July 17th 2014
Role of Family in a characters success or failure
In the play “Hamlet” by William Shakespeare, cause and effect is evident through the characters success or failure. Hamlet is a play about revenge and self-destruction; these themes are portrayed through a characters ability to influence another. The main character Hamlet is guided to his success and failure through the influence of king hamlet and Gertrude. Hamlets lover Ophelia is easily persuaded by her father Polonius and her brother Laertes, and Hamlets two friends Rosencrantz and Guildenstern get by swayed by Claudius and Polonius. The influential nature of some characters is what prompted the failure or success of other characters. Family influential abilities are a key in ones, path to success or failure.
Hamlet was lead to his failure by both his dead father, King Hamlet, and his mother Gertrude. King Hamlet came in the form of a ghost from purgatory to tell his son to avenge his murder. He persuaded his son by telling Hamlet his suffering in purgatory. Hamlet loved his father and did not want him to suffer for eternity. “I am thy father’s spirit
Doom’d for a certain term to walk the night
And for the day confined to fast in fires
Till foul crimes done in my days of nature
Are burnt and purged away. But that I am forbid”(I,iv,)
King Hamlet is explaining his suffering in the afterlife, prompting Hamlet to kill Claudius for being responsible for his father’s suffering. Hamlet was able to kill Claudius right before his death, but murder is sin which would lead him to even worst eternal suffering just like his father. Which means King Hamlet played a role in Hamlets failure. Gertrude was able to influence Hamlets actions to kill Claudius through her incestuous relationship with Claudius because he was king Hamlets brother. Gertrude created Hamlets rage to increase drastically. “Ay, that incestuous, that adulterate beast,
With witchcraft of his with, with traitorous gifts,
O wicked with, and gifts that have the power
So to seduce!!- won to his shameless lust
The will of my most seeming and virtuous queen.”
Claudius was able to seduce Gertrude into an incestuous relationship, which is a reason why Hamlet decides to kill him. Gertrude could have said no to the relationship, so Claudius could not take all the blame for that. Gertrude’s desires turned her son into a murder. Hamlet was a failure because he believed the only way to seek revenge was to kill Claudius. Therefore, Hamlets parents, King Hamlet and Gertrude played a role in his failure.
Ophelia is lead to a path of self-destruction by her father Polonius, he advised her not to fall for hamlet. Polonius told her that Hamlet didn’t love her but just was admiring her cause of her beauty. Ophelia took it to heart and decided to listen to her father. Eventually she committed suicide due to the amount of love she had for hamlet. If she let her fall in love with him, she would still be alive. “When the blood burns, how prodigal the soul….from this time. Be something scanter of your maiden presence” Polonius thought that hamlets love was not true and that he was just using her for her looks. He believed he wanted Ophelia for his physical desires, but he was wrong and Hamlet actually truly loved her. She killed herself because of her father and his advice. Her brother Laertes gives her the same advice when he is about to leave back to Paris. “Perhaps he loves you now, but you must fear, his greatness weighted, his will is not his own.” He was telling her that he may not be able to be committed to her because his life has already been planned. His future has been decided since the day he was born. He believed that royal marriages were for political reasons and not for love. He wanted his sister to know the less affection he showed towards him; the less she would be humiliated. Laertes reasoning made her distance herself from hamlet and she committed suicide because of her love. She was a failure because she had to kill herself to forget about hamlet and his love. Therefore Polonius and Laertes persuade Ophelia to forget about Hamlet and it leads to her self-death.