Hamlet by Actor Alan Bates

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“Hamlet is the inner person of all mankind”, actor Alan Bates once proclaimed. His statement raises questions about the multitude of themes conveyed by Hamlet: love, corruption, revenge, insanity, and more. It also prompts us to consider what insights Shakespeare possessed about human nature and the enduring appeal of his play for generations to come. Delving into an analysis of Hamlet would undoubtedly unravel valuable lessons. From the outset, Shakespeare chose the backdrop of Elsinor, a medieval Danish royal castle, to expose its corrupt core. The tragedy commences with the widowed Queen Gertrude and sets the stage with nighttime guardians Marcellus, Bernardo, and Francisco discovering a ghostly apparition of the late King Hamlet. Their dilemma prompts the question of what course of action to take. When Hamlet’s steadfast confidant Horatio learns of the apparition, he feels compelled to share the news with Hamlet himself. Prompted by this revelation, Hamlet insists on keeping watch to witness his father’s apparition personally. On the following night, King Hamlet’s ghost appears, directing Hamlet to avenge his death. It is in this pivotal moment that corruption could potentially take hold. Bates’ profound statement might indeed refer to this very scene, as it exposes the depths of corruption lurking within Elsinor’s walls. King Hamlet reveals the extent of his brother’s wrath and its dire consequences – an act precipitated by a venomous serpent.The speaker informs Hamlet that Claudius is referred to as the serpent. Hamlet’s composure, wit, and strength will now be severely tested. If he says the wrong thing or shows hatred, he will be killed immediately. Hamlet’s options and actions are uncertain. His only chance to seek revenge for his father’s death lies in his clever wit and common sense. Hamlet chooses to live in madness, hoping that it will push Claudius into confessing his sin.

In the second act of Hamlet, the plot becomes more complex as Hamlet contemplates the idea of the king confessing his actions. Additionally, his love for Ophelia becomes more apparent to everyone, including the nobilities of Elsinor. They begin to see that Ophelia’s love for Hamlet could benefit them all. Both Queen Gertrude and Claudius want to use Ophelia’s love to help Hamlet overcome his madness. However, Claudius has an ulterior motive of protecting himself from harm. Once the king and queen realize this potential solution, they quickly take action by convincing Ophelia to pursue a romantic relationship with Hamlet.

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In this scene, true madness comes into play when Ophelia encounters Hamlet and speaks with him. This leads to her love for him fading away. Hamlet realizes that his mother and stepfather are aware of this love and may use it to eliminate the threat he poses. In order to prevent them from using Ophelia against him, Hamlet must erase all of her current feelings for him. He successfully accomplishes this, perhaps too well. Now that Ophelia’s feelings for him have diminished, Hamlet must act swiftly to manipulate his uncle into confessing so that he can regain Ophelia’s love. Hamlet’s plan unfolds when actors arrive in Elsinore. He utilizes their talents by producing a play that reveals the truth behind his father’s death, with the hope of obtaining his uncle’s confession. “The play is the thing wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the king” (Act II scene 2). Act III revolves around the king’s confession and the actions he must take to rectify the situation. During the play, the confession is exposed, confirming the reality of the corruption. The king becomes concerned about Hamlet’s knowledge and must protect himself from him. Claudius is aware that Hamlet has discovered his own sins. Enraged by the confession, Hamlet takes immediate action and confronts his mother in her chambers where he is prepared to condemn her actions and kill Claudius. However, unbeknownst to Hamlet, Polonius witnesses this encounter and remains hidden.Inside a room, Hamlet confronts his mother, and she screams for him to stop, saying, “These words are sharper than daggers to my soul.” In fear for the queen’s life, Polonius shouts for help. Despite this interruption, Hamlet continues, and upon hearing another shout, he swiftly moves towards the source. Drawing his sword without hesitation, he mistakenly kills who he believes is the king. However, it turns out that he has actually killed Polonius’s body and caused irreparable damage to Ophelia’s soul. With news of Polonius’s death spreading throughout the kingdom, Hamlet’s own life becomes uncertain. In an attempt to ensure his demise, the king sends Hamlet to England for execution without his knowledge. However, once again, Hamlet’s quick thinking and cleverness allow him to escape death and return to Elsinore filled with anger towards the king. Recognizing the disturbance he has caused, Claudius understands that he must act swiftly and harshly to protect his own life. Meanwhile, during Hamlet’s absence, Ophelia descends into madness and ultimately takes her own life by drowning. Claudius seizes this tragic event as an opportunity to manipulate Ophelia’s brother into assisting him in killing Hamlet using a poisoned sword and a deadly beverage.

The final scene witnesses a deadly duel, where both Laertes and Claudius employ poison as their weapon. Laertes poisons the sword while Claudius poisons the wine. Unaware, Queen Gertrude consumes the poisoned wine and succumbs to its effects almost immediately. Simultaneously, Laertes wounds Hamlet with the poisoned sword, infecting him with the deadly poison. Upon discovering the truth, Hamlet retaliates by stabbing the king with the lethal sword and compelling him to drink the toxic wine. As a result, the king, Hamlet, Gertrude, and Laertes all perish, falling victim to the absolute corruption that the king brought upon Elsinor.

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Hamlet by Actor Alan Bates. (2019, Mar 18). Retrieved from


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