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Posted: May 12th, 2023

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The Diploma Exam loves to test your ability to understand character and characterization. There are many interpretations of Hamlet’s character. In fact, you may have developed some thoughts about his character on your own as you read the play. Below is a list of possible interpretations of Hamlet’s character. In truth, it is more likely that Hamlet’s character is a melding of several of these interpretations:

1. Victim of external difficulties: He cannot accomplish the revenge urged on him by the ghost because Claudius was surrounded by “bodyguards”
2. Dreamer: This theory proposes that Hamlet would have been incapable of positive action.
3. Melancholic: In Elizabethan times, melancholica was recognized as a disease. The melancholic man would dwell on his difficulties, could move from the “antic” to the melancholic frame of mind on a moment’s notice and could become maniacal, reacting impulsively and violently. In this interpretation, Hamlet’s actions follow the pattern of disease.
4. Oedipal Son: The neo-Freudian approach – a son’s unhealthy attachment for his mother
5. Ambitious Prince: All actions are committed in order to make possible his own advancement to the throne.
6. Revenger: Hamlet is taking restitution for the murder of the king. His tragedy lies in the moral danger evoked by revenge. In Elizabethan tradition the revenger was himself condemned and thus Hamlet puts himself in danger of his soul by constituting himself the avenger. He involved himself in basic conflict between the tribal ethic of “an eye for an eye” and Christian ethics.
7. Lover: Hamlet rejects Ophelia, rejecting the brutal side of his world – if he marries, she will bear children into what he regards as a diseased society. Better for her to enter a nunnery and remain chaste. Conversely, Hamlet also sees Ophelia as part of the baseness of court. Polonius has deliberately set Ophelia to entrap Hamlet, sent by Polonius, and she is, in this sense, viewed as a seductress.
8. Renaissance Man; the man of reason set against a more primitive society: Hamlet embodies the modern man of the High Renaissance who believed in the discourse of reason and that the body was animated by the soul. Shakespeare gives Hamlet a humanist cast of mind, and intellectualizes his character. Rather than pursuing the revenge, Hamlet constantly asks questions and searches for the “mysteries of our being.” He delays reason because he sees reason rising above primitive brutality and because he sees only too clearly that the avenger commits his own evil deed, thus lowering him to the level of the beast in man, which he despises. Hamlet’s view of the Court of Denmark is of a place where the primitive passion of man reigns. Upon returning from his studies at Wittenberg, he finds himself enmeshed in a society that is founded not upon reason, but upon barbarity. He is called upon to commit an act of tribal justice, understandable in a primitive society, but abhorrent in the civilized society in which he has lived. He delays this act because he does not wish to fulfill what he sees as an evil deed committed within a society alien to all that he believes. The “rotten” state of Denmark is diseased to its core, controlled

Your assignment : Determine what you believe to be the most fitting interpretation of Hamlet’s character, and trace the growth and development of these traits using three of his soliloquies to support your interpretation.
Take a look at the rubric below to see how you will be assessed.

You may also quote lines he speaks when alone in Horatio’s presence since Horatio is his confidant and the only person over the course of the play that he fully trusts. We will use just the soliloquies and these lines since this is when Hamlet offers his most private, personal, and therefore seemingly genuine thoughts; however, you may paraphrase other events as needed to justify your evidence from the soliloquies.

REMEMBER TO ANALYZE! Use summary briefly and only as a springboard into analysis. Any statement(s) that retells a part of the play should be followed with an explanation of why or how that detail is significant to your main topic or idea.

FORMATTING & SUBMISSION: Refer to the MLA Formatting and Style Guide if you need help. If you only cite from Hamlet, you do not need a Works Best paper writer websites, Custom term paper writing service and Research papers owl essays – Professional help in research projects for students – Cite d page.

The soliloquies are listed below with estimations for line numbers (taken from the Global Shakespeare edition of the play). Use the quoted dialogue to make sure you are looking at the right speech. The quotes represent the first line of the soliloquy.
• Act I scene ii lines 131-161 (“O that this too too sullied flesh…”)
• Act I scene v lines 97-117 (“O all you host of heaven!…”)
• Act I scene ii lines 558-615 (“Ay so, God bye to you, now I am alone. / O what a rogue and peasant slave am I…”)
• Act II scene i lines 62-98 (“To be, or not to be…”)
• Act III scene i lines 381-392 (“’Tis now the very witching time of night…”)
• Act III scene iii lines 76-99 (“Now I might do it pat…”)
• Act IV scene iv lines 34-68 (“How all occasions do inform against me…)
• Remember that you may also use lines and conversations shared between Hamlet and Horatio.

4.5 Hamlet Characterization Assignment

How would you interpret Hamlet’s character based on the choices presented below. (Review the descriptions on the assignment page in your course if you need to)
• Victim Of External Difficulties
• Dreamer
• Melancholic
• Oedipal Son
• Ambitious Prince
• Revenger
• Lover
• Renaissance Man

Choose one of the interpretations above and identify it below in a clearly worded statement. The beginning of your sentence has been started for you.

In Shakepeare’s Hamlet,

________________________________________
Choose three of the soliloquies below to support your interpretation of Hamlet’s character:

• Act I scene ii lines 131-161 (“O that this too too sullied flesh…”)
• Act I scene v lines 97-117 (“O all you host of heaven!…”)
• Act II scene ii lines 558-615 (“Ay so, God bye to you, Now I am alone. / O what a rogue and peasant slave am I…”)
• Act III scene i lines 62-98(“To be, or not to be…”)
• Act III scene ii lines 381-392 (“’Tis now the very witching time of night…”)
• Act III scene iii lines 76-99 (“Now I might do it pat…”)
• Act IV scene iv lines 34-68 (“How all occasions do inform against me…)

*Remember that you may also use lines and conversations shared between Hamlet and Horatio.

________________________________________
For each soliloquy you will complete the chart below. Follow the directions to accurately complete the chart. The chart will expand as you write. You are not limited by space.

Directions:

A) Soliloquy. You may use all or simply the parts that you think are the most important:
• Cut and Paste is fine
• You must use a minimum of 8 lines per choice.

B)Paraphrase into plain language (review the lesson on the difference between paraphrasing and translating if you need to)

C)Focus on Analysis:

• What does this excerpt demonstrate about Hamlet’s character?
• How does it support your interpretation of Hamlet’s character?
• You MUST discuss the use of tools of the trade such as figures of speech, imagery, and other literary devices. How does Shakespeare use the soliloquy to reveal parts of Hamlet’s character to the viewer? Identify and quote brief, precise examples and explain how these create the characterization of Hamlet that you have chosen.

1st Choice

A. Soliloquy

B. Paraphrasing

C. Analysis

2nd Choice

A. Soliloquy

B. Paraphrasing

C. Analysis

3rd Choice

A. Soliloquy

B. Paraphrasing

C. Analysis

_______________
Based on the given interpretations, the most fitting interpretation of Hamlet’s character is that of a Renaissance Man. Throughout the play, Hamlet demonstrates a humanist and intellectual cast of mind, preferring reason to violence and questioning the mysteries of human existence. He delays taking revenge, not because he is incapable of action or lacks ambition, but because he sees revenge as an evil deed that will lower him to the level of beasts and go against Christian ethics. In this essay, I will trace the growth and development of Hamlet’s Renaissance Man traits using his soliloquies from Act I scene ii, Act II scene i, and Act III scene i.

In Act I scene ii, Hamlet delivers his first soliloquy, expressing his disgust and disillusionment with the world around him. He describes his “sullied flesh” and the “weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable” nature of life (I.ii.129-133). He longs for death, but his fear of the unknown prevents him from taking his own life. This soliloquy reveals Hamlet’s melancholic and dreamer traits, but also his intellectual and humanist traits. He recognizes the emptiness of life, but he also questions the nature of death and the afterlife, pondering whether death would be a release or a worse fate. His preoccupation with these philosophical questions shows his preference for reason and rational thinking.

In Act II scene i, Hamlet delivers his famous “To be, or not to be” soliloquy, further demonstrating his Renaissance Man traits. He contemplates the pros and cons of suicide, acknowledging that it would be a release from the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” but also a fear of what may come after death (II.i.64-65). He reflects on the nature of life and death, questioning whether it is better to endure the “whips and scorns of time” or to take action and end them (II.i.67-68). This soliloquy highlights Hamlet’s humanist and intellectual traits, as he once again engages in philosophical reflection and rational thinking.

In Act III scene i, Hamlet delivers his third soliloquy, this time contemplating the nature of action and inaction. He criticizes himself for his inability to act, despite the opportunity presented to him by Claudius’s prayer. He compares himself to animals that act on instinct, noting that he lacks the same drive and purpose (III.i.76-79). This soliloquy reveals both Hamlet’s intellectual and ambitious traits, as he recognizes the importance of action and the consequences of inaction. He understands the need for reason and contemplation but also acknowledges that there comes a time when action is necessary.

In conclusion, Hamlet’s soliloquies from Act I scene ii, Act II scene i, and Act III scene i reveal his growth and development as a Renaissance Man throughout the play. He demonstrates a preference for reason and rational thinking, engages in philosophical reflection, and recognizes the importance of both action and contemplation. While he struggles with his melancholic and dreamer tendencies, he ultimately embodies the modern man of the High Renaissance who believed in the discourse of reason and the importance of intellectual pursuits.

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