But resorts to mockery and nothing else because he is

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but resorts to mockery and nothing else because he is a prisoner within his own mind as his inaction is his own creation. Recall earlier when Hamlet states “nothing is good or bad but thinking makes it so” immediately after stating that “Denmark is a prison”. The immortal words of James Joyce are true that “the thickest prison walls are the ones we build within our own minds”. Hamlet is a victim of his own immoral and inhuman conception of himself. 2. In IV,I, Claudius deftly plays up Hamlet’s madness when obviously he is aware that Hamlet is not entirely insane. Hamlet’s killing of Polonius has given Claudius the perfect cover with which to dispose of Hamlet. Consider the poignancy of Shakespeare’s idea that Hamlet’s actions have made strides towards destroying Denmark and thereby dishonoring his father’s memory, when his initial intent was to perform the opposite. The distinction is between
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universally lawful and unlawful behavior to achieve an end. 3.In IV,I, note the irony in the form of extreme contradiction (from the audio by Arkangel) of Claudius’ tone of relief while expressing his stated dismay over the situation. At the conclusion of IV,I (line 46) Claudius says: “My soul is full of discord and dismay.”, when his demeanor is the exact opposite. Compare this to the contradiction of “mirth in funeral and dirge in marriage” as ironic examples of duplicity ( “sugaring the devil over” ) as a theme of a failing society. 4.There is a question of Gertrude’s belief in Hamlet’s madness, especially from lines 7-12. Is she merely using the specter of his insanity to avoid taking moral responsibility for her actions (refusing Claudius and restoring her own humanity). Note that she seems receptive to Hamlet’s reminder of King Hamlet and that she has behaved immorally. Hamlet also mentions
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that Claudius has killed King Hamlet, so is Gertrude ‘playing dumb’ to avoid having to take responsibility for the state of affairs? 5. Note the end of this short scene (lines 34-46) as Claudius invokes the religious image of the temple and then how he will act to protect the two of them (Claudius and Gertrude) from the blowback of Hamlet’s actions and that them being blamed for not acting to confine him sooner is an error of theirs. Through this, Claudius defends sending Hamlet away (to his death, though Gertrude is ignorant of this) and makes it seem perfectly reasonable and even necessary. 6. In IV,II and IV,III, Shakespeare illustrates Hamlet’s impotent behavior (the prison he creates for himself in his own mind) through his clever mockery, first of R & G in IV,II ((calling them a “sponge” and pointing out how Claudius will dispose of them as well when he no longer needs them (the apple in the ape’s mouth)).
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This is followed by his mockery of Claudius in IV,III, using the philosophical theme of death to characterize Claudius as someone lower than a beggar and condemn him to hell openly. While the banter is clever and does provide humor for
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