caseyhamlet - Casey Kinner May 18, 2007 Senior Seminar...

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Casey Kinner May 18, 2007 Senior Seminar Hamlet: The Despair of an Intellectual Mind The great William Shakespeare is credited with creating several of literature’s most brilliant and memorable characters. Hamlet is arguably the most compelling and complex of these Shakespeare's many characters. Readers find themselves both able to relate to him and are intrigued by the nature of this fictional person. Hamlet is best understood by examining one of the strongest of human emotions: despair. In Act Two, Hamlet first reveals the struggle going on in his soul: his depression, his disdain of the world around him, and finally his dissatisfaction with man. He first describes his depression. Hamlet tells us he has “lost all my mirth”, meaning he has lost all happiness and joy that he once had in life. Having experienced the death of his father, Hamlet is deeply absorbed in the process of grieving. Yet, mourning his father’s death isn’t the only issue with which Hamlet is grappling. The untimely marriage of his mother clearly troubles Hamlet and forces him to question his mother’s love for his father and even his mother’s love for him. As a result, Hamlet feels resentment towards his mother, yet he still greatly loves her as his mother. These conflicted emotions plague the intellectual mind of Hamlet, and he finds himself lost in his depression and his un-resting mind. Gertrude notices that he seems depressed about something and questions him on his disturbing appearance. Hamlet answers “Seems, madam? Nay, it is. I know not seems”. Hamlet, in other words, feels exactly as he looks-- depressed.
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King Claudius, Hamlet's Uncle, shows little sympathy, coldly scolding Hamlet for his grief: “To do obsequious sorrow. But to persevere In obstinate condolement is a course of impious stubbornness; 'tis unmanly grief.” The character of Hamlet's Uncle immediately gives the reader a feeling of distrust and dislike with his unkind attitude towards his nephew. Claudius continues to rebuke poor Hamlet: “It shows a will most incorrect to heaven, A heart unfortified, or mind impatient, an understanding simple and unschooled” Shakespeare continues to shed light on the character of Hamlet by describing his disdain of the world he lives in. “O God, God,” Hamlet cries, “How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable, seem to me all the uses of this world!” Shakespeare continues to describe Hamlet’s frustration in a most fascinating way; he juxtaposes how Hamlet sees the world around him with that same world described with grand poetic lan- guage. The earth, with its goodly frame, appears to Hamlet to be a sterile promon- tory, merely a crude rock jutting out of the sea. The land, a mere unweeded garden, appears “stale, flat and unprofitable.” The skies, described as “a brave o’er hanging firmament, the majestic roof fretted with golden fire,” seem to the troubled mind of Hamlet nothing more than a “foul and pestilent congregation of vapors.” In each of
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This note was uploaded on 03/27/2008 for the course ENGL 104 taught by Professor Smith during the Spring '08 term at Texas A&M.

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caseyhamlet - Casey Kinner May 18, 2007 Senior Seminar...

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