The Woes of Hamlet

Essay by salkozaiHigh School, 12th gradeA, November 2014

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The Woes of Hamlet

In many a tragic play, accounts of affliction dramatically affect its main characters. The levels of grief in such characters are clearly shown to the audience or reader through prose and verse, as they are in Hamlet, along with the respective character's intent on resolving their grief through action or inaction. Sorrow is more or less a catalyst that results in even more tragedy, but Shakespeare uses gender to distinguish a character's tendency to either react violently or subtly to it. In Shakespeare's Hamlet, grief drives men into hatred, resentment and impulsive action, but inspires little of such retaliation in women, therefore polarizing the difference in temperament in both genders and showing women's superior control over emotions.

One of the chief male victims of grief is young Hamlet himself, and his mourning leads to not only to insanity and dark resentment, but also a thirst for revenge that causes the untimely deaths of several others.

Hamlet spends the entirety of the play in mourning for his late father, brooding over the quick marriage of his mother, the queen, to his uncle. His strong resentment toward his mother's for her hasty remarriage is a manifestation of the ever present grief inside him, showing in his harsh accusations against her. He spares no words as he attacked the union as "Such an act / That blurs the grace and blush of modesty... makes marriage vows / as false as dicer's oaths..." (III.iv.49-54) Hamlet utilizes this anger toward his mother as one outlet through which he expresses his grief, which seems to grow as time passes. However intense Hamlet's grief was at the beginning of the play, it took on another dimension at the revelation that King Hamlet's death was a murder by his own brother, and that...