Monday, November 5, 2012

Poor Hamlet


After reading Act I of Hamlet, I felt sympathy for Hamlet. Hamlet has many crosses to bear dealing with his dysfunctional family. Hamlet reveals the sadness he feels for his father's death and the shame of his mother's hasty marriage to his uncle. His father's death is difficult for him as he is badgered by his mother to accept Claudius. Claudius also makes the situation difficult as he chastises Hamlet for his sullen behavior stating “In obstinate condolement is a course/Of impious stubbornness, 'tis unmanly grief/ It shows a will most incorrect to heaven” (1.2.93-95). Claudius seems to want to make Hamlet feel guilty for his behavior rather than to offer sympathy or even remorse for his own actions.

Hamlet must deal with the embarrassment of his mother being with his uncle which I'm not sure is so odd for the time especially as we have seen some interesting unions between couples in the plays we have read so far. In Hamlet, the thought of the mother and uncle is so unimaginable to Hamlet that he really doesn't know how to deal with it. He remarks “But two months dead—nay, not so much, not two--” (1.2.138) and “She married. O most wicked speed, to post/With such dexterity to incestuous sheets!” (1.2.156-157). Both of his comments reveal the shame feels for his mother's actions because she didn't even give his father's death the respect it deserved. Hamlet is so full of questions regarding his mother especially because her loyalties have shifted away from his father and even him in so quickly. I wonder why she married the uncle so quickly too. Was it a secret affair or did she just want to keep a title? I guess I will see if it is revealed as I continue to read the play.

I find Hamlet to be a dynamic character with many layers of emotions. He definitely has a score to settle for all he has to endure. As he meets the ghost of his father it adds another layer to the plot and it reveals that deceit is all around him. As a loyal son it is his duty to avenge his father's death. Hopefully mentally he can handle all that is happening around him.

9 comments:

Samantha Grove said...

I enjoy that you're questioning the reasons behind the queen's remarriage. Hamlet doesn't seem to do this at all. He takes it at face value when his father accuses her of lusting after his brother and deems her incestuous because of it. I'm surprised he doesn't see that it could have been for him that she made the decision to marry Claudius. I mean, if she didn't remain queen then Hamlet would have no claim to the thrown at all. I would say that Hamlet has no faith in women, and that he does not think that they could have reasons beyond their primal needs, but this is even hard for me to believe since he lets his wife do all the planning and conniving... what is it? Why doesn’t he give his mother a chance to explain before accusing her?

Kelsey Maher said...

I agree that it is so extremely odd that there is little reasoning for the queen to have remarried so soon after her husband's death. It is frustrating to witness Claudius taking over duties as King so easily and quickly while no one questions the motivations behind the queen's hasty marriage, or Claudius' almost desperate insistence that Hamlet stops mourning the death of his father. It's ridiculous that such a short time has passed and yet everyone expects Hamlet to completely move on and accept Claudius as his father. I like your suggestions as to why the queen married so quickly and hope that more details are given to us later in the play. I hope that her character can be redeemed and that her reasons are somewhat noble.

ssomer said...

I share in your sympathy for Hamlet. I felt the same way after reading Act I. I think Shakespeare does a good job of making Hamlet a character we can sympathize with. He is the only one who seems to mourn the death of his father. He has no one to connect with now that his father is gone and his mother has moved on so quickly. I , too, questioned the queens motive for remarrying so quickly. I really don't know what it could be, and I don't know why she doesn't seem very concerned for her son. I have never read the play before and I find it so interesting that the ghost comes to him seeking revenge. It is a great plot line and I look forward to seeing how it all plays out.

Anonymous said...

So far, I love the character Hamlet. I think it must be the way he broods. I also like how whips out his "notebook" and starts taking notes. It shows a stark contrast between what Fortinas Jr. is up to with his physical plans of taking back what is his. Way to go at working smart, not hard, Hamlet.
I agree that it is troublesome that his mother marries his uncle before the obligatory grieving period is over. I don't think the union is incestuous as Hamlet and his father's ghost consider it. Claudius' attempt at comforting Hamlet is pitiful, basically telling him people die, get over it.
I feel bad for Hamlet because he is not king. I am confused as to why that is. Isn't he the righful heir to the throne? During Claudius' speech he comments, "Your better wisdoms, which have freely gone With this affiar along" (1.2.15) seems like he is implying the court put him there. It is reminiscent of how Richard accepted the crown only because his followers "insisted" upon it.
Looking forward to seeing how Hamlet's "mad" routine works out for him.

Nicole Belladone said...

I agree and thought that it was strange how quickly the marriage happened between Claudius and the Queen. I also felt sorry for Hamlet as act one progressed, and didn't really understand the need for the two to get married right away. The death of a King is not a light subject, and you would think it would be especially hard for their wives and sons. In any situation, we would think that Hamlet would be next in line for the throne after his father was murdered, but in this case Claudius takes over. I think it's unfair of Claudius to suggest that Hamlet stop mourning over the death of his father, because it's not a manly thing to do.

Erika Pumilia said...

Myra, I think that is just it. Can Hamlet mentally handle all the stress he is being put under? One thing I found interesting from our last class discussion is how old Hamlet is. Our Professor mentioned that he is around 30. I find it interesting that a man of this age is still very "attached" to his mother, and is also not married. There is something else here that I am actually thinking of looking at a little further. The other point I was thinking of is, how difficult it must be to not only lose your father, but to have so much pain within your very own family, so I also feel sorry for Hamlet.

Brianna said...

Out of the Shakespeare plays I have read, I believe Hamlet to be one of the most complex characters when it comes to his mind. Thus far, I agree, I can’t help but feel bad for Hamlet as well, he is facing so many difficult situations on top of the death of his father, which is an extremely difficult task within itself. I like the comment you make about deceit being all around him, as readers we learn that his uncle is the one who is so deceitful and you are right, Claudius is all around especially because he uses Polonius to his advantage as well. Hamlet is a very interesting character with a lot of “baggage” one could say, and honestly if I were him, I am pretty sure I would not be able to handle all of that. You are definitely right, “poor Hamlet”.

Samantha Grove said...

Whoops!!! Disregard what I said about Hamlet's wife earlier. I was mixing Macbeth and Hamlet together, which is weird in it self.

Now that I have read further though, I would like to amend my conclusion. As we talked about in class, Hamlet most likely acts this way towards his mother because he see's women as sexual objects. So, of course he would assume that she is lusting after her brother in law (even if she is).

Cyrus Mulready said...

It is important to note (as you do here nicely, Myra) the complicate political, familial, and social position that Hamlet finds himself in at the opening of his play. His firs soliloquy expresses this directly, as he can't understand how others can move from the sadness of a funeral to the mirth of a wedding so quickly. He cannot, and that is a problem for both Hamlet and the king as the play move forward.