Humankind’s quest for meaning

Posted: November 30th, 2013





Humankind’s quest for meaning

            The quest for meaning in a human being’s life is evident when one has a burning issue that forces them to act out. In William Shakespeare play, “Hamlet” the protagonist sets out to seek revenge for his father’s death. Prince Hamlet learns of his father’s death through the ghost of his father. His quest for revenge for his father’s death is his way of honoring his father’s memory. Through Prince Hamlet, different themes are brought out in the play. This proves that there is no love like a son’s love for his father. Hamlet goes through many challenges to achieve his ultimate goal. The quest contributes to the meaning, as through it, Prince Hamlet shows loyalty to his father. He seeks to protect his father’s memory by avenging his death.

Prince Hamlet is distraught about his father’s premature death, and the fact that his mother was married again almost immediately after his father’s demise, does not help the situation. He is unhappy with the union, and even claims that the cookies and punch served at his mother’s wedding were left over’s from his father’s funeral. He says this after a family gathering to show his disapproval of the marriage, “O! That this too solid flesh would melt, Thaw and resolve itself into a dew! Or that the Everlasting had not fix’d His canon ‘gainst self-slaughter! O God! God! How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable seem to me all the uses of this world” (Act II scene II).

When he learns that his father was murdered by his uncle King Claudius (elected after his father’s death), he sets out an elaborate plan to prove it was Claudius, who murdered his father. He learns of the murder from his father’s ghost. His friend Horatio sees this ghost when he is called in to confirm whether it was a ghost being seen at the castle by soldiers at night. After he sees his father’s ghost, this is how he reacts, “GHOST. Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder. HAMLET Murder! GHOST Murder most foul, as in the best it is; But this most foul, strange and unnatural. HAMLET Haste me to know’t, that I, with wings as swift as meditation or the thoughts of love, May sweep to my revenge” (Act I scene IV).

He seems as if he has an internal conflict with himself as he decides what he wants to do. Though he is faced with many challenges, he does not falter but goes ahead with his plan once he decided to go ahead with his revenge. He is seen to be cautious as he takes his time before killing Claudius in the final scene. He does this so that he can be sure he was the killer and so that he can prove to the people that Claudius was indeed the murderer. The meaning of this play was to show themes of greed, murder, disloyalty and others. Thanks to Prince Hamlet’s quest all, these themes are brought out. Had Hamlet decided not to go through with his quest, none of these themes would have been highlighted.

From the play, Prince Hamlet avenges his father’s death. The audience learns of his quest driven by his father’s death showing his loyalty to his father. Though the play ends in a blood bath as so many of the characters die including Prince Hamlet himself, in the end, he brings out his quest for meaning, in life, to show his undying love and loyalty for his father. Everyone gets to learn about Claudius’ greed and treason through Horatio.


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