“Hamlet” A Turbulent Social Order Essay

1033 words - 4 pages

The “Concept of Order” during the Elizabethan Era displays that everything and everyone has a place in which they stand. The “Order” was set in place for a civilization to function progressively. Evidently, Shakespeare’s writing often related to current events during his time. Shakespeare’s Hamlet relates to the idea of the “Concept of Order” because of the recurring theme of the disorganization in social order within Hamlet. The conflicts that arise throughout Hamlet are caused by a disturbance in the “Concept of Order,” which raises the argument whether Hamlet is mad or not.
Disturbance in the “Concept of Order” within Hamlet is the first caused by the murder of King Hamlet by his brother, Claudius. The ghost of King Hamlet appears to his son, Hamlet and describes his murder as “most foul, strange, and unnatural” (I.v.28). Shakespeare uses “unnatural” to describe the disturbance of the natural social order. The death of King Hamlet disrupts the “Concept of Order” as well as the hierarchy causing disorder. The ghost of King Hamlet encourages his son, Hamlet to avenge him and in doing so says, “Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder,” (I.v.9). The ghost of King Hamlet insists Hamlet to restore the natural order.
Claudius, the brother and murderer of King Hamlet disturbs the Concept of Order by lusting for the position King Hamlet has as the King of Denmark. After the death of King Hamlet, Prince Hamlet was supposed to be the next king of Denmark. However, Prince Hamlet was robbed of that rite by his murdering uncle, Claudius. Claudius is therefore pronounced King of Denmark, which is an absolute disregard of the Concept of Order.
Furthermore, Hamlet portrays how the disturbance in order causes the gradual deterioration of a family. King Hamlet’s murder, Gertrude’s brief mourning of her deceased husband and Claudius and Gertrude’s “o’erhasty marriage” (II.ii.57) cause a familial disorder. Hamlet mourns the death of his father; whereas, Claudius’ and Gertrude’s grief is short lived and “dirge in marriage” (I.ii.12). Hamlet disapproves of how his mother was so quick to mourn the death of his father that “The funeral baked meats/Did coldly furnish forth [his] mother’s wedding” (I.ii.183-84). Hamlet refers to the haste in his Gertrude’s marriage by saying the funeral meats are served cold for the marriage- which signifies a very short passage of time. The family therefore becomes detached and separated.
As a result in Hamlet’s dementia caused by his mother’s quick marriage, he begins to contemplate the idea of suicide. Hamlet considers suicide an option to escape the grief of his fathers death and his mothers hasty marriage only if “the everlasting had not fixed/His canon ‘gainst self-slaughter” (I.ii.133-34). Order is once again disrupted because of Hamlet’s troubled and melancholic state of mind. Whether or not Hamlet feigns madness is not the question, the fact that he acts mad causes disorder among the Danish...

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