one responsible for the tragedies since he is responsible for murder. However, as the play progresses, Hamlet becomes responsible for the tragedy as he decides to revenge. The theme reaches a climax when he finally kills Claudius in the end of the play. His enables the audience to understand the theme. In this case, Shakespeare succeeds in revealing Hamlet’s tragic flaw that causes his downfall. This tragedy is caused by a situation in which Hamlet cannot control. Shakespeare also features ghosts, murders and madness as Hamlet tries to find the best situation to practice his revenge. This enables the viewers to gain interest in the play. In addition to this, more tension is created as the audience wait for Hamlet to kill Claudius, which he does in the end (Shakespeare &Roma, 12).

The theme of action is also featured in relation to Hamlet’s character. Shakespeare succeeds in relating his character to this theme. With this, the audience sees his inconsistency when it comes to making decisions. His actions are affected by his emotions, ethical considerations and psychological factors. He does not agree with the killing act. He also refuses to kill himself since he knows that suicide is a sin. Shakespeare also shows how his actions force him to become a different person. His actions are not only affected by his indecisive nature. However, his actions appear to be violent. He does not act in a controlled manner. The theme of action relates to his character of being uncertain. Shakespeare manages to combine and relate these factors in ways that improve the understanding of the play (Hays, 12).

Shakespeare uses a simple plot structure. This plot involves an evil act being committed and Hamlet seeks revenge in order to find comfort. Shakespeare makes the first act to be detailed and descriptive. It introduces the characters in the play. This enables the audience to be familiar with the characters in order to understand the play as it progresses. It also introduces the conflict in the play. This conflict arises when Hamlet decides to kill the king. The second, third and fourth acts develop the plot as the theme of conflict also develops. This happens as Hamlet reaches a decision on when to practice his revenge. The fifth act is the climax of the play. This is where Hamlet fulfils his revenge. Shakespeare has successfully developed the plot of the play. The plot enables the development of the play’s characters and themes. It also keeps the audience in suspense making the play more interesting (Bloom & Brett, 33).

Shakespeare features some key issues concerning women. He does this through the main character. Shakespeare portrays Hamlet’s view of women and their position in the society. His view on women is a negative one. This makes Shakespeare to appear gender bias since women are portrayed negatively through out the play. In addition to this, Hamlet has shown his anger to only women in the play. This is evident when he talks to his mother in a hostile manner. He also gets mad at Ofelia for getting on the way of his revenge. When Gertrude gets married to Claudius, Hamlet is convinced that women are untrustworthy people. Shakespeare makes women to appear as deceitful people, which is quite unfair. In addition, Shakespeare is bias when he portrays the women’s social position as a powerless one. Gertrude is forced to get married to Claudius in order to keep her status. Ophelia also becomes powerless when she realizes she cannot prevent Hamlet from avenging his father’s death. He portrays the women as people who are dependent on men and neglect the fact that most women try to be independent. This play generally undermines the women (Grady, 78).


Shakespeare succeeds in portraying the characters personalities. He also succeeds in relating the personalities to the themes. In addition to this, he also uses a simple plot that enables the development of the theme and the characters. All these factors enable the audience to understand the play. However, the play is not perfect since there are some cases of ignorance that make the play confusing and inconsistent. When the play’s dialogue fails to match with the characters, the audience becomes confused. Shakespeare also appears to be gender bias. A good play should consider all these factors in order to be successful. However, Shakespeare succeeds in making Hamlet one of his best and perfect plays that easily capture the audience’s attention.

Works cited

Bloom, Harold, and Brett Foster. Hamlet. New York: Bloom’s Literary Criticism, 2008. Print.

Grady, Hugh. Shakespeare, Machiavelli, and Montaigne: Power and Subjectivity from Richard Ii to Hamlet. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print.

Hays, Michael L. Shakespearean Tragedy as Chivalric Romance: Rethinking Macbeth, Hamlet, Othello, and King Lear. Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 2003. Print.

Shakespeare, William. Hamlet: Prince of Denmark. A Tragedy. By Mr. Wm. Shakespeare. London [The Hague: Printed for T. Johnson, 2005. Print.

Shakespeare, William, and Roma Gill. Hamlet. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007. Print.

Shakespeare, William, Thomas Hanmer, Alexander Pope, and Nicholas Rowe. Works of Shakespeare. New York: AMS Press, 2006. Print.

Wetmore, Kevin J. Revenge Drama in European Renaissance and Japanese Theater: From Hamlet to Madame Butterfly. New York, N.Y: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008. Print.





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