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The Significance Of The Players In Hamlet

935 words - 4 pages

The Significance of the Players in Hamlet

 
   Most characters in Hamlet present themselves as something other than themselves or how as we, the audience, or another character thinks they should appear.  Two of the main characters in this play, Hamlet and King Claudius, are constantly acting as something other than their true nature.    Ironically, the characters that invoke changes in Hamlet and King Claudius to reveal their real personalities are the players, merely actors themselves, not showing true emotion: (in this short analysis, I will attempt to display the truth revealed by the players) they agitate King Claudius and allow Hamlet to see their appearance as more accurate to the truth than the appearance of "real life characters," therefore triggering him to take action.  Despite their fraudulent feelings, the players play a key role in showing the audience, not to mention Hamlet and King Claudius themselves, their true emotions on a tragic situation.

 

            One of the most difficult feelings is being a teenager - as some believe Hamlet to be - and not yet understand how you are supposed to react to certain situations.  In act 2, scene 2, Hamlet sees one of the players perform a dramatic monologue to showcase his talents.  His performance is very dramatic and filled with emotion. At the end of the scene in Hamlet's soliloquy, he reveals he cannot believe that an actor can muster up more emotion about a story than he can about his real life.    "What would he do / Had he the motive and [ the cue ] for passion / That I have?  He would drown the stage with tears" { 2. 2. 540-42 }.  What if the player had on his mind what Hamlet does?  Would he kill Claudius?  Hamlet appears to conclude that indeed he would.  He sees that he should feel as powerful, if not more powerful, as the player is acting. 

 

Hamlet also sees himself as a "coward" (551), all because of the actor.  The player's speech was meant to strike emotion into a cowardly Hamlet, or the play would be going in circles because up to this point, Hamlet does not know what to do about what the ghost has told him.  It also suggests an idea to Hamlet to see if the actors can muster up emotion or guilt in the king during The Players' reenactment of King Hamlet's death.  Since his confrontation with the ghost, Hamlet has been fickle on his decision and of the ghost's credibility, but now he knows how to reveal the guilt within King Claudius and takes action due to The Players.

 

Through acts 1 and 2, the audience sees virtually no personality in King Claudius.  Only in act 3, scene 1, are we shown that maybe the King has something on his mind when he responds to a...

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