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Hamlet: Live By The Sword, Die By The Sword

696 words - 3 pages

Hamlet: Live by the Sword, Die by the Sword



        It is commonly said that if you play too close with the fire, you are

going to get burned.  This generally means that if you live a dangerous

lifestyle, then you will eventually falter and suffer the consequences.  In

Shakespeare's Hamlet, there are many cases where characters are killed because

they lived a murderous lifestyle.  Claudius murders his own brother and is then

murdered himself.  Laertes kills Hamlet but is killed himself before Hamlet dies.

Hamlet murders Polonius and Laertes avenges his father by killing Hamlet.  The

lives and deaths of these three individuals are inextricably interwoven.  Their

destinies are forged by the others actions.  To attempt to separate the life and

death of each separate character would be impossible because their destinies are

so closely tied together.  Each one's destiny is determined by the actions of

not only their life but also the reactions of others.


        Claudius, King Hamlet's brother, desires to have more power than he

currently has.  He devises and executes a plan to murder his brother, the king

by placing poison in the sleeping man's ear.  The king dies from the poisoning,

and Claudius exclaims that the king must have been bitten by a snake and died

from the venom.  “The serpent that did sting thy father's life now wears the

crown.” (p 29)  It is the perfect crime except that young Hamlet gets wind of

the evil deed from the ghost of his father.  Hamlet is told that the only way to

put his father's soul to rest is to right the crime that was committed.  So

Hamlet sets his sights on proving that Claudius murdered his father.  Hamlet

devises an ingenious plan to trap Claudius.  He rigs a play to portray the same

murder that Claudius commits.  “You shall see anon how the murderer gets the

love of Gonzago's wife” (p 79) Claudius is very shaken by this and stops the

play.  Later on, Hamlet is speaking to his mother and chasticizing her on her

inappropriate behavior.  Polonius, Alert's father, is listening in on the

conversation from behind a large tapestry.  When Polonius speaks, Hamlet send

his sword through the tapestry and kills the old man.  Claudius and the queen

send Hamlet...

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