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Hamlet's Regeneration

Uploaded by cheetah on Mar 09, 2002

The movement towards Hamlet’s regeneration begins with his reflection on the player’s speech about Hecuba; it advances further in the closet scene, and it reaches culmination in the gravediggers’ scene. Prior to the player’s speech about Hecuba, Hamlet lacked the focus to avenge his father’s murder. Upon witnessing the passion the player portrayed, Hamlet has somebody to emulate. Hamlet continues on after hearing this speech with a new drive. He has become so aggressive that he accidentally kills Polonius in his mother’s closet. This act fortifies his conviction by assuaging his fears concerning murder; He now knows he is capable of committing the deed so he continues on with his quest. Total surrender to revenge is finally reached in the gravediggers’ scene when Hamlet comes face to face with deaths that are personal to him and he realizes its inevitability. After completing this regeneration, Hamlet is finally prepared to avenge his father’s murder.

In Act 1 Scene 2, Hamlet is introduced as a distraught young man, devastated by “his father’s death and [his mother’s] o’erhasty marriage” (2.2:57). The grief he feels is so consuming that “[he] has within which passes show” (1.2:85), a sadness that brings him to wish that “this too too sullied flesh would melt, thaw, and resolve itself into a dew, or that the Everlasting had not fixed His canon ‘gainst self-slaughter” (1.2:129). When the ghost of the late King Hamlet speaks to his son in Act 1 Scene 5, he lets the fragile young Hamlet know that he wishes him to “revenge his foul and most unnatural murder” (1.5:25). Excited at the sight of his dead father, Hamlet answers, “Haste me to know’t, that I, with wings as swift as meditation or the thoughts of love, may sweep to my revenge” (1.5:29). The eager Hamlet decides to fulfill his father’s wish by feigning madness in order to kill Claudius. While Hamlet does manage to present a convincing facade of lunacy, he fails to take the initiative to end the life that ended his father’s.

It is not until the player’s speech about Hecuba in Act 2 Scene 2 that Hamlet finds a catalyst to shake him from his stagnant state and initiate his plan for revenge. While the actor laments with passion and sheds tears the the fictional Hecuba, Hamlet comes to the realization that he is “a rogue and peasant slave” (2.2:560), unable to channel his emotions...

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Uploaded by:   cheetah

Date:   03/09/2002

Category:   Hamlet

Length:   5 pages (1,013 words)

Views:   1983

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