Professor SamideFinal Paper IIIWilliam Shakespeare’s, Hamlet is a tragedy of failure, the failure of a man placedin circumstances and faced to deal with them successfully. Shakespeare uses differenttechniques to develop the characters in Hamlet. Throughout the play dramatic irony isused by allowing the audience to view the true actions of the characters before thecharacters disclose them. Shakespeare toys with the idea of appearances versus reality inthe play, among these are Claudius, the play within the play, and Rosencrantz andGuildernstern.
Hamlet’s father, the king of Denmark, has suddenly died. Claudius, Hamlet’suncle, hastily marries Gertrude, Hamlet’s mother, and more importantly they become thenew king and queen. King Claudius is viewed as legitimately gaining control of thethrone by everyone except Hamlet. Hamlet knows that there is “something rotten in thestate of Denmark.” His belief is verified when the guards inform him of a ghostly figurewith close resemblance to the late king. The ghost reveals to Hamlet that while in thegarden, Claudius poured poison in his ear. Claudius prays to be forgiven but his prayersare not sincere. Claudius, overcome with guilt, would prefer to keep his status then revealwhat he did to King Hamlet.
The play within the play is useful because it allows Hamlet to verify thevalidity of the ghost. Usually plays are intended for entertainment purposes. The play isnot real and the actors are playing a role. In reality Hamlet makes it so that it is similarto what really happened to his father.
Hamlet even goes as far as to instruct the actorsappropriately. He will prove that the ghost is truthful by the reaction on Claudius’ face.The play appears to be harmless but it has a close parallel to what really happened to thelate King Hamlet.Rosencrantz and Guildernstern, who are the king’s spies, pretend to be friends toHamlet. The king has sent for them to investigate Hamlet’s madness and what he suspectsabout his father’s death. This is a contradiction because later Claudius says that Hamlet’stroubles are unknown. Hamlet not being the fool also pretends to be friends toRosencrantz and Guildernstern.
He reveals to them that he is aware of their intentionswhen he says “were you not sent for.” Claudius, fearing Hamlet knows too much sendshim with Rosencrantz and Guildernstern to England to be executed. Hamlet changes theorders and has Rosencrantz and Guildernstern executed. Hamlet appears to be friendswith them but in reality he has them killed.Shakespeare uses the appearances versus reality as a way to create irony in eachcharacter. The audience knows what the characters are pretending to be.
The audienceenjoys the different characters reactions when the truths are revealed. Claudius was notthe legitimate king, the play was supposed to resemble real life, and Rosencrantz andGuildernstern were not true friends to Hamlet. Those are just a few of the many examplesof this technique in Hamlet.