Critical Analysis of Hamlet: Character Analysis and the Themes of Revenge and Manipulation

1849 words 8 pages
The play Hamlet is a text that despite its age and Elizabethan linguistic style is still resoundingly relevant to today’s modern audience due to its ability to move past time related contextual barriers and capture the universality of the human condition with its infinite confusion as evident in the character of Prince Hamlet, its ability to influence and manipulate as well as its reaction to such manipulation, revenge.

The character of Hamlet himself is very relatable today especially to young students, the reason that the play still thrives today is due to the universal relevance that his conflicting emotions hold for us. Hamlet being a university student of Wittenberg; intelligently tries like men today to justify his life, as can
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Our strong identification with the character of Prince Hamlet built during the various soliloquies in the play, add a level of depth to the revenge as we watch Hamlet whom originally portrays a madman, slowly actually descends into the very madness he is imitating as can be seen in his confrontation with Claudius which even after he is sure that Claudius killed his father he still show signs of madness “mother” or his loss of morality in the arrangement of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern’s deaths. All the tragedy of the play stems from revenge; this is portrayed on all levels, and only through his own destruction can the Elizabethan “chain of order” that has fuelled the revenge in the play be restored, turning the revenge play of Hamlet into a tragedy of the horrors of manipulation.

If revenge is the driving force of the tragedy of Hamlet, manipulation is certainly the catalyst that brings this darker side of humanity to the fore. In Act i Scene i the famous line “stand and unfold yourself” uttered by Francisco sets a