The Obstacle to Quick Revenge in Hamlet


the Obstacle to Quick Revenge in Hamlet

finer and nobler character. The attendant reports to Claudius that the people cry: Laertes shall be king!' Caps, hands, and tongues applaud it to the clouds, 'Laertes shall be king, Laertes king! He implores him, "Say, why is this? Malcolm might attempt to present an air of finality, but we often have a lingering sense of the tragic loss of Macbeth, or the haunting power of the witches. 170, 172) is not the only indication. The visit of the ghost offers the occasion for speaking even more plainly to her, and he beseeches her: "Confess yourself to heaven; Repent what's past, avoid what is to come." (III. Hamlet is not an enigma or a puzzle, but "a mystery." He says, "Shakespeare created it a mystery, and therefore it is forever suggestive; forever suggestive and never wholly explicable." 7, in reference to, king Lear the same writer expounds his conception of Shakespeare's art. Once more, then, and as the last actor in the drama, this young warrior is brought upon the stage.

Here is the humor of tragedy with a vengeance. Ophelia attracts and repels him for reasons which I will try to give when I come to the scene between her and Hamlet; she is closely, though accidentally, associated with his main trouble; and Polonius is incongruously associated with her. These, however, may give us a point of view for the story and serve as a valuable introduction to the dramatist's own work. They show rhetoric, eloquence, and a facility for epigrams, but, in the main, have little action and less development of character. Is it not only consistent with the words, but also an elucidation of them? The queen is conscience-stricken when her son speaks to her and exclaims: "Thou turn'st mine eyes into my very soul, And there I see such black and grained spots As will not leave their tinct." (III. 17-24.) Polonius at first did not deign to make this explanation to her when he warned her against Hamlet, but seems later to have reminded her that "Lord Hamlet is a prince, out of thy star." (II. 4-5.) This incenses Laertes the more, and makes him very willing to attack Hamlet. It affected both the substance and the form of the drama. He had just concluded his studies of the long and bloody struggle between Lancaster and York, culminating in the brutal reign of Richard the Third, his one ideal villain. When he needs what you have gleaned, it is but squeezing you, and, sponge, you shall be dry again." (IV.

Macbeth signals balance after excess, kingship after tyranny, and calm after conflict. It is the melancholy of the philosophical mind, and is induced by the evils into the midst of which his young life is suddenly plunged. Hamlet himself appears to have found it almost heartbreaking to discard her, and finally did so only when convinced that she was treacherous and untruthful.


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