An Instrument of life; Hamlet's contribution to the play

Essay by Philip THigh School, 12th grade November 1996

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Samuel Johnson writes 'Hamlet is through the piece rather an instrument than an agent.' This statement is true, it is exhibited in several ways. The manner in which Hamlet's father manifests himself is an indication of his true intentions. Hamlet acts as an earthly means of revenge, he is the output for actions directed by a mortal being. Inner weakness has riddled Hamlet's life, it runs rampant in his decisions, or lack of, and has plagued his fate. His inability to overcome insecurity, procrastination, and an over analytical mind contribute, overwhelmingly, to his downfall. Hamlet allows negative character attributes to steer his life, the point being, He is an instrument of his own indecision, which spawned from flaws within his character. Establishing Hamlet's sanity is a difficult task. It's stability in his life is questionable, but his contemplation of madness has left him vulnerable to its control. This control has led Hamlet to act outside of character and in an extremely peculiar fashion.

Hamlet is an instrument of his father, his own self, and of sanity.

The appearances of the Ghost, although sporadic, do not come without meaning. Hamlet Senior, arguably, is one of Shakespeare's finest creations. The character was molded using the Elizabethan view on death and apparitions. Such belief stated hauntings had a communication value that was used to seek resolve in unfinished business. The basis for Hamlet Senior's untimely visits should be sought. 'Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder.' (Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. United kingdom: Longman Group UK Limited, 1995. Act One, Scene Five, ll 29.) The above quotation provides insight into the Ghost's purpose. Hamlet is a device that is readily available for use, he is the bridge between death, vengeance, and reality. Hamlet had been already effected by the marriage of his Uncle,