Some Thoughts on Hamlet

“Folly consists not in committing Folly, but in being incapable of concealing it. All men make mistakes, but the wise conceal the blunders they have made, while fools make them public.” (Robert Greene’s The 48 Laws of Power) It’s safe to say the conspicuous murder of Polonius was a blunder. It caused Ophelia’s madness and subsequent suicide and Laertes’ treacherous revenge against Hamlet. Hamlet says, “tis the sport to have the enginer hoist with his own petard.” To put it plainly: to be blown up with your own bomb. Hamlet is his own worst enemy in this play deciding that putting on an “antic disposition” is the best way to go; a hard device to manage. The whole purpose of his antic disposition was to cover up the fact that he had the foreknowledge of his uncle’s murder, which he voluntarily tells both the King through his play-within-a-play and his mother quite harshly in the closet scene. But Hamlet has an interesting philosophy; he says, “our indiscretion sometime serves us well, when our deep plots do pall, and that should learn us, there’s a divinity that shapes our ends, rough-hew them how we will.” Our mistakes sometime turn out for the better when we get sidetracked from our goals. The ghost didn’t tell Hamlet to put on a play to confirm Claudius’ guilt, and it did create problems; such as causing the confrontation with his mother in the closet scene as she chides him that he has his “father [Claudius not father Hamlet] much offended”; which in turn leads to Polonius death and Laertes treachery, but this play is about revenge, and it gives him joy in knowing for a fact that his uncle is in fact guilty and that killing Claudius is in fact accomplishing the revenge his father behested. No one wants to be a victim of a duplicitous ghost that’s just out to get you. He wants reassurance to the spirits legitimacy, and in the end I think Hamlet finds that peace.

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