Experience reading and watching Hamlet

Reading and watching Hamlet, a play by Shakespeare is a rich but a challenging experience. This is because the play covers a wide range of themes that include ambition, guilt, revenge, and lust, fear of death, craziness and nature of power versus authority among others. All these themes are expressed with plot twists and dramatic irony evident throughout the chess game played by Hamlet himself and Claudius. Therefore, reading and watching becomes two different exercises in practice but similar in identification and in perception. The diversity in practice brings about the aspect of challenging experience, while identification and perception brings about the richness experience.

There are a number of things that are not noticed while watching the play performed. This does not mean that those things are not present in the performance but it takes place too quickly in less or two hours such that, those things go hardly noticed. Such things include grammatical, semantic, idea, and phonetic in the words. When reading the play, attention is paid to the action of the play’s words, which have grammatical, semantic, ideational, and phonetic interrelationship, most of which are unlikely to be detected while watching. Reading directly from the pages and listening to those words as spoken by actors creates different experiences. Reading holds back and interrupts the forward motion of the play but watching sweeps one along with the play, allowing one to reflect on details of the acted text at leisure. These two diverse experiences dazzles one with the play’s spell, thus making reading and watching a challenging experience. However, both exercises enable one to understand how words unfold continuously across a series of actions and extend the meaning of the elements in the play in all dimensions (Ratcliffe xiv). This creates perception and identification bringing richness experience.

What I think of the play

The play in itself is a rebirth and revenge tragedy that ends with eight violent deaths. It is evident that the play mostly deals with upper class. This comes out clearly when Ophelia is advised by her father and brothers to break up with Hamlet due to his social status and class. The act would appear more ironical if they both loved each other passionately. The play also employs a sense of humor in it, thus becoming humorous. This is evident in the serious fun seen when Hamlet conferences an itinerant group of players and solicits their unsuspecting aid in acting a scene to arouse conscience of Claudius despite the play being somehow public and done for Claudius and in his court. One of the actors weeps for a historical figure Hecuba that he even never knew and Hamlet is left wondering why the actor cannot weep for his father. At the same time, a commentary regarding nature and purpose of drama and acting is given.

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It is also worthy noting that the play is fashionable to date. Although it takes account of duals and armies marching across kings and castles, it is to date read due to its universal teachings. Some of these universal teachings expressed include jealousy between brothers and step-brothers, corruption, devotion of children to their parents, ambition, deceit, love, suicide mentality, meddling families, death finality and assassination among others. In general, although the play begins as a retribution tragedy, it turns into an entertaining play set around a character who fakes to be mad in the middle of naïve characters (Lee 1).

Hamlet himself

Hamlet can be seen as the supreme dramatic character (Mabillard 1). He is a character of radical inconsistencies. For instance, he appears reckless but cautious, courteous but uncivil, and tender but ferocious. This character meets the death of his father outrageously and with honest resentment but shows no regret for the deaths he caused like Polonius’. He is full of mistakes although he takes a tragic hero position. The first impression created by Hamlet as pale faced, brood eyed and with tousled hair sets the entire’s play tone. In addition, he displays all moods and forms of grief. For instance, when his mother notice mourning appearance in him, he indicates that obvious grief signs do not closely convey the extent of grief he feels.  It is also evident that Hamlet is a hesitant person. His hesitation is frequently contrasted with Fortinbras, who appears to be a man of heroic action. However, he can hardly put out of his mind his father despite all the rest resuming to their normal lives.

Despite the faults that surround him, his permanent introspection eventually assists him to overcome anxiety in him. In Act V when he resumes from exile, he presents a completely changed man. He is rational, less death fearful and calm after realizing that lives are controlled by destiny. He uses fate to show that he never killed Claudius, admitting that he does not fear anything of the world. Even after his death, his princely traits remain in ones mind as “the observed of all observers” (Shakespeare 156).

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