How Has Your Personal Response to Hamlet Been Shaped by the Interaction of Characters in the Play?

How has your personal response to Hamlet been shaped by the interaction of characters in the play?

Shakespeare has constructed his Hamlet with deliberate ambiguity and duality at its heart, enabling multiple interpretations by an audience, and it is with this in mind that my own personal response has been shaped by the ambiguous interaction of the characters in the play. One can see how Hamlet’s interaction with Claudius, Gertrude and Ophelia leads to the play’s nature as a revenge tragedy and contributes to the play’s textual integrity as a whole. A deeper understanding of the characters can also be gauged with the use of various literary readings. In short, it can be gathered that one’s own personal interpretation is shaped by Shakespeare’s deliberate duplicitous characterisation of his Hamlet.

From the outset, it is clear to the viewer how Hamlet holds a resentful, if at some times hateful, view with his uncle-come-father Claudius, (“a little more than kin, and less than kind” – Hamlet) after his speedy ascension to the throne of Denmark after the death of Hamlet’s father. The character of the ghost reveals to Hamlet how Claudius had murdered his father to become King, and it is with this idea that the play in its entirety is based. Hamlet’s interaction with Claudius then snowballs in a downward spiral, with Hamlet seeking revenge under the dead king’s wishes, to “revenge his foul and most unnatural murder”. One can also see how Hamlet’s dilemma with Claudius is symbolic of Shakespeare’s own political context in the late 16th, early 17th centuries, in which old hierarchal structures were being replaced by the Enlightenment movement of idealistic humanism and reliance on human reason. This can hence relate to the death of Hamlet’s father, symbolic of ‘law and heraldry’, replaced by the cunning and ambitious Claudius, representing ‘modern government’. This struggle of Hamlet versus the monarchial political system of the time can directly result in a Marxist...