The Lost Hamlet Essay Example
The sad tale named “The Hamlet” by Shakespeare consists of a downward spiral into oblivion urged by the constant loss of essential factors in a person’s life. Shakespeare uses the omission of various prospects to develop his piece and apply the gloomy theme. Shakespeare uses three main types of losses: loss of life, loss of sanity, and loss of trust. Together, these three factors all tie into how the playwright seeks to demonstrate the
theme of losing something important throughout the play. The loss of life is a major form of loss in the entire play as many of the main characters perish at the hands of others and cause grief because of this. Amidst all of the murder and commotion characters find themselves going insane and losing their sentry which degrades them even further and makes them dive deeper into chaos.
One of the most valuable things in this world is the loss of a life. In Hamlet, many deaths occur, and they work to build the atmosphere of the mortal struggle in the play. The play literally starts off with the theme of death. Hamlet’s father’s death sets the onset of how short-lived life is in the play. The new King, Claudius, covers the murder of King Hamlet by calling the people to mourn the death by saying “Though yet of Hamlet our dear brother’s death The memory be green, and that it us befitted” (I.II.1-2).
Claudius seemingly wants to mourn the loss of the king and by starting the play out with death, Shakespeare sets the theme for the entire piece. The loss of life is again prevalent when Hamlet himself goes to a graveyard and finds the skull of Yorick, whom he formerly knew clearly as a child. Hamlet cries “Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him” (V.I.168) upon the sight of the skull. The graveyard shows the underlying loss of life not only in the entire graveyard, but the entire world. Hamlet realizes that the loss of life is inevitable and attempts to come to terms with the lifeless remains of someone who he used to know.
There is only so much one human can take. Circumstances can often derail one’s life and plunge them into the void. The loss of a person’s sanity is another omission of an essential part of life portrayed in Hamlet. Hamlet is on the verge between sanity and madness. He originally claims he is going to pretend to be mad, but the divide between pretend and reality fades throughout the play. He states “I am but mad north-north-west. When the wind is Southerly, I know a hawk from a handsaw” (II.II.364-365) which means he is sometimes mad like wind when it rarely blows north-north-west.
He Hesitates between sanity and madness now and again and he seeks to point that although his mental state may be fading, he can still tell who his enemy or friend is. This loss of sanity again ties into how Shakespeare strips away large qualities of life in the play. Furthermore, Ophelia also descends into miry clay of mental demise. A gentleman enters to inform Horatio and Gertrude of Ophelia’s mental state. The gentleman describes her verbal condition as “Her speech is nothing, Yet the unshaped use of it doth move” (IV.V.7-8). This shows that she has lost the ability to form coherent sentences and has gone completely insane. The loss of one’s sanity and ability to wield language ties into the overall theme of loss in The Hamlet.
Finally, the playwright develops the overarching theme of loss by tying in the loss of trust between Protagonists. When Hamlet’s father dies, his mother is hasty to marry King Claudius. This quick reaction makes Hamlet weary of the fact that his mother may not be completely loyal. Hamlet states “She married. O, most wicked speed, to post with such dexterity to incestuous sheets!” (I.II.274-275) to express his resentment of the immediate marriage.
Hamlet loses some trust in his mother after she seemingly brushes off her late husband and marries Claudius. In a similar fashion Hamlet’s trusts for Rosencrantz and Guildenstern falters when he realizes why they have been sent to him. Hamlet exclaims “I know the good king and queen have sent for you.” (II.II.274-275) to reveal that Hamlet is aware that both of them are only there to scope out what is wrong with him. Hamlet’s trust for them shifts because he realizes they are not there to talk to him on their own accord, but sent by the King and Queen to prod for information about his mental state.
In conclusion, the play named The Hamlet is primarily based on the theme of loss. The theme of loss includes many losses of the essential qualities of human existence. The first quality being the loss of life which is tied into the story by the mass number of deaths. Secondly, the loss of sanity, which is shown by the chaotic downward spiral of multiple characters who held strong relationships that became faded by conspiracy and doubts.
Shakespeare, William, and Cyrus Hoy. Hamlet. New York: W.W.Norton, 1996. Print.