Hamlet- Loyalty Essay

Through its portrayal of human experiences, Shakespeare’s Hamlet explores the concept and rudimentary connections between the values of honour, loyalty and revenge to construct the character of Hamlet, whose experiences ultimately evokes the unfolding of the tragedy. Correspondingly, the afflictions of disloyalty, deceit and corruption are illustrated to have detrimental effects for the characters as the play develops. The speculation of such ordeals allows the play to transcend time as its ideas fundamental to our humanity and human experience.

Hamlet is Shakespeare’s revenge tragedy in the time that was influenced and shaped by Elizabethan society. The Renaissance generated a new interest in human experience. Humanists found meaning through reason and their idea of their potential scope of human understanding exalted human reasoning to the divine power of God. Shakespeare was able to take this revenge tragedy and use it to demonstrate the fundamental themes and problems of the Renaissance, which created and maintained textual integrity throughout the play. The philosophy of the divine right of kings and the natural balance of power prompted Hamlet into action to avenge his father's murder to withhold his family’s honour and set his nation, as well has his life, back to order. Destiny and fate are portrayed as being inescapable and as a predetermination of justice “his will is not his own, For he himself is subject to his birth”, identifying the humanistic views of the Elizabethan society and establishing Hamlet as one who is duty bound by his loyalty to his dead father and the state.

While social codes demand that Hamlet seek vengeance, his inner self hesitates. Preceding his filial duty, Hamlet’s first loyalty lies within the quintessentially human desire for truth. Through the characterisation of the ‘renascent scholar’ Hamlet, Shakespeare is able to promote a balance between thought and reason. Hamlet is left questioning the motives and authenticity of...