Motivation and Irony of Situations in "Hamlet"

Essay by H0LLYW00D_HUNNi_27High School, 10th gradeA-, March 2006

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In the play "Hamlet", Hamlet's father, the king, is killed by Claudius. Claudius is the former king's brother, so as a result, he takes the throne. He also marries Hamlet's mother, the queen. Hamlet's father appears one night as a ghost and speaks to Hamlet. He tells Hamlet that Claudius murdered him and asks his son to seek revenge, by killing his murderer.

During one scene in the book, after 'Mousetrap' (a play within the play) has taken place, Hamlet is talking with his mother concerning the fact that she has married her dead husband's brother. Hamlet is devastated over this and feels he can no longer trust, not only his mother, but all women. Hamlet's mother believes Hamlet is going to murder her, so she calls for help. A man, who Hamlet believes to be Claudius, calls out from behind the curtains and Hamlet stabs him.

When Hamlet moves away the curtains, Polonius' body is revealed.

This part in the book is very ironic because Hamlet has committed an act very similar to that of Claudius'. This deed not only lowers Hamlet's expectations of himself, but makes him all the more like the murderer he is trying to punish. Not only has he killed someone's father (Ophelia and Laertes), but he has also deprived Polonius of his right to repent. Hamlet is mentally tortured concerning the fact that his father was not able to confess his sins before he died and so spends his days in purgatory and flames. Ironically, Hamlet's murder of Polonius is exactly the same; he was not able to repent. Even though Hamlet was not without sin concerning the murder, his victim was of course unintended. This chain of events brings him to...