Melissa PengMr. OortwynENG4U1January 22 2018Hamlet’s Behavior During Certain Circumstances In the play Hamlet, the main character, Hamlet, is faced with difficult circumstances that influence his behavior throughout the play. His father died, which he later found out that he was murdered, and he is faced with the choice of whether to avenge his father’s death or ignore it. During the play Hamlet has made many rash decisions because of the circumstance he is in. In the beginning of the play, the whole of Denmark, including Hamlet, had believed that Old Hamlet’s death was by a poisonous snake while he was asleep. Hamlet was saddened by his passing and angry at his mother for remarrying so quickly.
If it wasn’t for the ghost however, Hamlet would have never suspected anything and would have went on with his life. He would have been named king after his uncle’s passing and most likely would have continued to pursue Ophelia even without Polonius’ approval, eventually marrying her. With the appearance of the ghost this possible ending was changed. After Hamlet speaks to the ghost and was told of his uncle’s actions, his behavior is governed by the decision he must make from this circumstance he was forced into. He was told to avenge his father’s death. He then goes to investigate and recognizes that his uncle is a “villain” and decides to avenge his father’s death.
O villain, villain, smiling, damned villain!My tables- meet it is I set it down,That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain;At least I’m sure it may be so in Denmark; (act 1, scene 5, 107-110) In order for him to avenge his father’s untimely death, he must find a way to kill Claudius. Claudius is extremely smart and cunning, but Hamlet knows that he hides the truth and his real character with a smile. Hamlet knows he must be wary because murdering a king is a sin, damning his soul. First he wanted to find out if the ghost was really his late father and not a devil trying to trick him. He created a plan and told his friend Horatio to not be worried when he is seen as mad. Everyone believed that the loss of his father was the reason he has gone crazy. This was his plan to prove that Claudius was guilty without raising suspicions from him.
The entire time Claudius thought Hamlet was roaming the castle seeming mad but in reality he was actually listening to everything and trying to figure out what to do next. When it came time for his soliloquy “to be or not to be” (act 3, scene 1, 57-91) he thinks about his future and whether death or life was a better option. Which he then notices Ophelia reading. He then starts to alienate Ophelia and questioned her honesty. In the end he curses her because she lied to him about her father’s location telling her to go live in a nunnery. He then leaves after making it clear that he thought all women were two faced and should never be trusted. His temper was based on the situation he was again put into against his will. Had Ophelia not been there to talk to Hamlet, Polonius would likely still be alive since Hamlet would not have know he was helping Claudius.
Claudius convinces Laertes that Hamlet is to blame for his family’s death and arrenged a fencing match. He poisoned the blade and also a drink in a goblet as a failsafe. Hamlet won the match and refused to drink from the goblet which resulted in his mother’s death because she drank from the goblet instead. Eventually Laertes is successful in wounding Hamlet. Before Hamlet dies, Laertes informed him that Claudius is responsible for his mother’s death too. Hamlet stabbed Claudius with the sword and forced him to drink the poisoned wine.
Having achieved his revenge he swiftly dies too. In the end these rash decisions would also be the downfall of Hamlet. Had the ghost not appeared to Hamlet, he would have never had to make these decisions, changing Hamlet’s behaviour towards his uncle and changing the whole plot line.