Lamenting Life's Losses
A teen's first years entering adulthood shape how he or she will view life, death, and all of the complexities tangled within these two topics. Shakespeare's 'Hamlet' exemplifies this statement and also shows the drastic changes that can occur in a person's mindset when faced with tragedy. As the monumental events currently transgressing Hamlet's moral conscious drive him to murder Polonius, a distinctive, permanent change unfolds in Hamlet's temperament in regards to his motive for seeking vengeance, fear of eternal damnation if he murders his uncle, and the way he treats those around him. The most immediate of these changes takes place directly following Polonius's murder, as Hamlet confides in his mother.
Up until this point in the play, Hamlet has shown much hate and distrust towards his mother. Hamlet insults Queen Gertrude declaring her marriage "incestuous", saying that with, "wicked speed," she got over the death of her husband and, "post / With such dexterity to incestuous sheets" (1.2.160-61). Leading right up to Polonius's murder, Hamlet wishes, "(it [was] not so) [that] you are my mother" (3.4.21) saying that he would rather not be Gertrude's son at all. Then, as Hamlet thrusts his sword into Polonius, who hides himself "behind the arras", Gertrude becomes Hamlet's mother again and his newest confidant. Hamlet finally shares his feelings about Gertrude, "[living] / In the rank sweat of an enseamèd bed / . . . and making love / Over the nasty sty" (3.4.104-06). Also, the fact that Hamlet stabs Polonius and immediately asks, "Is it the King" should speak for itself in the ears of the Queen and the reader that Hamlet trusts her enough to not care whether she knows his intentions to kill Claudius or not. Finally, Hamlet begs his mother to not reveal his "mad[ness] in craft" (3.4.210), but only to admit Hamlet's madness of the mind if anything must be brought up to Claudius at all. After killing Polonius, everything Shakespeare has done to give perspective over Hamlet's mindset changes, including Hamlet's temperament about the motive behind his vengeance.
In the beginning of the play, Hamlets speaks with his dead father's ghost, who tells him that, "The serpent that did sting thy father’s life / Now wears his crown" (1.5.46-47) and if Hamlet wants to truly avenge his father's death, he'll kill Claudius but spare his mother. Hamlet...