Thursday, May 17, 2012

Hamlet Journal Entries

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Hamlet Journal

Hamlet may think of harming his mother, but he wouldn’t actually physically hurt her

“But, howsoever thou pursuest this act,

Taint not thy mind, nor let thy soul contrive

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Against thy mother aught.” (1.5.8-1)

This quote is taken from the conversation between Hamlet and the Ghost and is said by the spirit. The ghost is telling Hamlet that he should not plot against his mother while pursuing to kill the King. He tells Hamlet that the Queen has done nothing wrong and she has merely fallen to Claudius’ “witchcraft of his wit” (1.5.48). I don’t believe there is much need for the ghost to tell Hamlet not to harm his mother. When the ghost told Hamlet that Claudius was responsible for his father’s death, he focused his revenge towards killing the King. It’s easy to recognize that Hamlet feels his mother shouldn’t have married Claudius so soon after his father’s death, but even if he was upset at his mother for marrying Claudius, would he actually go to the extent to physically harm her? I don’t believe Hamlet could harm his mother intentionally even though she may have married Claudius right after the death of her husband. It is possible that Hamlet may think about plotting against his mother, but when it came down to acting on his intentions, I don’t believe Hamlet could harm his mother. Therefore, although the ghost has told Hamlet not to plot against his mother, I believe there is no need for the King to tell Hamlet to stay away from Gertrude. Hamlet would have to be mad to harm his mother, and unless he’s nuts, he won’t harm his mother.

If Hamlet weren’t so much of an intellect…

How would Hamlet react to the ghost’s task if he weren’t as much of an intellect? At first, Hamlet’s thirst for revenge makes him sound like he is willing to kill the King at any cost. Before the ghost speaks to him, Horatio and Marcellus try to convince Hamlet not to follow the ghost, as it may be a tempting disguise of the devil. Hamlet states, “Why, what should be the fear? I do not set my life in a pin’s fee” (1.4.70-71). This shows that Hamlet believes his life is worth next to nothing. If he truly believed this, after hearing the ghost Hamlet would have taken action to kill Claudius, be he decides not to. He is an intellect and decides to question the ghost and whether or not it is an evil spirit. If Hamlet weren’t an intellect, would he have killed the King right away? I believe Hamlet would have taken immediate action to kill Claudius because his emotions would force him to seek revenge quickly. Claudius killed Hamlet’s Father, and I would assume there would be enough anger and desire for revenge in Hamlet to kill the King. However, because Hamlet is starting to think and question everything, he isn’t going to kill the King right away. I believe he will end up killing Claudius once he is certain the word of the ghost is true.

Hamlet shows up half-dressed at Ophelia’s door � Why Ophelia’s door? -

In Scene 1 of Act , Ophelia has rushed to Polonius, telling him of how Hamlet showed up at her door half dressed, in a bizarre manner. Hamlet has decided to make himself appear crazy, so when he kills the King it will seem like he did it out of sheer madness. Why did Hamlet decide to target Ophelia in his peculiar state when he could have shown anyone else he was crazy? If Hamlet loves Ophelia, he could have just told her of his plan to kill Claudius but instead, he decides to exclude her and leaves Ophelia to try and put things together on her own. This makes Ophelia go crazy, because she loves Hamlet. Hamlet may believe that if he acts crazy towards Ophelia who he loves, then Claudius and others will believe that Hamlet is actually crazy. If this is his logic, then why does Hamlet choose not to tell Ophelia about what is happening? Hamlet needs to give his head a shake! Doesn’t he realize that he his hurting Ophelia? Hamlet could have told Ophelia about his plan, however, he didn’t. Maybe this shows that Hamlet doesn’t truly love Ophelia, because in reality, if you loved someone could you act the way Hamlet is acting? Hamlet must love Ophelia, yet I find it very hard to accept any reasoning for Hamlet’s actions towards her.

Why is Hamlets relationship between Ophelia degrading?

Hamlet’s mind is so preoccupied by his task that his relationship with Ophelia is slowly weakening. He has used Ophelia to his advantage but only because his mind is focused on accomplishing his task.

In Act Three, Scene Two, Hamlet seems really lively before the play begins. He makes a lot of sexual comments towards Ophelia, who recognizes Hamlet’s giddy condition. This is one example where Hamlet is so involved with his plan that he doesn’t really act himself, even to Ophelia. Hamlet’s so excited to see the King’s reaction towards the play that he can’t refrain from poking fun at Ophelia. Hamlet can’t help his relationship from degrading because his mind is fixed on his task and hasn’t stopped to think about how much he is hurting Ophelia.

The King’s response to the Hamlet-modified play

Just as Hamlet thought, when Claudius sees the scene where the poison is poured into the King’s ear, he becomes very upset and leaves. He later prays for forgiveness, and the King is very moved by the play. On Hamlet’s part, I think it was very clever of him to use the actors to demonstrate Claudius’ actions before the King. Also, while the play was in performance, Hamlet kept talking to the Queen and Claudius about the play, and he kept throwing in lines like “O, but she’ll keep her word.” (..8). I think because Hamlet kept disturbing the King and Queen with these sort of lines, it was even more overwhelming for the King when he saw the poison being poured into the Kings ear while he was asleep. It was very wise of Hamlet to use the play to taunt the King, and it worked very well, which pleased Hamlet. Now that Hamlet is fully aware that the ghost’s word was true and that Claudius is completely responsible for murdering his father, will Hamlet kill the King right away? You would think there would be nothing to stop him now, but will he choose not to kill Claudius and delay again? At the end of Scene of Act Three, Hamlet speaks very strong words about killing the King. He has done this before, but will he actually kill the King this time? Based on what we have seen earlier in the play, it is possible that Hamlet will find a reason to delay killing Claudius. Perhaps because Hamlet is aware that Claudius the murderer of his father, he will actually kill the King. It will be interesting to find out whether or not he does kill the King right away, now that he has marked his man.

If the sword were to the King’s throat, Hamlet would find another dumb reason not to act

In Act Three, Scene , Claudius is praying for forgiveness after being disturbed by the play that Hamlet had the players perform. Hamlet sees him kneeling and draws his sword to kill the King but Hamlet stops, and his mind once again prevents him from murdering Claudius. No matter what the situation, Hamlet seems to be able to find some reason not to kill the King. This time, Hamlet decides that he would not be revenged if he were to kill Claudius while he was praying. Hamlet keeps finding reasons not to kill the King, and it seems like he’s getting better at it…practice makes perfect I guess. Hamlet is becoming very predictable and when he does kill the King, we will probably be shocked he didn’t find some other reason not to. How will Hamlet decide when to actually act? He has had opportunities yet he thinks too much and has missed many chances to kill Claudius.

Hamlet’s reoccurring thought of suicide

There are many instances in the play where Hamlet contemplates suicide. From the beginning of the play he wonders if there is any meaning to his life. There are many times when he states that his life is worth nothing, thus he believes that the result of killing the king will not matter at all. Hamlet keeps considering the value of his life so he can set his emotions off and sound like he will kill the King. Hamlet’s ‘should I take my own life or suffer through life’ thoughts only make himself upset and feel there is more reason to kill Claudius. Maybe Hamlet is somewhat suicidal, but he can use this as an escape from killing the King. He keeps questioning his life to stall his plot of killing Claudius. It’s ‘oh my life’s worth nothing I’ll kill him now’ and then it’s ‘should I suffer?’ Hamlet keeps using the value of his life as a reason to kill or not to kill the King, thus he postpones his murder of Claudius.

Hamlet has killed Polonius by mistake, but his reaction was not at all what I expected

When Hamlet is speaking to his mother, he begins “speaking daggers” towards her. He shows her how upset he is with her because she married Claudius so soon after the death of her husband. Hamlet’s temper frightens the Queen into calling for help. When she does cry for help, Polonius, who was hiding behind the arras in the Queen’s chamber, begins to call as well. Hamlet, unaware that there was someone else in the room, kills Polonius by stabbing him through the arras. Hamlet had thought it was the King, but when he lifted the arras and found Polonius instead, he didn’t react like I thought he would. I expected Hamlet to be in shock for killing the wrong man, and I thought he might be somewhat apologetic but instead, he was completely the opposite. Hamlet was somewhat sorry for killing Polonius, but he seemed to think very little of Polonius’ death. He left Polonius and continued speaking with his mother. I was very shocked with Hamlet’s reaction. Now that Hamlet has killed Polonius, he will have to act soon to kill the King. By killing Polonius, he has triggered his plot of killing the King. Hamlet won’t be able to keep procrastinating and will have to kill the King soon, especially if he is to be sent to England right away.

Why can’t Gertrude see the ghost when it appears in front of Hamlet and her in Act , Scene 4?

In Act , Scene 4, Hamlet has just killed Polonius by mistake and is speaking with his mother. In the groping scene, the ghost interrupts Hamlet and his mother. Hamlet talks to the ghost and we notice that Gertrude can’t see the ghost. The Queen thinks Hamlet has gone mad, and yet Hamlet swears he sees a ghost. Is there a reason why the Queen can’t see the ghost? At the beginning of the play, Hamlet saw and spoke with the ghost. Horatio, Bernardo and Francisco also saw the ghost, yet Gertrude somehow can’t. I think in this scene, Hamlet may just be imagining the ghost, because there should be no reason why Gertrude can’t see the ghost. Hamlet has just killed Polonius; therefore maybe his mind is playing tricks on him because he is overwhelmed having killed the wrong man. Also, the ghost only speaks to Hamlet about killing Claudius. When the ghost appears, Hamlet and Gertrude are a bit too close, and you would think the ghost would mention something to Hamlet about leaving Gertrude alone, yet he doesn’t. This shows that maybe Hamlet just imagined the ghost. Had the ghost have been real, Gertrude would have been able to see it, and the ghost would have commented on Hamlet and Gertrude’s groping scene. Hamlet must have just been imagining the ghost.

The incident with the pirates seems all too convenient

On route to England, pirates attacked the ship and Hamlet returned to Denmark. Guildenstern and Rosencrantz continued on to England and were executed. This seems too convenient and I believe Hamlet may have set up this pirate attack so he could return to England. After killing Polonius, when the King told Hamlet he would be going to England he didn’t show any objection. Going to England would mean he wouldn’t be able to kill the king, yet he didn’t protest to the King’s idea. If Hamlet didn’t plan the pirate attack, I believe he would have killed the King quickly before he left for England, because he couldn’t leave without having his revenge. Hamlet didn’t consider killing Claudius prior to leaving for England, so he must have planned the pirate attack, therefore knowing that he would be back to kill the King. Guildenstern and Rosencrantz conveniently continued on to England where they were killed. If the pirate attack was merely a fluke, why wouldn’t Rosencrantz and Guildenstern return to Denmark with Hamlet? It seems to be too convenient for Hamlet to return to Denmark and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to continue on to England where they would face execution. Hamlet had to have planned the pirate incident, because his attitude towards the King’s idea of sending him away was very nonchalant. It seemed to work out too perfectly and Hamlet must have planned the pirate attack.

Ophelia’s death

In Act Four, Scene 7, we learn about Ophelia’s death. The Queen says she drowned in the nearby brook. Her mental state was terrible at the time of her death, and she was chanting random songs as she was drowning. Some may believe it is sad that Ophelia has drowned, but I have reason to believe that her death was for the best. Her mental state was deteriorating and her relationship with Hamlet was weakening. She wasn’t aware that Hamlet was only pretending to be mad, when he really loved her. The way Hamlet acted towards Ophelia, had led her to go into a crazed mental state. Had Ophelia not have unintentionally slipped into the stream, she may have even committed suicide. Ophelia was very upset and there is a possibility that she may have taken her own life if she hadn’t drowned. I believe her death was for the best, because I think it was better that she died than have to suffer her mental condition. If Hamlet would have only spoke to her about his plan to kill Claudius, Ophelia wouldn’t have gone mad. Because Ophelia may have committed suicide and because she was in a terrible mental condition, I believe her death was in her favor.

Laertes’ hotheaded character

Laertes has been informed of Polonius’ death and is instantly seeking revenge. He suspects the King, but is later notified that Claudius is not responsible for his death and that it is Hamlet. Laertes seems to be controlled by his emotions very easily. He hears someone has killed his father, so he seeks immediate revenge. This is very different from Hamlet because although Hamlet shows his emotions and anger he never really acts. Had Claudius said something to lead Laertes to believe he was responsible for Polonius’ death, I strongly believe Laertes would have killed Claudius. Hamlet is procrastinating constantly, whereas Laertes has actually confronted the King demanding answers. Laertes is also a very easily manipulated character. He has now become the King’s weapon, because he has a great thirst for revenge. The King has manipulated Laertes and is encouraging him to kill Hamlet. Hamlet’s more of a thinker, which allows him to prevent his emotions from taking control. The plot is thickening quickly. Laertes and Claudius are trying to kill Hamlet; Hamlet is trying to kill the King while he has already taken Polonius’ life. Hamlet is going to have to kill the King soon because he hasn’t the time to delay.

Hamlet declines Horatio’s offer of a way out of the fencing match

In Scene of Act 5, the King and Laertes have set up a fencing match between Laertes and Hamlet. It is a scheme to kill Hamlet ‘accidentally,’ and Hamlet accepts the proposed battle. Horatio is worried that Hamlet will lose to Laertes, and tells Hamlet that he can tell the King he is not fit to fight. Hamlet declines Horatio’s offer. Instead of finding a way out for him, like Hamlet usually does, Horatio has proposed a way out and Hamlet has declined the offer. This is the first time that Hamlet has strongly declined a way out. This part of the play seems to show us that Hamlet’s character is changing. He says fate determines everything, and you cannot fight fate. He told Horatio that if he loses, it is because of fate. Hamlet’s attitude has clearly changed. This conversation between Hamlet and Horatio is significant because it may show that Hamlet is willing to kill now. He believes fate determines everything, so maybe he will kill Claudius. He knows he will eventually have to kill the King, and his change of attitude about fate determining everything shows that he might be ready to get his revenge.

Favorite character

After having read the play, I would have to say my favorite character is Horatio. He seems to be a really nice character. He was beside Hamlet throughout the play and never betrayed him in any way. He seemed to care a lot for Hamlet. You could tell that Horatio was an important friend to Hamlet because he always talked with Horatio about his plan to kill Claudius and it seemed Horatio was always there. In the final scene, when almost everyone was poisoned or killed and Hamlet was almost dead, Horatio was there for Hamlet and had even suggested killing himself with the remaining poison. Horatio was a good character and he was my favorite character in the play.

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