Five Qualities that Make Hamlet a Truly Great Play
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Hamlet is a play written by one of the most prominent masters of the word of all times – Shakespeare. This tragedy is so great that it remains popular after so many years after its creation. People can often see posters that announce its performance at the theatre. Moreover, directors keep interpreting it in new ways, and therefore, do not stop amazing the audience. This play deserves to be called a masterpiece because its plot, characters, conflict, themes, and language are outstanding.
The first quality that makes Hamlet a great play is the plot. The ghost that appears in the castle slightly resembles the late king. King’s brother marries the late king’s wife. Hamlet, their son, grieves, but the new king asks him to stop questioning about his father’s death. The queen and the king ask Hamlet not to proceed with his education and stay at court. Hamlet blames his mother for forgetting father so quickly and considers it a betrayal. Ophelia’s brother and father persuade her to behave in a more prudish way while Hamlet pays attention to her; she agrees and rejects him. The spirit tells Hamlet that his uncle is the one to blame for his death, and Hamlet promises to revenge for that deed. Hamlet starts acting as if he is insane. To check his guess, Hamlet asks actors to play the murder of the king on the stage. One by one, Hamlet’s friends betray him. There is a chance to kill the new king, but Hamlet decides to choose another moment not to let his soul get to the paradise. Accidentally, he murders Polonius, confusing him with the king. The king tries to make Hamlet go far away from the court. The news about her father causes Ophelia’s insanity and then death. After coming to an agreement to destroy Hamlet during fencing, the king and Laertes become the victims of their own conspiracy. In an attempt to warn Hamlet about the poison, the queen dies. Before dying, Laertes manages to hurt Hamlet which leads to his death, as well.
The second quality is the play’s characters. Hamlet is intelligent and he is ready o become the real king because his knowledge concerning international relations is rather profound: he is ashamed that abroad, they are considered to be not serious due to constant festivals. Danish people respect him. His moral character is the highest if to compare with other characters. He hates the evil. Unlike his subjects, the protagonist is brave enough not to fear the ghost; he is not afraid of the death as well. He values honesty and does not respect liars. He is not used to such a feeling as hatred, and it tortures him. He is subjected to self-criticism and melancholy. As opposed to Hamlet, Claudius, the new king, is the epitome of evil. He cares about power more than about anything else. To gain it, he even murders his own brother with few twinges of conscience. His moralities are so low that he even marries his late brother’s wife. When he realizes that his brother’s son suspects something, he does everything possible to destroy him. Retaining the power is more significant than blood ties, for Hamlet is his nephew. Claudius claims that he loves the queen, but it does not seem to be true because he would not try to kill his beloved woman’s only son in that case.
The conflict of this play, which is the third outstanding quality of the play, is the conflict between Hamlet’s view of life and the reality. If to compare him with other characters, he seems to live in a dream world. Surprisingly, being a grown man, he has not met the evil in his life before, and when he faces it, it breaks him because he is not used to dealing with someone’s bad deeds. Other characters are virtueless, and they do not know how to live in a just way. Observing all their viciousness, Hamlet starts to despise them all. Rage blinds him, and he loses his faith both in life and love. The conflict is also in the fact that being the man of good morals, he ruins many lives. That is, while seeking justice, he becomes no better than all the vicious ones because he destroys people who are not examples to follow, but without blood on their hands.
The themes constitute the forth qquality. One of the leading themes in the tragedy is revenge. This piece of literature is saturated with this theme. Thus, Hamlet makes it the point of his life to make the new king pay for his father’s death. He forgets about all his values, and starts creating various plans on how to punish Claudius. As a result, not love towards his late father, but revenge leads his way.
Finally, the language constitutes the fifth excellent quality of Hamlet. In this play, the author’s language is very rich. The play is full of wisdom and philosophical utterances, most of which are widely-spread and used nowadays. Probably most individuals throughout the world are familiar with this phrase: “To be or not to be: that is the question” (Shakespeare n. p.). In general, the language used in the play would seem rather difficult for a contemporary reader, but this fact does not lessen its beauty. A good example is the line “What art thou that usurp’st this time of night” (Shakespeare n. p.). Another example is when the author emphasizes Claudius’s royalty by using we instead of I: “You shortly shall hear more: I loved your father, and we love ourself” (Shakespeare n. p.). The play is also saturated with various literary devices, for example, metaphors: “customary suits of solemn black” denotes mourning; “windy suspiration of forced breath” denotes sobbing; “the fruitful river in the eye” denotes crying (Shakespeare n. p.).
To conclude, such factors as plot, characters, themes, conflict, and language contribute in the high quality of this tragedy. The plot is so outstanding that it keeps inspiring people to interpret it differently. Each character is interesting and lives his or her life in the play. The author even chose the unique selection of words for each character to become more vivid. The conflict and themes of the tragedy will never get old because they keep reflecting the nature of the society even nowadays. The play makes a reader question his or her values, and it is definitely worth reading.