A good play leaves the readers guessing; it must not be a simple story in which
the characters are clearly defined and easy to read. A good play needs to be read over
and over by many people, with many different inferences, in order to get a full picture
of what the author may have been thinking. A good play will leave us thinking, a play
which we can read from beginning to end without critical thought will be easier to
forget as opposed to one which we invest thought in. William Shakespeare‘s Hamlet
is considered one of the greatest plays of all time due to its dynamic characters and the
many unanswered questions about the motives of these characters. The plot takes many
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He is granted consent. Claudius asks Hamlet why he is still so grief-stricken that he
continues to wear all black. He then tells Hamlet that all men must deal with the loss
of their fathers and while it is okay to grieve for a while it is not becoming of someone
to remain in grief for so long. He also forbids him from returning to Wittenberg, where
he had been previously, and to instead live in the castle with him and his mother. This
just goes to show the kind of person Claudius is, he does not really care about Hamlet’s
feelings or wants.
Laertes prepares to leave for France before he departs he offers his sister Ophelia
advice about her love affair with Prince Hamlet. He says that his status will prevent him
from being able to have an honorable relationship with her. His father enters the room
and him some advice before he leaves for France. He tells him to act with dignity and
to not start fights but to fight boldly if the necessity arises. There is a striking contrast
between the two families represented in the play. Laertes’ father offers him advice in how
to act and encourages him to follow his heart‘s desire while Claudius, Hamlet’s “father-
uncle” if you will, tells him that he should get over his father’s death because it happens
to everyone and discourages him from continuing his education at Wittenberg. While
Polonius encourages Laertes to do what he wishes he discourages Ophelia from pursuing
her relationship with Hamlet and forbids her from seeing him.
Hamlet meets the ghost that he presumes to be his dead father. The ghost tells
Hamlet that he was murdered and that the one who murdered him now wears his crown
and Hamlet’s worst fear has been realized. His uncle murdered his father by poison in the
ear. The spirit tells Hamlet to seek revenge on Claudius for the corruption he has caused
both to his country and to his wife. Although the King wants revenge on Claudius he
does not want to see the Queen harmed because he believes that her guilty conscience
alone will be enough punishment for her. Hamlet’s meeting with his father’s ghost is the
rising action of the play.
After this meeting Hamlet refuses to tell Horatio and Marcellus what he has seen
and tells them not to tell anyone if he should pretend to be a madman. Many people
debate about whether or not Hamelt actually was crazy to an extent or if it was all an act.
Most agree that the meeting with his father’s ghost and the revelation that his uncle had
killed him in a plot to win the crown had pushed him to the edge of madness and he
played it off, perhaps so that no one would know his real motives to kill Claudius or that
he even knew Claudius did it in the first place.
The idea of revenge, a central theme, has now been introduced in the play with
King Hamlet ordering Hamlet to seek revenge on his uncle. Hamlet wants revenge on his
father’s death, as will Laertes later on in the play, and we will see the...