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The Unconscious in Shakespeare’s Plays Drama Analysis
The results of embarking on a revenge mission are devastating. Often men are consumed by the mad desire for revenge to the extent that they fail to realize when to quit. Consequently, revenge reaps an individual of priceless things in life for instance love. The society today still observes the traditional practices of letting a son assume his father’s responsibilities and even his unfinished battles when he passes on just like sons did during Shakespeare lifetime. In William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Hamlet portrays how revenge undermines priceless gifts like love without people realizing until it is too late to do anything. The essay explains how the mad desire for revenge made Hamlet lose the respect of Ophelia and how he learned of the loss when she had already passed away.
Hamlet adored Ophelia as seen through the letters which Polonius asks his daughter to return to Hamlet. The letters were written by Hamlet when his father was still alive and before he learned of the mystery surrounding his father died. Therefore they represented a pure love as seen through statements like ‘But Never Doubt my love.’ However, upon learning of the mystery surrounding his father’s death Hamlet love for Ophelia began fading. The prince shifted his attention towards strategizing on how to avenge his father. Hamlet began addressing Ophelia rudely and denying that he ever meant what he wrote in the letters by saying ‘I loved you not’(William 116-118). Further Hamlet told Ophelia ‘Get thee to a nunnery’ (William 121-122). The prince was getting consumed by the anger and venting it out to his dear one; he could hardly distinguish what to say and not what to say to avoid hurting Ophelia. Hamlet reasoning was also impaired by the furry and could not bring himself to understand Polonius, daughter. The desire for revenge was adversely affecting the way Hamlet was relating to Ophelia the two were drifting apart.
Another indication that the desire for revenge made Hamlet lose the love he had for Ophelia occurs when Hamlet murder Polonius. Hamlet mistakenly murders Ophelia’s and upon realizing he claims ‘I took thee for thy better’ (William 32-34). Hamlet never regrets his action, yet the man is the father of his ex-girlfriend. If the prince was concerned about Ophelia, he should have been at least remorseful instead of perceiving Polonius as an accomplice to his enemies. Besides, he knew how dear Polonius was to his children as he was their only surviving parent.
Further, the emotional reaction of Hamlet at Yorich graves proves that Hamlet lost the love he once felt for Polonius daughter. The prince eulogizes his teenage friend by reciting the intimate moments they ever shared. The prince asks ‘where are your gambols? Your songs? (William 156-152). The prince, later on, realizes Ophelia grave where he goes and confesses that he loved her. The tendency of the prince to have so many good memories of a friend he lost long ago when compared to those of Ophelia indicates that there was no love between the prince and Polonius daughter (Martin 21). The death of Ophelia affected Hamlet because he felt that he was responsible. Hamlet attributed his actions of killing Ophelia father and rejecting her to Ophelia passing way.
There are criticisms of the fact that Hamlet was at some point driven by revenge at the expense of love for Ophelia. Example of such a claim is that the tendency of Hamlet to address Ophelia rudely was because of the pressure the prince was experiencing but did not mean that he did not love her. The argument is weak because the significant feeling Hamlet had when taking to Ophelia was the need for revenge. It was during that time when the prince pretended to be mad so that he could quickly avenge his father without Claudius realizing.
Further, there is a counter-argument which says that Hamlet was in love with Ophelia to the very end like he confessed at the grave. Clearly, upon learning of his father death Hamlet started perceiving Ophelia from the traditional perspective, he even doubted that their marriage would work and he never knew Ophelia was dead until they passed by her grave. Hamlet absence in the life of Polonius, daughter and judging her from the traditional perspective is an indication of people who had fallen out of love.
Finally, Hamlet mad desire for avenging his father death made him lose the love of Ophelia. The prince also disrespects Ophelia by insulting her. Further, the Prince murders Polonius an action that speeded up her daughter’s death. Lastly, Hamlet priority is his friend who died long ago instead of eulogizing Ophelia first. Claims that Hamlet loved Polonius daughter to the end as seen when the prince says that he loved Ophelia at the graveside and also when he insulted her are challengeable. Therefore, revenge should never be an option as it can cause loss of priceless virtues like love and more people end up suffering unnecessarily.
Martin Bergmann. The Unconscious in Shakespeare’s Plays. London: Karnac, 2013 print.
William Shakesphere. “Hamlet.” 2001 print.
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