Dont use this garbage





I am just submitting this to gain access. Don\'t turn it in since it came from sparknotes.com.
It may be arguable whether Hamlet is Shakespeare\'s greatest play, but it is undoubtedly his most famous and most influential. Hamlet is, without exaggeration, the most written-about, interpreted, and studied work of literature in English. It has been read and analyzed exhaustively, for its aesthetic, moral, political, psychological, historical, allegorical, logical, religious, and philosophical aspects; there are hundreds and even thousands of works devoted to each of these, and books devoted as well to its characters, backgrounds, plots, performances, and place in world theater as a whole. What this means, of course, is that Hamlet supports a massive variety of interpretations and understandings. There may be wrong ways to understand the tragedy, but there is no single right way to understand it: Hamlet is concerned with deep truths about the nature of humanity in the universe, and it is no more reducible to a set of simple themes than are the complicated questions arising from human experience itself.
That said, there are a number of clear, important themes that dominate the play and form the core of its interpretability. Hamlet\'s struggle over the question of whether or not to murder Claudius presents Shakespeare with an opportunity to explore giant questions. First among these is the relationship in human life between thought and action; Hamlet\'s reflective, contemplative nature often renders it impossible for him to act on his convictions, and many critics have described the imbalance between his active and passive natures as a "tragic flaw" that makes his wretched fate inevitable. Other important themes explored in Hamlet include: the nature of justice and revenge; the idea that sin must beget retribution; the line between sanity and madness; the nature of political power and the connection between the well-being of the state and the moral condition of its leaders; the moral question of suicide in a malevolent universe (Hamlet longs to kill himself, but fears God\'s wrath in the afterlife); the relationship between sons and fathers (Hamlet and the ghost, Laertes and Polonius, Fortinbras and the dead King of Norway); the nature of the family; the inevitability of death; and, against that inevitability, the question of truth, of what human beings can cling to in a painful, unjust, and hostile world--the question of what gives life meaning, of what lasts.
Hamlet, who is in love with learning, thought, and reason, is driven closer and closer to a kind of wild, unwilling nihilism, as every verity (religion, society, philosophy, love) fails him or proves false. The question of Hamlet\'s sanity is one of the most hotly contested critical controversies surrounding the play: does he actually lose his mind, or does he only pretend to, as he claims? The answer is probably that his decision to feign madness is a sane one, a strategic move to confuse his enemies and conceal his intentions, but also that his mind is so troubled, confused, and desperate in the absence of any grounding truth that his pretense assumes the intensity of real madness, and something of its quality as well.




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