Fear and Loathing in the Shakespearian Age

Essay by Chris FlohaugHigh School, 12th gradeA-, May 1995

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When you hear the excuse, ' My environment made me do it.' You expect to hear it from

A former gang member on an early morning talk show. But to hear it from Hamlet requires a

double take. I think that Prince Hamlet was a victim of the people around him. I.E. Rosencrantz,

Guildenstern, Polonius, Laertes, Gertrude, and Claudius.

I will start off by telling you why Claudius is involved in Hamlet's destruction. The first

time is in Act I, scene 2, line's 109-117. ' You are the most immediate to the throne/ We beseech

you, bend you to remain here [In Denmark]...' Claudius says this as a test for Hamlets wisdom.

If Hamlet agrees with the king, he becomes a sitting duck for the King to kill him. But if he

leaves, then he can raise an army and overthrow Claudius.

The latter doesn't appeal to Claudius

that much. Gertrude persuades Hamlet to stay in Denmark, not for the king, but for the queen.

The queen is not an innocent bystander as well. She shows her dark side when she is

talking to Ophelia about their (Hamlet & Ophelia's) relationship, ' To my sick soul (As sins true

nature is) each toy seems prologue to some great amiss' (IV,v,17-18). She is referring towards

how she disapproves of it, for one, Ophelia's social standing. And two, if Hamlet would become

King of Denmark, he would name Ophelia Queen, thus sending Gertrude out into the street to

find a new profession.

Polonius' work is more behind the scenes than anything, he is the cheering section for the

King, and play's homewrecker with Ophelia & Hamlet, at one point Polonius says to Ophelia, '

Tender yourself...