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The Physiological Breakdown Of Hamlet Essay

888 words - 4 pages

The Physiological Breakdown of Hamlet

 
   In Shakespeare's masterpiece Hamlet, the main character, Hamlet is overcome by a physiological breakdown. Hamlet was a sensitive man who was destroyed by a corrupt environment. Hamlet's dead father, the deeds of his uncle and mother, and the frequency of death caused the destruction of Hamlet.

 

            First of all, the loss of any close family member is very traumatic. Hamlet is not immune to such effects. In the first of Hamlet's soliloquies, Hamlet cries "How weary, stale, flat and unprofitable Seem to me all the uses of this world! Fie on't! ah fie!'tis an unweeded garden, That grows to seed; things rank and gross in nature Possess it merely" (III. ii. 134-137). It is obvious that this is a window to Hamlet's tortured soul. This is only the beginning of the end for Hamlet. In Act I. Scene iv. Hamlet confronts the spirit of his dead father. This is also disturbing to Hamlet. John S. Wilks writes in J. Leeds Barroll's Shakespeare Studies how meeting the ghost of his father "...throws his conscience into doubt and error, must naturally begin with the malign source of that confusion, the Ghost" (119). Hamlet is also incensed when he learns the reason for his father's torture. Old Hamlet was murdered by his brother when he was sleeping. This leaves Old Hamlet walking in limbo for his afterlife. After learning this, Hamlet decrees "O all you host of heaven! O Earth! What else? And shall I couple hell?" (I. v. 92-93). Also knowing that his father was miserable in the afterlife weighed heavily on Hamlet's mind (Knight 20). Clearly, the death of his father and speaking to the ghost of his father started the corruption of Hamlet.

 

The deeds of his uncle and his mother are also contributing factors to the corruption of the main character. Most importantly, Hamlet's uncle Claudius is the main reason for all of Hamlet's woes. Claudius kills Hamlet's father and marries his mother. This is too much for Hamlet to take. His environment is crumbling around him. One scholar writes "Whatever is wrong is wrong with Hamlet's entire world... Not everyone is a prince in the midst of such parental decay...." (Skura 89). In act III scene iii, Claudius is praying for forgiveness. Unknowingly to Claudius, Hamlet is in the room also. Hamlet does not kill him because he wants to kill Claudius at a better time. This may be the point where Hamlet is totally consumed by revenge. Knight writes "the late joy of torturing the King's conscience still written on his face, his eye a-glitter with the...

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