Hamlet Critical Study

Hamlet continues to have enduring value for audiences because of the way that it explores the search for truth in an uncertain world. In light of your critical study, does this statement resonate with your own interpretation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet?

      A valuable text is one that is able to articulate its ideas, allowing understanding amongst the audience. Although contextual values change, the basic human desire to seek answers to the fundamental questions of life has not, causing Shakespeare’s play to speak in different ways. Hamlet’s ability to be recontextualised is due to its universal themes and unique characterisation, allowing for multiple interpretations throughout the plays lifespan. The continuous search for truth in Hamlet exposes the audience to deception and corruption present in the world, creating a play that explores the concept of truth and appearances, a theme that is relevant to any context.
      Shakespeare’s notion that humans are desperate to find the meaning of truth is evident in his persona, Hamlet. Hamlet’s character is that of a weak soul whose emotions dominate him, driving his rash actions and behaviour in his need to separate right from wrong. This is evident in Act 1, in which Hamlet’s love and passion for his father naturally positions him to be inferior to King Hamlet’s apparition. Consequently, these powerful sentiments compel Hamlet to soliloquise that he will “wipe away all trivial fond records...thy commandment all alone shall live...” after obeying the ghost’s command to “...revenge his foul and most unnatural murder.” Hamlet’s desires to derive answers prevent him from questioning the ghost’s motives or the authenticity of the ghost’s identity. The strong influence of his overpowering emotions on his quest for truth is further emphasised in his soliloquy, “...wipe away all trivial fond records...” The hyperbole demonstrates that his feelings for his father caused him to submit to the mysterious ghost’s command while...