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Hamlet The Bad
Shakespeare’s tragedy of Hamlet is considered to be Shakespeare’s finest tragedy. Throughout this play Hamlet experiences a variety of emotions however it is the emotions that are portrayed in Act III that define his character. Hamlet is presented in an unfavorable light based on his dealing with Ophelia, his mother and the killing of Polonius.
In Act III Hamlet’s true personality came through and he was portrayed as a heartless person based on his actions with various characters. Hamlet’s dealing with Ophelia revealed that he was dishonest and was harsh in the way he spoke with her. Ophelia had confronted Hamlet about the letters and gifts that he had given her and he lied saying I never gave you aught (3.4.98). Hamlet later embarrasses her by telling her that he once loved her however he doesn’t now. Poor Ophelia is ashamed and says I was the more deceived (3.1.122). Ophelia truly believed that Hamlet had loved her however he is now denying everything, including the letters and gifts that he gave her. Of course the abuse does not stop there. Hamlet tells Ophelia to Get thee to a nunnery (3.1.123) so that she won’t breed more sinners and then chastises her for acting like a whore and painting (3.1.143) her face. Hamlet rebukes her saying that God has given you one face and you make yourselves another (3.1.143-144). Ophelia was disheartened that Hamlet’s noble mind is here o’erthrown (3.1.150). Hamlet certainly showed himself to be offensive and harsh and his actions would hurt anyone’s feelings.
Hamlet’s revenge on women certainly did not stop with Ophelia. The next woman to receive Hamlet’s wrath is his own mother, Gertrude. Gertrude called Hamlet to her room to try and find out what was wrong with him. However, Hamlet had decided that he was going to be cruel, not unnatural (3.2.370). Hamlet was going to tell his mother what he thought of her and was going to speak daggers to her but use none (3.2.371); he was going to be malicious with his words. Hamlet proceeded to tell Gertrude that because she had married her first husband’s brother so quickly the heavens were sick at the act (3.4.52). She had married such a wonderful man and when he died she married Claudius and dropped from such a lofty position. Hamlet told her that she stewed in corruption, honeying and making love (3.4.94). Gertrude was so hurt by this that she begged that he speak No more (3.4.103). Hamlet yelled at her to Confess yourself to heaven. Repent what’s past (3.4.151-152). Poor Gertrude could only respond that thou hast cleft my heart in twain (3.4.158); Hamlet had broken her heart. Hamlet’s tone and actions were so scary and erratic to Gertrude that she asked him if Thou wilt not murder me (3.4.22)? Hamlet is definitely portraying an individual that is heartless and without soul. An individual that has a conscience, self respect or dignity would never resort to terrifying their mother.
Hamlet’s reign of terror ended with him killing Polonius. When Hamlet had scared his mother so much she called out for help and Polonius replied from behind the curtains. Hamlet said How now, a rat (3.4.25) and stabs through the curtain not knowing who was behind it. This would appear to have been an accident however when Hamlet realized that it was Polonius he did not show any remorse. Hamlet was expecting it to be Claudius behind the curtain however when he found out that it was Polonius he said I took thee for thy better (3.4.33; he thought it was someone more important. Hamlet then proceeded to call him a wretched, rash, intruding fool (3.4.32). Hamlet just killed a man and yet shows no grief or remorse over his actions. Instead he simply tells the rat that he got what he deserved. At the end of the scene he drags Polonius out of the room without dignity or care.
In conclusion, Hamlet proved to everyone that he is truly a sinful person with no respect for human life or the feelings of others. Hamlet even referred to himself as proud, revengeful, ambitious (3.1.126). Throughout Act III Hamlet lied, berated and killed for his own benefit. These are not the qualities that someone of a positive nature would possess. The dealings that Hamlet had with Ophelia, his mother and the killing of Polonius prove that Hamlet is a negative force to be reckoned with which was clearly determined in Act III.
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