English 12 4tH Quarter Paper 5 / 7 / 2000 There are many archetypical symbols used in hundreds of works, new and old. Some of these symbols include: war, peace, love, nature, birds, mountains, and darkness. These symbols have deep meaning which help embellish a certain work. They also help the reader to better understand the theme or plot of a work. They are used freely and abundantly in most modern and pre-modern works.
The archetypical symbol of war is used symbolically as a sense of conflict or tension. It may express disbelief, or trouble. In a sense it is used to draw the reader in close. War is never looked at as a positive thing. When we think of war, we think of violence, death, destruction, heartache, cold and bitterness. This is usually what is intended by the author. Usually peace is follows. Like any work there is a rise a climax and a fall in the plot.
War or conflict is usually the strongest in the climax and then the peace comes during the falling point.
In the play of Hamlet war is used many times as a archetype symbol.
Hamlet struggles with himself and in a way at war with himself. He shows a great deal of distress throughout the whole play.
When the ghost first appears to him, he is shocked. He does not know weather or not to believe what he is told. He is very weary about the whole situation. Hamlet constantly shows signs of tension with himself.
The famous "to be or not to be" soliloquy is a prime example of how Hamlet is at war with himself. He is so much troubled that he thinks about ending his own life. Thus showing a sign of violence. He also shows signs of madness towards Ophelia.
Hamlet does not only show signs of war towards himself but also to others.
Hamlet feeds his thirst for revenge by sneaking up on Claudius while he was trying to pray, but he doesn't kill him kill him because he does not want to send him to heaven He feels he should be banished to hell. Hamlet is also at war with his mother. He confronts his mother about her relationship with Claudius. He feels that she should not be involved with such a lustrous, murderous man, and should not engage in any sinful acts with him.
In the end of the play Hamlet then feels like he is at war with everyone. But especially against Laertes after he has discovered of the plot against him. He then commits more acts of violence and murder against Claudius and Laertes.
After Claudius was killed and his father's death had been avenged, Hamlet felt a sense of peace. Even though he knew that he was going to die he still felt he had done something for his father. The questions is would any of this had happened if he had killed Claudius while he was praying. Many lives would have been spared. His mothers, Laertes, Polonius, possibly Ophelia, and of course Hamlet himself.
As shown in this work of Literature Archetypes can be used in many forms. Not just literal forms but in deeper ways. There was no literal way in Hamlet. The only war that was occurring was that war inside of Hamlet. A war that led to the death of many. A violent one-man war that all will remember to this day.
Works Cited 1. http://www2.sunysuffolk.edu/lewiss/HamletOutline.htm 2. Hamlet, William Shakespeare 3. http://www.sfu.ca/~wwwpsyb/issues/1995/reid.htm 4. Writers Inc.