“Hamlet, “The Most”

Part 1:  In a posting of approximately 350 to 400 words, pick a character and a “most” category, explaining how that particular character fits the paradigm that you’ve established.  Follow the suggestions on the sheet that I gave out in class, but generally you’ll be going for a similar format to your last posting:  adhere to word length, include two (2) quotations (minimum) to support your point, and develop an insightful comment.  Please do NOT cite or paraphrase any other information (including the internet) or scholar.  This are YOUR idea(s), not someone else’s.  Due date is Friday at midnight.  Mark total:  /15  (12 for detail and insight; 3 for grammar, citing, spelling, etc.)

Part 2:  But wait… there’s MORE.  Before Monday 7th,  at midnight, you then need to response to TWO (2) other postings that your colleagues have posted.  These are much shorter responses (about 50 words) where you agree with, disagree with, or develop other thoughts.  You need to build on the conversation that is developing.  A mere “I agree with Sally’s point cause she’s smart,” won’t do.  (You get my point…)  For this second set of responses, you get another /15 marks.  How easy is that?  I’m looking forward to reading what you have to say about the play, now that we’ve “gotten to the good stuff.”

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~ by Ms. Cox on November 3, 2011.

70 Responses to ““Hamlet, “The Most””

  1. As I see it, Hamlet fills the category of the most sly/cunning and the most intelligent. It is his intelligence that enables him to be the most cunning. I believe that from the moment that Hamlet finished talking to his ghost-father, he devised a most devious plan to seek his revenge on Claudius. This whole time he has only been pretending to be mad. Hamlet has complete control over the situation. When Rosencrantz and Guildenstern have their first interactions with Hamlet, he says to them, “I am but mad north-north-west: when the wind is / southerly I know a hawk from a handsaw” (II.ii.376-377). Not only does Hamlet have the intelligence level to figure out why his “friends” are really there, he also tells them that he is only mad sometimes. According to the direct translation from the text, Hamlet’s madness depends on wind direction. I think Hamlet really means that he is only mad when it will take him in a direction that he wants to go. When madness benefits his plan of revenge, the wind will blow him that way.
    Hamlet is a scholar and knows what he is doing. He has almost become a professional serial killer; waiting for the right time and information. At the end of Act II, Hamlet devises a plan to have the players reenact his father’s murder as the ghost told him. Hamlet says, “I’ll have these players / Play something like the murder of my father / Before mine uncle” (II.ii.592-594). Perhaps confirmation isn’t his only motive for this plan. Hamlet could be trying to get into his uncle’s head; make him feel the guilt and drive him mad. It is possible that Hamlet is a very cynical person and wants to watch his uncle suffer before finally ending his life. Only taking his life may not be good enough for Hamlet.
    When Hamlet kills Polonius in the “closet scene,” his madness is questioned as he does not grieve or have regret. Hamlet says, “Thou wretched, rash, intruding fool, farewell!” (III.iv.33), after lifting up the tapestry and seeing Polonius’ dead body. If I were Hamlet, I wouldn’t really care. This man ended his relationship with Ophelia and couldn’t mind his own business about anything. The world is probably better off without him now. It goes back to the idea of Hamlet being an intelligent serial killer with a master plan. Hamlet is cunningly going to get what he wants in the end.

    • Yes, I agree with you on the fact that Hamlet may not actually be crazy. Throughout the play, Hamlet is given the overwhelming responsibility of avenging his father’s “foul and most unnatural murder.” (I.iv.36) Such a burden can slowly drive a man crazy or destroy him psychologically. At times Hamlet shows signs of insanity, and whenever he interacts with the characters, he is wild and crazy, but it is clear that it is controllable insanity. This is because he exemplifies intelligence and method in his madness, which is shown (as you said) in his interaction with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, “I am but mad north-north-west: when the wind is / southerly I know a hawk from a handsaw.” (II.ii.376-377) Also, in instances when he is alone with Horatio, he is civilized and sane. Hamlet goes through different stages of insanity throughout the story, but his skeptical personality amplifies his persona of seeming insane to the other characters. I respectfully agree with you that Hamlet comes up with the idea to fake madness in the beginning of the play in order to confuse his enemies because for Hamlet to fulfill his duty of getting revenge, he must be totally sane.

    • I agree with the statement that Hamlet is one of the most intelligent characters in the play. I believe that his portrayal of madness is a perfectly crafted plan. Hamlet acts mad so that his uncle doesn’t realize that he in fact knows the truth about the murder of his father. Just like in today’s justice system many criminals plead temporary insanity so try and get away with an indicting criminal offenses. I think that that is Hamlet’s genius plan. In his soliloquy, “To be…” Hamlet knew that King Claudius would be listening to his speech, so he was aware that it was a unique chance to express his ‘madness’. The fact that Hamlet only acts mad around certain people shows his intellectual control. In his conversation with his good friend Horatio, there was no sign of Hamlet’s insanity. So I agree that Hamlet is the most intelligent characters in the play.

    • I enjoyed your post and I agree with you that it is impossible to be sly and cunning but not intelligent. I liked your responses however, I am a bit confused. You thought that neither Ophelia nor Rosencrantz and Guildenstern were victimized but you failed to mention who you thought was. Do you believe Hamlet is play with no victims? If so what is your definition of a victim? I appreciate your point about all females in Elizabethan England being owned however, in my opinion that does not mean they are incapable of being victims. I think saying Ophelia was not victimized because her situation was the norm is similar to saying slaves were not treated unfairly because slavery was acceptable. Ophelia never made a conscious decision regarding her fate or the fate of anyone else. To me the true definition of a victim is someone who has no say and truly doesn’t understand the situation. By my definition I would classify Ophelia as a victim and I am curious to discover what character(s) would be victimized based on your definition.

    • I think that you have made a valid point of Hamlet’s intelligence but I would have to respectively disagree that he is most sly and cunning. Yes it is true that Hamlet has an unusual sneaky way of getting what he wants, although I believe that he has been poisoned by the ghost of Hamlet Sr. Not literally of course, but more in a manner that has confused Hamlet. Either way Hamlet has turned mad and can no longer focus his scholarly brain in a straight direction. In my opinion some one can not become a “serial killer” without being mad. If Hamlet is so sly and cunning then he would have already killed Claudius; except he find himself two months later still trying to figure out if he should take action or not, “To be, or not to be: that is the question:/ Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer/ The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” (3.1.57-59). Revenge is an action associated with madness and Hamlet’s lack of enthusiasm, demonstrates that he is unsure of his plan. When Hamlet does not act he becomes unwilling and is no longer considered to be sly or cunning because he does not act quickly or swiftly.

  2. Ophelia: Who is the Most Victimized
    In William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, he characterizes Ophelia, a character who throughout most of the play seems to have little substance or depth, as a victimized woman. Ophelia is mistreated, scorned, and a woman who is ultimately shamed by the men in her life. This is best portrayed through her familial situation, and her relationship with Hamlet. When Shakespeare first introduces Ophelia to the audience, she is with her brother, Laertes, who is giving her advice about Hamlet’s affections and emphasizes her “chaste treasure,” :

    Then weigh what loss your honour may sustain,
    If with too credent ear you list his songs,
    Or lose your heart, or your chaste treasure open
    To his unmastered importunity. (1.3.33-36)

    Laertes is telling Ophelia to take care of her “virginity,” which would usually be the job of the mother. Shakespeare does not mention a mother figure for Ophelia purposely to impact her character and only contribute to the eventual characterization of a victim. Also, by giving Polonius her love letters to read aloud, which contained things like “excellent white bosom,” Ophelia proves herself to be weak. By trying to play the role of the obedient daughter, she allows herself to be taken advantage of. Polonius’ possessiveness over Ophelia also shows through his dialogue- that he considers his daughter property that he can do whatever he wants with. Even hamlet, who is supposed to be her lover, does not seem to appreciate Ophelia and disrespects her in his speech. He says to her “Get thee to a nunnery: / why wouldst thou be a breeder of sinners?” (3.1.131-132). Shakespeare uses the pun of going to a “nunnery” as a double message to refer to a prostitution house. This is ironic because it implies that Hamlet is insulting Ophelia, but it could also mean that she is prostituting herself to her family (giving them whatever they please). Ophelia is wronged by all of the people around her; she is continuously humiliated and bottles everything up. This eventually leads to her insanity with the combination of her father’s death, and makes her a victimized woman.

    • I would have to respectively disagree. During that time period, women were seen as property owned by men. Once they are married, they are owned by their husband but until then, they are owned by their father. As you said, Polonius forbade Ophelia from dating Hamlet but that probably happened a lot. Many fathers don’t think that a guy is good enough for their daughter and Polonius had the power to stop it. I can relate to Laertes talking to his sister like that. Obviously he doesn’t want his sister becoming a whore not matter what he does. With regards to a brother-sister relationship, many brothers rightfully go by the saying: “do as I say, not as I do.” Men are praised for having many women where as women are scowled upon for having pre-marital sex. To say Ophelia was victimized is almost to say that most women during that time period were victimized; that could very well of been the case.

      • I have to disagree because what you are saying seems a little contradictory. First, if women were all actually seen as “property” owned by men is that not victimization? You said you disagree at first and in closing you say that if Ophelia were victimized it means all women were, which could have been true but I did not mention that because I focused only on her character. Another part of your response I respectfully disagree with is the fact that you said Polonius did not think Hamlet was good enough for his daughter; Hamlet was a prince how much better could it get? Ophelia marrying into royalty would increase her father’s social status and through Polonius’ running to Claudius in every situation and “sucking up” we can see clearly that higher status and power are all that he is after. As well, you say many brothers rightfully go by the saying “do as I say, not as I do,” which is again only supporting my first point not contradicting it. This is because not only is it hypocritical on Laertes’ behalf, but also unfair that his sister must do as he says.

      • I agree with both points of view. Women in Shakespeare’s time were considered “property” of their fathers, and then their husbands when they got married. They did not get a say in most matters, and were considered inferior. However, I think that Shakespeare has purposely made Ophelia’s character seem victimized so that it would contrast with Hamlet’s character, which can basically do what he wants. They both go mad, however Ophelia is pitied and the nobles frown upon her, while Hamlet kills Polonius, and the murder is hushed up. So I think Shakespeare was trying to show that although Hamlet could do more things, he does not act upon them, as opposed to Ophelia who cannot do what she wants.

    • Shakespeare may have portrayed Ophelia with many different characteristics but I will have to disagree that she is a victimized character in this play. The absent of a mother is a hard thing to live with but when referring to relationships, a mother is not necessary for advice. Brothers, sisters and friends are always good reference for aid with unexplainable feelings. The advice that Leartes gives to Ophelia is something that most young women would hear from their older brother. I do not believe that this news would be traumatizing to hear and for that reason, it would not make Ophelia victimize or vulnerable to others. As for the lover’s prospective (Hamlet) I think that he was only trying to protect Ophelia in his own lunatic way. When Hamlet says, “Get thee to a nunnery” (3.1.131) I think that the use the word “nunnery” could also mean that Hamlet is showing to Ophelia that he is really trying to help her. Ophelia is offered help from both sides of he battle and the only trait that goes with Ophelia is failing to see the truth.

    • There are many strong points brought up in this blog, which weigh me to agree that Ophelia is indeed the most victimized. The fact that Ophelia is motherless is a strong point that was brought up in the sense of a victim. This is something I had never considered. Hamlet just lost his father and we see how much it affected him. Ophelia is motherless to begin with and through the play looses her father as well. This emotional toll is more than anyone would be able to bear with. She did nothing to deserve these life occurances, but she is faced with them none the less. Because of being motherless, she is controlled by men, as Zaina mentioned. Her father and brother lecture her on her virtues, and demean her by saying she is not good enough for Hamlet therefore their love cannot be true. After bestowing her with his love and gaining her dearest affections, Hamlet flips the switch by claiming “I loved you not”(III.ii.119). He further degrades her ‘honesty’ by calling her a whore, and demanding her to go to a ‘nunnery’. By one sense he is trying to protect her, but being such a fragile creature, this is a hard blow to Ophelia. The way the men in her life toy with her in such obvious means, makes Ophelia the “most” victimized character.

  3. I believe Hamlet is definitely the most intelligent character in the play. Hamlet says so many little things that show how smart he really is. Every single thing he says he has thought through. He says tons of clever things. When he speaks with Ophelia, she wants to give back the things he gave her. He then says “No, not I. I never gave you aught,” (Act 3, Scene 1, line 97). Ophelia is confused, as he gave her the items, but Hamlet is not thinking of her physically, but more so emotionally and regarding her personality. In that sense, she has changed and is no longer the person Hamlet had given the items to. He also makes a comparison between himself and the recorder. He tells Guildenstern to play the recorder but Guildenstern informs Hamlet that he has no knowledge of how to play the recorder. Then Hamlet accuses him of trying to play him when he has no knowledge of him. He tells Guildenstern: “Call me what instrument you will, though you can fret me, yet you cannot play upon me,” (Act 3, Scene 2, line 361-363). The comparison here shows that not only did Hamlet know that Guildenstern had no knowledge of how to play the recorder, but that he was able to draw on that lack of ability and use it to show that Guildenstern had no idea how to play Hamlet as well. In many instances, Hamlet says things that are just uncanny. Being a scholar, he has the tendency to think absolutely everything through and his words reflect that. No matter what he says throughout the play, it has a purpose and reasoning behind it. I do not believe Hamlet is mad and rather, he is just acting and thought everything through so he would know exactly what to do. Hamlet is one smart cookie.

    • I completely agree with everything you say here, Kyle. It seems as if Hamlet always has everything planned out. He always considers his words, actions and their consequences before proceeding. This especially relates to his plans to get revenge and kill Claudius. When he, for a second, doubts his father’s murder by Claudius, Hamlet creates a play depicting Claudius murdering Old King Hamlet. Hamlet knows that if the King reacts, then he indeed feels guilt for what he did wrong. They way Hamlet always has a plan and knows what will come of his actions makes Hamlet the most intelligent.

    • I completely agree the most intelligent character in the play Hamlet, is Hamlet himself. Throughout the play the reader must ask themselves is Hamlet really mad? In my opinion I say no; Hamlet is not mad at all but very wise and intelligent. He may come off as mad’ I myself think it’s his plan. Hamlet might want many such as Claudius to think he’s mad and not thinking straight when really he is still sharp scholarly Hamlet. My other point is why Hamlet wouldn’t be acting up in that time period after his ghost father tells him that his uncle Claudius whom is now sleeping whit his mother killed King Hamlet. Hamlet is intelligent in the sense that he thinks of everything. He’s strong enough talk himself down from the thought of suicide; he’s wise enough to not kill Claudius while he might be praying but to wait till he is sinning and Hamlet is also intelligent because he thinks not only about himself but what and who will be affected by his revenge. I feel as if Hamlet still loved Ophelia very much and cared for her; in that being said he intelligently acts as if he no longer loves or respects her in the hopes she will not be involved in the fighting and hardships of the revenge he must seek upon Claudius.

  4. Of all the characters in the play, Hamlet is by far the most sly/cunning of them all. Even though Claudius does try to be sneaky at figuring out why Hamlet is “mad”, Claudius doesn’t understand that Hamlet, according to my perspective so far in the play, is NOT mad. As Hamlet explains to Gertrude, he says “that I essentially am not in madness, / but mad in craft” (III, iv, 189-190). In some ways, this is actually the truth, depends on your opinion of Hamlet’s state of mind. In my view, he is actually saying the truth of him being mad in craft, since all he wants to do is to kill Claudius for his father’s sake.

    Hamlet has already taken drastic measures as to prevent anyone from figuring out his plan. First of all, he acts mad so that people wouldn’t grow suspicious of his TRUE intentions, because it would be extremely hard to hide what you are feeling without acting a little strange. Essentially, Hamlet tries to act extremely strange as to hide his inner strange. Strange isn’t it?

    Next, Hamlet doesn’t want any loose ends so he decides to take action… No, not to murder them, but to end their relationships. By doing so, he is lowering the risk of him blurting out his true intentions on killing the Claudius. Even during his conversation with Gertrude in Act III scene iv, he tries not to reveal too much, even though he did reveal that he was going to kill Claudius. He tries to act rather “mad” when breaking up with Ophelia as to prevent her from getting anywhere near him, as if he were to protect her from his sins.

    Finally, we see Hamlet trying to act very deceitfully by modifying the play that is to be presented in front of Claudius and the court so that the scenes in the play will portray what has happened according to Hamlet before and after the death of his father. He asks Horatio to “even with the very comment of thy soul / Observe mine uncle: if his occulted guilt / Do not itself unkennel in one speech, / It is a damned ghost that we have seen, / And my imaginations are as foul / As Vulcan’s stithy” (III, ii, 78-83). He wants to confirm his suspicions that Claudius indeed killed his father by watching his reactions.

    All in all, Hamlet definitely deserves the title as the most sly/cunning person in the play.

  5. In my opinion Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are the most victimized characters in the play. They are first introduced in Act 2 Scene 2 by Claudius. As old friends of Hamlet, Claudius hopes that Hamlet will open up his feelings and the cause of his madness to the two. Indeed, at first Hamlet treats the two kindly, engaging in some witty banter with them. However Hamlet rapidly realizes the true purpose behind Rosencrantz and Guildemstern’s visit that they were called by Claudius in order to deceive him into saying what he knows about his father’s death. Therefore Hamlet’s attitude towards them quickly deteriorates, even going so far as to threaten them. When Hamlet says that “I am but mad north-north-west: when the wind is/ southernly I know a hawk from a handsaw.” (II.ii.376-377) he is telling the pair that they are now his enemies, with all the hidden dangers that it implies. As Hamlet’s enemies the pair can no longer fulfill their duty to Claudius, since Hamlet will never divulge the secret behind his madness towards them. Yet Claudius does not care about Rosencrantz and Guildenstern any more than Hamlet. From their description of Hamlet’s reception of them Claudius knows that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern cannot help him anymore, for Hamlet is obviously wise to his tricks. But instead of sending the pair away Claudius keeps them in the court, ostensibly telling them to keep trying to find the source of Hamlet’s madness. Yet Claudius has another reason for keeping the pair nearby. In Act 3 Scene 3 he divulges to them his plan to send Hamlet away to England by boat. Additionally he tells them that they should “prepare you;/ I your commission will forthwith dispatch,/ and he to England shall along with you.” (III.iii.2-4). Yet in the very line before he tells them that Hamlet’s madness is becoming a danger to them all. Claudius does not care about Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, else he would not think about putting them on a boat with a madman and a murder. As servants of the king Rosencrantz and Guildenstern have the authority to go to England as part of a diplomatic party, yet they are unimportant enough to Claudius that he doesn’t care if Hamlet becomes violent and murders the two. In fact, after Polonius’s murder, Claudius tells them to “seek him out; speak fair, and bring the body/ into the chapel.” (IIII.i.36-37). Hamlet has just killed Claudius’s closest adviser, but instead of sending out guards to find the body Claudius sends Rosencrantz and Guildenstern out to search for it, even while he knows about Hamlet’s attitude towards them. To me it seems that Claudius is almost provoking Hamlet, so that he can arrest him for being a violent lunatic. With their former friend Hamlet treating them as sworn enemies, with the King of Denmark commanding them as if they were disposable, and with no other friends to turn to, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern must be the most victimized characters in the play.

    • Well responded but again I have disagree. Let’s remember that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern were not forced into this situation. In my opinion, they brought it all onto themselves by betraying their best friend for money. The pair is getting their “just-desserts” or “karma.” After Hamlet catches on to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, you were right in saying that Claudius kept them around to try and find out the source of Hamlet’s madness. It could be that I missed it, however I don’t think it ever mentioned that the reason Claudius kept the pair in Denmark was to escort Hamlet to England. That wasn’t until after Polonius was killed. I concur with your point about Claudius not caring about the lives of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern except I still don’t think that it makes them victimized. They are being paid for their services and as such, must do as Claudius tells them. Also, the chances of Hamlet murdering his friends are slim to none (in my opinion of course). If you agree with my opinions of Hamlet not being truly mad, it only follows that Hamlet wouldn’t kill his friends. He would have nothing to gain by it unless they are somehow blamed for Claudius’ plan to have Hamlet killed in England. Great insight though. I enjoyed reading your opinions.

      • Yes, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern were not forced into this situation, but they never betrayed Hamlet for money. Instead they came because of the commands from Claudius and Gertrude and because they were genuinely worried for Hamlet. In Act 2 Scene 2 Guildenstern says “Heavens make our presence and our practices/ pleasant and helpful to him!” (II.ii.38-39) not because the King is paying them to talk to Hamlet but because, as friends, they want him to improve. Thus Hamlet becomes their enemy simply because the King and Queen contacted Rosencrantz and Guildenstern first. If the pair had went straight to Hamlet, then he would have readily divulged his plan to them like he had to Horatio.

        Sorry if I hadn’t made this point clear earlier, but Claudius did not keep them around to escort Hamlet to England. Rather, he kept them because they could be useful to his plans in the future. Escorting Hamlet to England was simply the plan that Claudius finally decided to act on. While Hamlet may not kill Rosencrantz and Guildenstern because they were his friends (heh), Claudius does not know this. Thus he assumes that Hamlet is really and truly mad, and acts accordingly. Thus he uses Rosencrantz and Guildenstern in the ways he does.

        I’m glad that you have enjoyed my opinions, and I have certainly enjoyed yours as well. I never really thought of comparing Hamlet to a serial killer, though the similarities are striking.

        • I definitely see where you are getting that from. Your point regarding the quotation from Act 2 Scene 2 was a good point but from only one point of view. The way I see it, Claudius called these guys up on the phone and said, “come down to England and figure out what’s going on with Hamlet and I will pay you a million dollars.” I think that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are completely kissing Claudius’ ***. Just before your quote, Guildenstern says, “To lay our service freely at your feet, / To be commanded” (II.ii.31-32). It doesn’t matter if he is talking to some random guy of the street or the president of United States; he is sucking up bad. For the amount of money they are getting, the two would probably do almost anything. So Guildenstern just said that he would do absolutely anything that Claudius commands him. If they are acting of their own freewill, they can’t be victimized. Claudius rightly keeps them around, he is paying them enough for it. If I am giving out a huge paycheck, the job better be done right. I do conclude however that by the end of the play, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern will be victimized; wrongfully accused and murdered. I will not go there because Ms. Cox will probably get mad. And lastly, Claudius has to have nothing upstairs if he still thinks that Hamlet is truly mad. There is so much proof that Claudius is a smart man but then again, maybe he is in denial and just doesn’t want to accept the truth. Just something to think about…

    • I have to disagree with this statement. I do not believe that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are victimized at all. They were never forced into anything they didn’t want to do. Given that they are both scholars like Hamlet I am assuming they are not stupid and can foresee unfortunate events. They were asked and paid off by the king to go spy on Hamlet not forced, so they could have respectively decline and I am almost positive Claudius would have understood and found somebody else. As for Claudius sending the two of them out on the boat with Hamlet, I don’t think it was because he doesn’t care about them, I believe it is because it makes the most sense for them to be with Hamlet. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Hamlet’s friends and Hamlet means them no harm and vice versa. Hamlet is not a lunatic and his intention was not to kill Polonius and it’s not like he went on a killing spree either. I don’t believe they are the most victimized I think they are just looking out for themselves, doing what is in their best interests and what will make them the most money and impress the right people.

    • In some ways, as jaredfromenglishclass metioned before, they didn’t really get victimized but simply chose to do the task before them. However Ophelia, she was dumped by Hamlet in the most brutal manor and since she has done… things… she is now traumatized and can’t really live with herself, and in the end she killed herself, accidental or not, due to her insanity.

    • Though I appriciate RIchard bringing attention to the characters of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern who usually go unnoticed, I beg to differ in their role as victims. When I think of a victim I think of someone who is innocent, that is sacraficed unwillingly, in some way. There has to be some sense of loss emotionally, physically, or metaphorically. R and G are not victims by any means because all of their actions where by their choice. No one forced their hands in any of the deeds they commited. In fact, they gained profit through the deals with Claudius. “If it please you/ to show us so much gentry and good will,/ as to expend your time with us a while/ for the supply and profit of our hope,/ your visitation shall receive thanks/ as fits a king’s rememberance”(II.ii.21-26). The Queen and KIng give them accomdations and monetary compesation for helping them out in a harmless way. When Hamlet figures out the true intentions of R and G, not only does he spare them from death, he protects them. He tells them what the King has put them up to so they don’t have to rat out the King, leaving them guiltless. As it stands thus far, R and G are surely not the “most” victimized.

  6. Hamlet: The “Most” Response
    It is said that the name Ophelia came from the greek word Apheleia, a name that means simplicity. Ophelia is the exact opposite and is one of the most complex characters emotionally as well as in her mentality. Ophelia is the most victimized person in the play Hamlet, as demonstrated by the ways that she in oppressed and dominated by the men in the play. She is a kind, sweet, naïve young lady. She is controlled by her father Polonius, who lectures her about her love with Hamlet. She is not given a chance to justify herself or express how she feels. She is portrayed as an inferior to her father and brother. It seems that her father views her as an object rather then being sensitive and affectionate towards the wants and needs of Ophelia. Along with Polonius, her brother Laertes doesn’t view Ophelia as an equal and thinks that he is superior. He is coldhearted to the love and thoughts that Ophelia demonstrates towards Hamlet. Laertes tells his sister to not take Hamlet’s profession of love seriously because this young love won’t last. Laertes explains there love as, “A violet in the youth of primy nature,/ Forward, not permanent, sweet, not lasting” (Shakespeare 45). Ophelia is known to the people of Denmark through her father’s status as chief advisor. Because she does not has a royal status she is not allowed to marry Hamlet. In this example, Ophelia is victimized and discriminated against based on her upbringing. Ophelia may just come across as another character who has gone mad, but I believe that she is the most victimized in the play. If we disregard all of the drama and emotion surrounding her, we must take into account that Ophelia was a young girl. She was extremely obedient to her father’s wishes even when her ordered her to stop seeing Hamlet, as she responded, “I shall obey, my lord” (Shakespeare 51), to his demand. More importantly she was true to her word, and was an obedient loving child. Once Polonius was murdered, she was confused and unprepared for the crisis that she was presented with. She was too young and naïve to control her emotions, and was a victim of all around misfortune.

    • Great point Carly, I agree that Ophelia is most victimised throughout the play. Don’t forget about the way Hamlet treated her; sending love letters describing his eternal love for her, and then later telling her to go to a nunnery, all while hypocritically complaining that Ophelia’s feelings have changed for him. Also find it interesting that Laertes use of flower symbolism returns after Ophelia became depressed and used the flowers to cope with her grief.

  7. In the Shakespeare play Hamlet, I believe that Claudius is one of the most intelligent people in the play. I believe this to be true because Claudius is quick thinking. Claudius used his intelligence and quick thinking ability in his handling of Laertes and his mob breaking into the palace. He was able to quickly calm down Laertes facing him head on and skillfully talking him out of his rage and demand for revenge. Claudius says “Laertes, I have a right to share your grief. . . But if they find me innocent, then be patient and I’ll work to satisfy to the fullest extent your deepest need for revenge” (Act 4, scene 5, 163-173). This quotation is significant because Claudius is telling Laertes to inquire into the matter as deeply as he wishes, being confident that Laertes will find himself aligned with Claudius against Hamlet.
    Another reason as to why I feel that Claudius is the most intelligent is because after seeing the movie of Hamlet and the scene where Hamlet is pulling Ophelia across the room, (Act 3 scene 1). Also in the same scene Polonius and Claudius are watching Hamlet; I feel that Claudius knows that Hamlet is not really crazy or mad at all. I think that he sees that Hamlet as very upset with what has happened. I believe he thinks this because as we have talked about before in class, both Claudius and Hamlet are a lot alike in the way that they are both thinkers. Also if Hamlet was truly mad, I think that Claudius would do more than just send Hamlet to England to protect himself. When Hamlet ends up killing Polonius (Act 3, scene 4) it was because he thought that it was Claudius, Claudius plays up the fact that everyone thinks that Hamlet is going mad, so that it is easier to send Hamlet away from Denmark and himself.

    • I agree with you entirely on this one. Indeed Claudius is intelligent and quick-witted. He knows how to remain calm in the face of death, he knows many ways to extract information, and he know who to choose to help him do so. Remember that Claudius has sent Hamlet overseas? That was probably not of panic, but after witnessing the potential threat and weighing that with the possible solutions. Also remember that there is a fine lining between intelligent and sly/cunning.

    • You’ve argued that Claudius is intelligent because of his quick thinking. In my opinion, this makes him more dangerous because you don’t know what to expect from him. Also, during scene 5 of act 4, when he is talking down Laertes from such rage, he is very manipulative. I would describe this as dangerous because of his ability change Laertes mood so quickly and calmly. Additionally, I disagree with your thoughts on Claudius‘ view of Hamlet. You say Claudius knows he is not mad, but then why would he be sending him to England? I think Claudius knows Hamlet is a crowd favourite, and wants to dispose of him without any evidence he was involved.

    • I agree with what Siera is saying about the fact that Claudius is quick thinking while speaking with Laertes. I think that the words himself well and acts in a way that helps Laertes calm down. For example, when Claudius was talking to Laertes, he yelled at Gertrude to make it seem like she was the bad guy, which brought Claudius and Laertes closer together. I also agree with the fact that Claudius knew that Hamlet was trying to kill him, but I don’t think that Claudius knows for sure if he’s mad. I think Claudius knows that Hamlet is dangerous.

  8. In Shakespeare’s play Hamlet I believe Ophelia is the most victimised character as she has to deal with many harsh and sad pitfalls. Throughout the first four acts many victimizing events have occurred to Ophelia. Firstly Ophelia gets criticized about her relationship with Hamlet from her brother and father; telling her that Hamlet doesn’t truly love her and even then would never marry her. Laertes tells Ophelia Hamlet won’t love her more than a minute; ”For Hamlet, and the trifling of his favour/ hold it a fashion, and a toy in blood/. . . the perfume and suppliance of a minute/no more” (1.3, 5-10). After hearing these hurtful and concerning comments Ophelia’s father orders her to no longer see Hamlet; 



    “Ay, springs to catch woodcocks. I do know

    When the blood burns, how prodigal the soul

    Gives the tongue vows: these blazes, daughter

    . . . Have you so slander any moment’s leisure,

    As to give words or talk with the lord Hamlet

    Look to’ t, I charge you: come yours ways” (1.3, 115-136).

    A second strong factor of how Ophelia is sadly victimized throughout the acts is how Hamlet treats Ophelia after all she thought they had together and all the love they shared. In act 2 scene 1 after Hamlet finds out his father’s killer he takes his sadness and frustration out upon Ophelia. This next quotation is proof of Ophelia being victimized not only by her father and brother but now her love Lord Hamlet; when she was nearly just in her chamber. “My lord, as sewing in my chamber/ . . . as if he had been loosed out of hell/ to speak of horrors, he comes before me” (2.1, 78-85). Every character in the play Hamlet goes through many troublesome times but, pour Ophelia just keeps having the troubles and miss fortunes come towards her. The more that come towards Ophelia the worst they get for her and many of the others are more worried about Hamlet going mad to worry about Ophelia’s problems; leaving her to be victimized. I find one of Ophelia’s most victimizing times is when she tries to give back Hamlet’s letters; because she is hurt and confused by him. Once she gives him the letters he ends up calling her horrible names and told her; he us to love her but not anymore and not to believe and trust men. This part in the play is a braking point in Ophelia’s well being and sanity.


    “Ay, truly; for the power of beauty will sooner



    transform honesty from what it is to a bawd than the

 force of honesty

    can translate beauty into his likeness:
 this was sometimes a paradox,

    but now the time gives

 it proof. I did love you once” ( 3.1, 111-116).

    My third point of Ophelia being victimized is the fact that Hamlet kills her father and she goes mad. This is more final proof of what pushes Ophelia over the edge; and the outcome of all times of her being a victim she has lost all signs of sanity. Ophelia has had to deal with so much sadness and heart break that once she loses her father after she just lost the love and respect of Hamlet she doesn’t know how to deal. Due to the terrible outcomes Ophelia goes mad and becomes hopeless; Hopelessness is another sign of being a victimized.

    “Pray you, let’s have no word of this, but when

    They ask you what it means, say you this:

 [Sings]:
    To-morrow is Saint Valentine’s day,

    All in the morning betime,

    And I a maid at your window,

    To be your Valentine.

    Then up he rose, and donned his clothes,

    And dupped the chamber door

    Let in the maid that out a maid

    Never departed more” (4.5, 45-53).

    To conclude Ophelia most suits the word victimized as throughout the first four acts that’s truly all she was. She got victimized by everyone starting with her father and brother going all the way to Hamlet her first love. How she was victimized was sad and cruel; Hamlet calling her horrible names telling her their love is over and never to trust a man. Ophelia’s brother and father did nothing but control and spy on Ophelia. Ophelia never could truly make her own decisions; the only true decision she ever got to make on her own after being victimized many times was losing all sanity and becoming mad.



    • I completely agree with you! You make a good point where the first four scenes is where Shakespeare portrays Ophelia as weak and vulnerable, this makes her an easy target for these men in the play to “take advantage” of her and her weakness. Polonius uses her by getting her to talk to Hamlet while him and Claudius hide and ease drop their conversation.

  9. The play Hamlet, is not only a very complex and long play but it deals with the many relationships between each of its characters. From the beginning Claudius is bad news, largely due to his recent ascent to the throne. In Act 1 the ghost of Hamlet Sr. reveals to the audience that his brother Claudius killed him. The ghost says “The serpent that did sting thy father’s life/ Now wears his crown” (1.5, 39-40). He is telling directly telling Hamlet Jr. that it was his uncle who killed him. The purpose of this was to have Hamlet Jr. seek revenge for his father’s death. Claudius is a very dangerous person without being forceful or violent. In Act 4 after Polonius is slain, his son Laertes storms in to the castle and accuses Claudius of being responsible for his father’s death. Claudius is able to settle his wife down, and convince Laertes that he is not responsible for the death of Polonius. Claudius is most dangerous because he is able to overpower people without physical force or violence. He states “I am not guiltless of your father’s death/ And am most sensibly in grief for it” (4.5, 46-47). He is telling Laertes that he is grieving the death of Polonius like Laertes is. Claudius’ ability to make Laertes feel as though he does truly care about the death of Polonius is very dangerous because it shows how he is able to manipulate people’s thoughts on him. Not only is Claudius directly most dangerous but he is also dangerous indirectly. He may be indirectly dangerous because of Hamlet. Hamlet stabbed the curtain in Act 3, and killed Polonius. When Hamlet had heard the voice behind the curtain, he ran toward it and stabbed at it. His immediate reaction afterwards was whether or not it was the King. He says “Nay, I know not: is it the King?” (3.4, 28), which indicates that he thought it was Claudius. Hamlet’s want to kill Claudius may harm more people than needed. Claudius’ actions throughout the play make him the most dangerous character.

    • I’ll have to disagree with the argument that Claudius is the most dangerous character in the play. Does Claudius kill Hamlet’s father to gain his wife and throne? Yes. Does Claudius plot to kill Hamlet? Yes. Can Claudius overpower people with his logic and cunning? Yes. However the key motives behind Claudius is his thirst for power and his desire to protect himself. Claudius is dangerous only to those who threaten him and his power, or those who stand in the way of his desires and goals. Claudius is not dangerous to everyone, like Hamlet could be. If you threaten Claudius’s power, like Hamlet, then you know that he will try to stop you and thus you can act accordingly. If you stand in the way of his desires and goals, like Hamlet Senior, then you must be powerful already, and thus should be already on the lookout for threats to your power. Thus Claudius cannot be the most dangerous character in the play, for the danger posed by him is a danger that can be spotted early and neutralized, as Hamlet does throughout the play.

    • I agree, Claudius is the most dangerous character in Hamlet. Claudius is dangerous because he is willing to do anything to get what he wants. He has no problem killing his own brother to become the king, and he doesn’t even feel remorseful about it. This also shows that Claudius cannot be trusted, and everything he does has been carefully planned beforehand. I also think you made a good point saying that Claudius can manipulate people, and scare them without using physical force or violence.

    • I agree with Michael ‘s statement when he said that Claudius is a dangerous person in the play without being physical or violent. This is because king Claudius is a manipulative character who makes other characters do things, sometimes without the audience even being aware of his intentions. For example when Laertes storms into the castle accusing Claudius of murdering his father. Claudius makes Laertes feel like Gertrude is the one who is being threatening by grabbing his arm. Another example is when Claudius and Laertes are discussing how they plan to murder Hamlet. It seems as though Claudius had already been planning Hamlet’s death for sometime and is using Laertes as a prop in his master plan. Claudius is a complex character and this is just one how he is a important presence in the play Hamlet.

    • From reading through Michael’s blog I find it very interesting and agree with his points and conclusion. I find the conversation between Claudius and Laertes really supportive because how Michael says “he is able to manipulate people’s thoughts” and shows that he is dangerous. I also find it very cleaver that he says that Claudius is also dangerous indirectly. Before this, I never thought about Claudius being dangerous indirectly but now after thinking about it I totally agree with his point and shows that Claudius is the most dangerous character in Hamlet.

    • I agree with the fact that Claudius is the most dangerous, as Claudius was both directly and indirectly dangerous to all of the other characters. Claudius is directly dangerous because he is capable of killing family and manipulating people to do what he wants, as well as indirectly dangerous, as Mike said, in the fact that he is affecting how Hamlet behaves.

  10. After reading through the majority of the play, a conclusion can be decided upon the character trait that can be put upon Polonius. Polonius is a raging hypocrite on several occasions through out the play. There is a conversation in Act 1 Scene 3 where Polonius tells his son Laertes some helpful advice for his trip to France. He says “Thou canst not then be false to any man.” (I,iii,80) which is a very fancy way of saying be true to yourself. This wouldn’t be a problem, but in Act 2 Scene 1 Polonius goes and tells Reynaldo “ Before you visit him, to make inquiry of his behaviour.” So basically, he tells Laertes to be true to himself, but sends someone to spy on him. Polonius’ long-winded, sly hypocritical actions could be argued as the cause of his death, but it is for sure what made him a dangerous persona.

    • I am going to come across as a pessimist, but, again, I would have to disagree with your argument. Whenever someone tries to argue that their parents are hypocrites, I get very passionate. Take my two older sisters for example (they have kids of their own). They often try to acclaim my father for being a hypocrite. While, in theory, I do agree he does the very things he tells me not to, it’s all in good faith. As a parent you want the best for your children, so if that means telling them not to do something bad that you do, by all means tell them. In no way do I find this as hypocrisy, rather “experienced insight”. I know that was a little off topic, but nevertheless it was important to the idea.

      I feel that Polonius is testing his son by sending Reynaldo to spy on him. I think Polonius is saying that he wants Reynaldo to tempt Laertes him with bad habits such as prostitutes, drinking and gambling, in order to test his son’s character. I think a better trait for within “Hamlet” would be most sly/cunning due to his plans to test his son’s character. I also think the best trait for Polonius from a reader’s point of view would be most victimized. Constantly people blame him for being devious and hypocritical. I think he is genuinely trying to a good parental figure.

      Furthermore, I think that you might have the meaning of the quotation, “Thou canst not then be false to any man.” (I.iii.80) mixed up with “This above all: to thine own self be true,” (I.III.78). I understand how the mix up could occur; they’re very similar. The first quotation he is saying be true to other; show your real colours, and the second he is saying be true to yourself.

      Just food for thought :c) ❤

  11. I would argue that Hamlet is the most dangerous character in the play. Although he is known to be the thinker and not a fighter, he has been acting very strange over the past few scenes. Upon discovering that his father was murdered, he has been going through a phase of mild insanity. Whether it is screaming at Ophellia or plotting in his insanity devious ways to kill his uncle, he seems to be growing agitated a giddy, the people of the court are starting to become suspicious. From what I have seen, the more Hamlet thinks about the death of his father and gets questioned about his actions the angrier he gets. He has gone crazy at Ophellia, yelling at her pushing her around and degrading her, as much as he thought he loved her, it just didn’t seem to be enough to stop him or keep him sane. Hamlet also became so enraged at the fact his friends Rosencrantz and Guildenstern were trying to find out information about his mental state that he started to yell at them as well. Hamlet seems to go through normal phases but occasionally when he gets into a passionate moments he does not realize what he is doing. When Hamlet became so angry with his mother he ended up acting out and killing innocent Polonius, Hamlet did not like Polonius but he never had any intention of murdering him. I believe that Hamlet is not quite sure how to cope with the stress of his father’s death or his responsibility to gain revenge. Anyone Hamlet knows could be at risk of being hurt by him by being at the wrong place at the wrong time. Hamlet is not a bad person but people like Claudius and Gertrude are starting to become very frightened but him and are not sure why he is acting this way or what he is capable of. “His liberty is full of threats to all; To you yourself, to us, to everyone” (4.2.2641). Claudius wants to send him away, “But we will ship him hence: and this vile deed. We must, with all our majesty and skill, Both countenance and excuse”(4.2.2657). As the play continues I assume the more Hamlet plots and thinks about his father the more he will be pushed to the edge. I think Hamlet will end up hurting others that are close to him without meaning to.

    • I will have to disagree with you. Although you say that Hamlet is the most dangerous, I believe that he is not. He tends to show more of a sly and intelligent personality. His crazy antics against Ophelia have intelligence to them because he feels that she should stop loving him now to not get hurt further. He goes off on her around the time of his soliloquy about suicide. Hamlet is not most dangerous and instead shows other traits such as most intelligent and even most humorous for his antics in Act 3, Scene 2 when he speaks of ‘country matters.’

    • Although your argument is very compelling, I feel that Hamlet cannot be deemed most dangerous. All throughout the play there is only one act that one could consider “dangerous” and that is the killing of Polonius. However, Hamlet, allegedly being in a state of mild insanity, had no control or limitation to his actions. Now I agree some would argue “well it’s the very fact that he is lacking mental capacity that makes him dangerous; he’s completely unpredictable,” but I feel (strongly) that Hamlet is simply just acting insane. The fact that he killed Polonius was merely for dramatic effect. Besides, Polonius was never very kind to Hamlet. Consider the following quotation: “As I perchance hereafter shall I think meet/To put an antic disposition on” (I.v.172-173).
      I would, however, deem Claudius as most dangerous. With one murder under his belt he plans to kill again. It’s made very clear throughout the play that many people don’t like Claudius. His schemes and sly plans mixed with the passion of a murderer would surely proclaim Claudius most dangerous in “Hamlet.”

    • I also thought that hamlet was the most dangerous. I like the point about him getting more and more enraged with each time that he is confronted by Gertrude and Claudius. It seems that each time he lashes out it seems to get worse and worse, the last time being when he attacked Polonius in a rage. I would also throw in that he is dangerous to himself as well, with all the problems he is having in his life and with the thoughts of suicide already in his head. But all in all I liked your points sir.

    • I’d like to add that Hamlet is dangerous, but he’s more of a danger to himself at the moment rather than to Claudius. This is because of him wanting to go through with it but holding back for any reason he can find. It might be his madness that’s preventing him so what attributes to his dangerousness is his inability to act soundly. Laertes for example is more than willing to act at any time, and he has just been introduced to his hardship.

  12. Taken advantage of, persuaded, lied to and spied on. These are a few of the complications Laertes faces in Hamlet. A first glance at Laertes’ ill-treatment is in scene 1 of act 2 when Polonius (Laertes father) commands Reynaldo to follow his son to France to spy on him. The servant is told to ask his friends about “usual slips / As are companions noted and most known / To youth and liberty.” (II.i.22-24). This doesn’t seem demeaning until he continues to say he may speak of Laertes in terms of “drinking, fencing, swearing, quarreling, / [and] Drabbing” (II.i.25-26). It is not acceptable to encourage people to speculate in such a way that might be shameful to their reputation, especially considering this is Laertes father speaking about his son with such disrespect. This is not the end of Laertes dilemmas and trauma.
    Laertes is victimized again after his father is killed by Hamlet. He confronts Claudius, with much anger, which is to be expected considering the circumstances. Claudius tries to manipulate him by making a connection. He says: “Let him go, Gertrude; do not fear our person: / There’s such divinity doth hedge a king, / That treason can but peep to what it would, / Acts thou art thus incensed.” (IV.v.120-124). In this quotation, Claudius tries to bring himself down to Laertes level and look like a victim. I think arrogance outweighs innocence in this situation considering he thinks god will watch ever him even though he has committed the worst crime possible. He continues to take advantage of Laertes throughout this scene. He preys on Laertes mourning to coax him into believing revenge for his fathers death is reasonable. With this, he will be able to have Hamlet killed, clearing him of his remaining shame.
    “If by direct or collateral hand
    They find us touch’d, we will our kingdom give,
    Our crown, our life, and all that we call ours,
    To you in satisfaction; but if not, …
    We shall jointly labour with your soul
    To give it due content.” (IV.v.203-209).
    With the two examples above, it is evident that Laertes is the most victimized character in Hamlet. He is taken advantage of while in a venerable emotional state by Claudius and spied on by his own father.

  13. I think that Hamlet is the most intelligent character in the play Hamlet. We can see Hamlet’s intelligence in his plan to confirm whether or not Claudius killed his father. Hamlet says, “ one scene of it comes near the circumstance/ … Observe mine uncle: if his occulted guilt/ Do not itself unkennel in one speech.” (III. ii, 77-80). He tells the players to re-enact the murder of Hamlet Sr. and asks Horatio to look at Claudius’s reaction. I think this is a very clever way to figure out if Claudius is guilty, because no one else in the audience will find out Hamlet is suspecting Claudius. It is also a relatively safe plan. Claudius cannot yell or get mad at Hamlet in front of the whole court, because then they will be suspicious of him, so Hamlet is safe from Claudius’s wrath – for the time being. Another way Hamlet shows he is smart is by pretending he is mad. By pretending he is mad, Hamlet keeps himself safe, and masks his future plans from Claudius. He also has an excuse to not be accountable for his actions. After Hamlet kills Polonius, Gertrude tells Claudius, “ He whips his rapier out, and cries, “A rat! A rat!”/ And in this brainish apprehension kills/ The unseen good old man” (IV. i, 10-12). Claudius believes that Hamlet is both dangerous and mad, so he sends him away from Denmark, without any other punishment. I think Hamlet purposely pretends he is mad, and then uses it to his advantage. If everyone thinks Hamlet is mad, then they won’t question his behavior. I think he plans this out so that he could get away with killing Claudius and blaming it on his madness. Hamlet has already killed Polonius, and Gertrude helped convince Claudius that her son is crazy. Seeing that it worked once, Hamlet can do the same thing to Claudius without getting in trouble. Hamlet is smart because he pretends to be mad so that he can hide his intentions, and most importantly protect himself.

    • I disagree with hamlet being the most intelligent in the play. If he were to be the most intelligent in the play then he would have found a way to already have exacted his revenge. I also think that he is not the most intelligent because he is losing his temper and making it obvious that he is a threat to the king. I believe that if he were more intelligent he would be more secretive in his hate for the king, because eventually the king is going to want him murdered. But I like your points showing that he does do some intelligent things. I am just playing devil’s advocate for cox’s sake.

  14. In the play Hamlet, there are several people in the play that you could consider dangerous. Different actions and reasons in this play start to show who the most dangerous character is. The most dangerous character in this play would be Hamlet. He is the most dangerous because not only is he dangerous to other people but he is also dangerous to himself. We know he is dangerous to other people because he has reasons to be, he has the reason for revenge, he has the reason of hatred, and he has the reason of disgust. He is dangerous to himself too because he is going mad and does not want to deal with the problems in his life. His reason for revenge is against the king, he is dangerous to the king because the king murdered hamlets father and hamlet swore revenge “and thy commandment all alone shall live / within the book and volume of my brain, / unmixed with base matter: yes, by heaven!” (1, 5. 103-105). He has reason to hate Polonius and is dangerous to Polonius because he is a nosy court adviser and is trying to spy on Hamlet constantly and catch him off guard. We also know his hate for Polonius because “How now! A rat? Dead, for a ducat, dead.” (3, 4. 25) and he kills Polonius in front of his mother. He may not have known that it was Polonius behind that curtain, but when he realized that it was Polonius that he had killed, there was no remorse. Another reason he is dangerous is because of his disgust. He is disgusted with the way his mother has been acting and the things she is doing “Stew’d in corruption, honeying and making love / over the nasty sty” (3, 4. 95-96). He is dangerous to her because he may want to ruin everything she has done and ruin the man she is in love with. He is also the most dangerous because he is a danger to himself, he hates his life and wants to kill himself “ to be, or not to be: that is the question… to die: to sleep.” (3, 1. 57-61). So we know he is the most dangerous because he has revenge, hatred and disgust to make him dangerous.

    • I agree with this Chris, not just because I did the same, but because it is very true! I think Hamlet is starting to go nuts and he is acting in a very dangerous way. I think Hamlet will start to get too caught up in his plot for revenge and he will end up hurting people he did not mean to. He is at the verge of snapping and anyone that says or does the wrong thing has the potential to suffer. Unfortunately has already acted out and killed Polonius so it is just a matter of time before somebody gets in his way.

    • Chris’s thought about Hamlet being the most dangerous is a great thought; Hamlet may be “mad” and dangerous but if I had to pick the most dangerous person in Hamlet it would be Claudius. Claudius by far has the most power and idea’s to be the most dangerous. He already killed his own brother; a king and for a while got away with it. Hamlet only found out it was he who did the crime by the ghost. As king Claudius possesses many powers and privileges. Claudius has many working for him, everyone one must listen to his commands and respect him. Claudius has money to bribe many such as Guildenstern and Rosencrantz. Not only is Claudius dangerous as he’s killed before, he has the power and money, but also because I’d say he’s a master at manipulating and controlling. He had Claudius spying with him; he had Guildenstern and Rosencrantz thinking they were helping a friend and in Act 4 he has Laertes near the end raped around his finger getting him to do the dirty work and kill Hamlet.

    • Good post Chris, I especially liked the look at the danger he possess to himself, something I overlooked when considering what to write about. I agree that Hamlet’s actions are reckless and are harmful to others, The thing I question is does he have the courage to go through to intentionally put someone in danger? He was unable to kill Claudius when he had the chance, and his killing of Polonius could be argued as justified for his spying on Hamlet and his mother. Looking at it from Shakespeare’s view on morals and ethics, I’m not sure if Hamlet is supposed to be a coward or a dangerous man.

  15. Out of all the characters in the play, there are only three who can be called vicious: Hamlet, Claudius and Laertes. All the other characters are not. Throughout the play, we see that Hamlet acts crazy, and maybe he is actually crazy, or maybe not. Even if he is not crazy though, he is still the most vicious. Some people would disagree and argue that Claudius is the most vicious, but that is not true. All he did was to kill his brother by poisoning him while he was sleeping, and try to convince Laertes to kill Hamlet. That does not mean he is vicious though, it just shows that he’s dangerous. However Hamlet kills Polonius himself head-on, he doesn’t have someone else do it, and he also wants to kill Claudius himself. Since Hamlet does the action himself, he is more vicious, because sending someone to kill someone else only shows that you have vicious thoughts, but are too coward to do it yourself. But to be vicious, you must do the action yourself, and have the thought yourself. Laertes wants to kill in order to have revenge, but he is basically told to kill Hamlet, it was not his own thought. Therefore, Laertes is also not the most vicious, but still remains Hamlet. Hamlet is not the only one who goes crazy though in the play. There is also Ophelia. However, she is not vicious. Therefore craziness is not what makes someone vicious. The only things that makes someone vicious is his own thoughts and actions, and since Hamlet is the only one who.

    • I disagree with you when you mention that Laertes or Hamlet is vicious. If you look the term up in the dictionary it comes up: to be cruel or violent. If anything Hamlet and Laertes are loyal to their fathers and true their selves. Hamlet maybe “crazy” or “mad” but this is only because he is trying to fight for the right thing. Which is to put Claudius in his place, hell, where he belongs. As for Laertes, he may want to kill for revenge. But wouldn’t you? If someone killed your father, for not a good enough reason?
      Therefore, the only vicious one is Claudius. Since he is the one who did MURDER Hamlet Senior, lied to his entire country, and is sly!

  16. All the characters in Shakespeare’s play Hamlet have multiple facets to their personality. However, there is one man who stands above the rest when examined based on cunning and slyness: that man is Claudius. Before the play began Claudius proved he was sly and cunning. Claudius murdered his brother and no one ever suspected it was him. Claudius made up a cover story which everyone believed until Hamlet Sr. revealed the truth to his son, “‘Tis given out that, sleeping in mine orchard,/ A serpent stung me; so the whole ear of Denmark/ Is by a forged process of my death”(1.V.35-37). Claudius not only covered his tracks by creating a story but he also manipulated the public to eliminate any suspicion around himself. By refusing Hamlet’s request to return to school, Claudius, his new wife, and Hamlet present a united front in the public eye, “Four your intent/ In going back to school in Wittenberg,/ It is most retrograde to our desire;/ And, we beseech you, bend you to remain/ Here”(1.II.12). Claudius cunningly succeeded in manipulating both his wife and the public to protect himself from scrutiny and suspicion. Claudius proves he is sly again in act two when he invites Hamlet’s friends, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, to spy on Hamlet. Claudius picked friends, “That, being so young of days brought up with him/ And sith so our neighbour’d to his youth and haviour”(2.II.11-12) to try an extract the truth from Hamlet. He manipulated Rosencrantz and Guildenstern by telling them they would be helping Hamlet. Hamlet’s friends’ betrayal consequently isolated Hamlet because he lost long-time friends and confidantes. Claudius proved he was cunning again in act four. He was able to calm down a distraught Laertes through cunning manipulation. This manipulation stated when Claudius told Gertrude to stop restraining Laertes, “Let him go, Gertrude; do not fear our person”(4.V.120). This led Laertes to believe Claudius was on his side and could be trusted. As the scene progressed Claudius reinstated Laertes faith in him by saying “I am guiltless of your father’s death,/ And am most sensibly in grief for it”(4.V.147-148). Claudius then later emphasizes how guilt free he was by saying, “If by direct or by collateral hand/ They find us touch’d, we will our kingdom give,/ Our crown, our life, and all that we call ours,/ To you in satisfaction”(4.V.203-206). Claudius managed to avoid catastrophe because of his ability to be sly and cunning. All of Claudius’s plans were well thought out and benefitted him whether they succeeded or failed. He slyly manipulated his friends, his family and the public in order to achieve his goals. He was able to manipulate people well because of cunning mind which is why I believe he is the most sly and cunning character in Hamlet.

  17. In Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, I believe that Ophelia is no doubt the most victimized character. In the play she has to deal with being victimized by everyone that is considered to be the closest to her, it begins with her brother Laertes. Secondly followed by her father, Polonius and finally by her true love, Hamlet. In the beginning of the play during Act 1 Scene 3, Ophelia shows how weak she truly is when she is being victimized by firstly her brother. In this quote Laertes is telling her that his so called love for her will not last. ”For Hamlet, and the trifling of his favour, hold it a fashion, and a toy in blood, forward, not permanent, sweet, not lasting, the perfume and suppliance of a minute; no more” (Act 1, Scene 3, 5-10). After all that her father comes in tells her she is forbidden to no longer see or speak to Hamlet anymore. In the following quotation Ophelia demonstrates how vulnerable she really is, “Affection? Pooh! You speak like a green girl, unsifted in such perilous circumstance, do you believe his tenders, as you call them?”(Act 1, Scene 3, 101-103). In that quotation Polonius is asking his daughter does, she truly believe he is really in love with her and she replies with; “I do not know, my lord, what I should think”. This quotation is significant because it shows how scared she weak she really is and how her father manipulates her so she believes everything he tells her which makes her vulnerable to him and so she will do whatever she is told because she has no say in anything. In conclusion I believe that Ophelia is a victimized woman who has no say in anything and obeys everything everyone says, which is very apparent in this first act when Shakespeare first introduces her. She is taken advantage, degraded of and used thought out the play. She has such little strength and power which makes her such an easy target to be victimized. She made insanity her only escape and I believe it is only going to get worse from there.

    • I completely agree with you and Ophelia is most victimized. She continually receives verbal abuse from various characters in the play, including her lover Hamlet who takes a stab at her. Although she receives this abuse, she does not necessarily defend herself. Instead she receives all of this, then goes mad, and finally dies. I would also add that maybe she did not exactly go mad and instead it was all an act. It’s just a thought to add, the only person who would know Ophelia’s thoughts and true intentions of her actions would be William Shakespeare himself.

  18. So far through the reading of Hamlet, I believe that many characters display the trait of intelligence but I find that the most intelligent one is king Claudius. The reason why I believe Claudius is the most intelligent is because of his actions and ideas so far in this play. The first explain is about Hamlet’s stay at the castle because once things start to go bad and Claudius finds that Hamlet wants to kill him, he decides to create a plan to deal with him. The plan is ;

    “Will be some danger: which for to prevent,
    I have in quick determination
    Thus set it down: he shall with speed to England
    For the demand if our neglected tribute:
    Haply, the seas, and the countries different
    With variable objects shall expel
    This something-settled matter in his heart,” (III,I, 169-175).

    The extra part to this plan was on his way there he will get murdered. This plan is brilliant because it is removing the danger on him and getting ride of the danger forever at the same time. Later on, another explain that supports Claudius’ intelligence is when he is talking to Laertes. The reason why this supports it is because at this section of the play, Laertes storms in the castle wanting to take revenge on Claudius for his fathers death. During this sections Claudius tell Laertes;

    “Laertes, I must commune with your grief,
    Or you deny me right. Go but apart,
    Make choice of whom your wisest friends you will,
    And they shall hear and judge ‘twixt you and me.
    / And we shall jointly labour with your soul
    To give it due content(IV,V,199-209).

    From this text Claudius turns Laertes thoughts from getting revenge on him, to wanting Claudius’ help to find the real killer and take revenge on him. Claudius again shows his intelligence here by taking the heat off of him and making it on someone else. Overall I believe Claudius is the most intelligent character in this play because in each of these scenarios he finds away to deal with them while keeping himself safe.

  19. Throughout Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, there is one character that reigns supreme as the most sly/cunning; Hamlet. When Hamlet discovered the news about his father, he immediately began formulating a plan. Hamlet informs Horatio and Marcellus that he is going to act crazy in order to trick Claudius and henceforth with the avenging of his fathers death:
    How Strange or odd soe’er I bear myself,
    As I perchance hereafter shall I think meet
    To put an antic disposition on,
    That you, at such times seeing me, never shall,
    With arms encumber’d thus, or this head-shake,
    Or by Pronouncing of some doubtful phrase, (I, v, 171-176)
    Furthermore I can justify my initial argument by saying Hamlet is careful about who to tell about his antics. No straight answer is ever given to Rosencrantz or Guildenstern from Hamlet. Although he doesn’t admit to being crazy, he does say he is distracted and by no means well. “He does confess he feels himself distracted, / But from what cause he will by no means speak” (III, i, 5-6). In the movie during act 3 scene 2 Hamlet is speaking with Ophelia (just after “to be or not to be” soliloquy). Hamlet, in his newfound persona, is acting slightly crazy until the very instant where he figures out that Claudius and Polonius are eaves dropping. When Hamlet discovers that he is being spied on he begins with his acting, overkilling that fact that he is mentally unstable. This is a factor of Hamlet’s sly/cunningness because he is reiterating the fact that he is supposed to be crazy, to get his point thoroughly across to Claudius.

    • I think you have a great idea here, Brandon. Personally, I would say Hamlet is not very sly or cunning, but rather intelligent. Hamlet is not trying to deceive people for his own benefit, and I wouldn’t consider him rude or arrogant. His actions throughout the play are what his father had ordered him to do; he was told to get revenge on Claudius. The way Hamlet goes about this; however, make his far more intelligent than he is cunning. Hamlet knows how to act to make the people around him react differently, which is a very knowledgable skill.

    • I have a different opinion of Hamlet on these terms. I think after his fathers death, and then seeing the ghost not too long after, Hamlet has lost his mind. He acts differently around people, is raged at random times and is slow to act. You have said he has devised a plan to get revenge for his fathers death, but he has not yet followed through with it even though he has had ample opportunities to do so. If asked to choose a characteristic for Hamlet, I would chose untrustworthy because he is telling lies and different stories to different people in the play.

  20. In William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Hamlet’s actions and speeches display his knowledge and intelligence. In my opinion, the way Hamlet treats Ophelia, as well as his craziness and general, are a façade put on for a purpose.
    Hamlet is probably distant and cruel to Ophelia in order to make her hate him, since they cannot marry. When Hamlet debates suicide in Act 3, Scene 1, he refers to suicide as a solution to heartbreak: “To die: to sleep:/ No more; and by a sleep to say we end/ The heart-ache, and the thousand natural shocks/ That flesh is heir to” (III. 1.61-4). Hamlet knows that if he were to commit suicide while Ophelia was still in love with him, he would hurt her tremendously. To prepare her for this, he treats her negatively to make her hate him, so that his future actions will not upset her as much if she is not involved with him. Hamlet’s solution for preparing Ophelia for the “death” of her boyfriend is brilliant, he seems to understand human psychology well.
    Throughout the play, Hamlet seems to become increasingly insane and irrational. He does this in response to a combination of things: his father’s death, his mother and uncle’s hasty marriage and the fact that his uncle Claudius will not let him return to England. Hamlet believes that his father was murdered by Claudius and will do anything to prove this. Hamlet’s play, The Mouse-trap, is another example of his intelligence. He uses actors to recreate a play about his father’s murder, keeping a close eye on Claudius. If Claudius reacted, which he did, then Claudius most likely killed Hamlet’s father. I believe that Hamlet also acts crazy as an excuse for his thoughts and actions, which are not noble for a prince. Hamlet’s mother, Gertrude, excuses his accidental murder of Polonius because he’s crazy, even though he truly planned on killing her husband. Queen Gertrude tells her husband, “Mad as the sea and wind, when both contend/ Which is mightier: in his lawless fit,/ Behind the arras hearing something stir,/ He whips his rapier out, and cries, ‘A rat! A rat!’/ And in this brainish apprehension kills/ The unseen good old man” (IV. 1. 8-12). Hamlet uses his wit and knowledge to his advantage, and gets his way with the King, Queen and the rest of the court.
    Throughout the play, Hamlet’s actions may be deceiving, but they are always successful and beneficial. Hamlet acts differently to manipulate others, he truly knows how people interact with each other, which proves that he was the most intelligent in Hamlet.

  21. An Intelligent person will have the ability to manipulate others and do certain things without being caught. Therefore, Claudius, the King of Denmark, is an intelligent and creative master of discussed hiding behind well crafted words. Claudius’ cleverness was revealed when he brought a furious Laertes to a calm state:

    Why, now you speak

    Like a good child and a true gentleman.

    That I am guiltless of your father’s death,

    And am most sensible in grief for it.

    It shall as level to your judgment pierce

    As day does to your eye. (4. 5, 145-149)

    Laertes is mad because he thinks that Claudius killed his father but when clever Claudius show’s grief for his father’s death, it persuades Laertes to think that this King of Denmark is not a murderer. However, Claudius did murder someone, and this victim was the previous King of Denmark, King Hamlet. Nevertheless, through Claudius’ well crafted intelligence, no one found out the truth of King Hamlets death. It was only until a ghost showed up and told Hamlet the truth that people were starting to suspect that the previous king was murdered. Yet, Claudius still held on to his title as King of Denmark. He knows how to hide a dark secret, and as many wise men would say, “keep your friends close but your enemies closer”. When he sends Hamlet to England, this act can be interpreted as either an act of fear or an act of a genius, “Do it, England; / For like the hectic in my blood he rages, / And thou must cure me: till I know ‘tis done” (4. 3, 66-68). Claudius is doing the right thing here because he can determine who his friends are and when they have become a threat to his thrown. The idea of keeping an enemy close is only useful to find out why they are acting so strangely, and once the cause of the problems is found, and identified as a threat, a solution may be put in to place. Claudius is both a thinker and an action taker. He knows when it is time for planning and when it is time to take action in order to solve the problem. Claudius has proven himself to be the most intelligent man by playing both sides of the field and almost always getting his way.

    • I strongly agree with Luca here. I too believe that Claudius is the most intelligent person in the play Hamlet. I really like the evidence that Luca has provided to support his thoughts. The piece of evidence that I like the most is about Claudius’ quick thinking of a plan to deal with Hamlet. The reason why I like that the best is because it shows that Claudius is quick thinking and creates a brilliant plan in no time, showing that he is very intelligent. Overall I agree with Luca’s thoughts and have no complaints.

  22. When talking “mosts” in Shakespeare’s play, “Hamlet”, I immediately think of Hamlet. One would assume it isn’t coincidence the play is named after a character with little weight on the play. Hamlet is the character the play allows to reflect the “most”. Then I begin to consider was the “most” important occurring theme/concept outlined in the play, or the scene that best summarized the purpose of the play in its entirety. The “Mousetrap” scene encompasses what I believe to be the objective of “Hamlet”. If a play is a representation of life situations, the “Mousetrap” scene ideally outlines the idea of life being a game. In order to play a game there are certain advantages, tactics, and outcomes that better you chances of success including: players playing players (victims), mental capacity (intelligence), actions (danger), lies (untrustworthy), saying one thing and doing another (hypocrisy), but “most” influentially it is subtly masking your true intentions. Cunning disposition is the characteristic that plays the greatest role on the outcome of the play. Hamlet demonstrates the “most” cunning disposition of all the characters in “Hamlet”.
    ———–
    Mousetrap is a game of life and death where only the fittest survive and raise to power over those who they defeated.
    There are three parts to playing this game of life:
    1. players
    2. plays
    3. played
    ———–
    1. The player:
    Hamlet is the master of masks, a joker, to give it name. The thing that sets cunning apart from other characteristics is its ability to embody many other characteristics. Throughout the play we see elements of Hamlet such as his intelligence, indecisiveness, benevolence, malevolence, and emotions. Unfortunately, you never know if it is sincere, feigned, or madness. Hamlet is able to create this 3-dimensional vortex allows him to have the greatest capacity of cunningness. “I am but mad north-north-west: when the wind is southernly I know a hawk from a handsaw”(II.ii.376-377). While the rest of the world is constantly acting and reacting, Hamlet remains ambiguous. You never know whether to believe what he says or trust what he doesn’t do. You don’t know whether to assume he is mad and is way out of his mind, or if he if fully in his mind and setting the calm before the storm. Hamlet is the master of cunning.
    2. The plays:
    Act 3 Scene 2, the “Mousetrap” scene, begins with Hamlet advising the players how to act out the scene. “Be not too tame neither, but let your own discretion/ be your tutor: suit the action to the word, the word/ to the action; with this special observance, that you/ o’erstep not the modesty of nature; for anything so/ overdone is from the purpose of playing, whose end,/ both at the first and now, was and is, to hold, as ’twere,/ the mirror up to nature; show virtue her own/ feature, scorn her own image, and the very age and/ body of the time his form and pressure”(III.ii.16-24). There are many thematically and characteristically relevant to Hamlet plan. Ironically, the audience finds out Hamlet the true behind his intended character through his interaction with players. Hamlet cunning is genius in the way he can perfectly balance a tornado of complex plans vs. actions and truth vs. facades. This scene allows insight into madness as a deceptive act, but not into what he has planed for his next move.
    3. The played:
    Hamlet is able to manipulate many characters in the play. He plays the weak Ophelia, and Rozencrantz and Guildenstern; the mediocre Polonius and Gertrude; and the strong Hortatio, Claudius, and us as an audience. Ultimately to win the game, not only do you want to play the other players, you want to gain full control of them and defeat them. A cunning mans approach to achieve this is by having your components believe they have power over you by portraying the feeling that they almost have you trapped. This sly offensive technique in turn give ultimate power to you when you trap them when they think you’re in defensive mode. Hamlet uses this reverse defensive-offensive technique with many of the characters mentioned. The end of the “Mousetrap” scene is an example Hamlet trapping R & G in their own game. “You would play upon me; you would seem/ to know my stops;…you would sound me from my lowest note/ to the top of my compass:….Call me what instrument you/ will, though you can fret me, yet you cannot play/ upon me”(III.ii.355-363). R & G thought they had easily fooled Hamlet about their loyalty to the King over Hamlet, but outcome turned to be the opposite of their assumptions.

    Hamlets influential ability to make you question his nature more then any other character is a result of his “most” cunning character.

    • I thought you response was insightful and very creative however, I respectively disagree with your idea. I enjoyed your comparison between the “Mousetrap” scene and the game of life and it made me see the scene in a different light. Your point about Hamlet being the most cunning because he makes his audience think and reflect is valid yet I do not agree. Hamlet’s goal in this play was not to entertain or teach his audience, his goal was to get revenge. It may have been Shakespeare’s goal to force his audience to further examine the play and themselves as well as question character’s actions. If the audience as well the characters question Hamlet’s nature and believability Hamlet did not think through every aspect of his plan. In essence Hamlet’s plan failed if it was to make everyone believe he lost his mind. This failure hinder Hamlet from being described as cunning because he was unable to devise a masterful plan that succeeded.

  23. In William Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet, I believe that the most victimized character has to be Ophelia. So far throughout the play Ophelia has been mistreated, looked down on, and depreciated. Her relationship with the men in her life is an example how she is depreciated. At the beginning of the play before Laertes left for France, he told Ophelia that Hamlet does not love her and for her to move on:

    For Hamlet and the trifling of his favor,

    Hold it a fashion and a toy in blood,

    A violet in the youth of primary nature,

    Forward, not permanent, sweet, not lasting,

    The perfume and suppliance of a minute.

    No more. (1.3, 5-10)

    In the quotation above, this is Laertes telling Ophelia not to take her and Hamlet’s relationship so seriously because it is just temporary. This affected Ophelia emotionally because at this point she was in love with Hamlet and was torn that he was not planning to take her hand in marriage. As for her father Polonius, in act one, scene three, he tells her to stay away from Hamlet because Polonius thinks that Hamlet is only using her and that she should not waste her time with him.

    This is for all:

    I would not, in plain terms, from this time forth,

    Have you so slander any moment of leisure,

    As to give words or talk with the Lord Hamlet.

    Look to’t, I charge you. Come your ways. (1.3, 131-135)

    In act three, scene 1, Hamlet tells Ophelia that he didn’t love her, “… for virtue cannot so / inoculate our old stock but we shall relish of it. I loved you / not” (3.1, 119-121). It seems as though all the men that are apart of Ophelia’s life are the ones who mistreat her, look down on her, and depreciate her. So far in the play Shakespeare has not mentioned any female figures in her life (girlfriends, mother, etc.). He does this to intensify the fact that she is a victim and has no one who she can come to for help, because all the important people are either dead or crazy. In the closet scene, Hamlet accidently killed Polonius mistakenly thinking it was Claudius. This impacts Ophelia dramatically. It was the last and only string she had left to hang on and this is the reason why she became “mad”.

  24. I love what Jared said about how Hamlet’s madness goes with the wind. I like how he pointed out that it’s actually a metaphor saying that the madness only comes about when it brings him in the direction he wants to go. I never would have seen it that way. It supports Jared’s opinion well, also.

    I also agree with what Zainab said about Ophelia being victimized by all the men in her life. I like how she pointed out that when Hamlet said “get thee to a nunnery,” not only was he saying she was not a virgin, but she is acting as a prostitute to other peoples’ needs, and letting people just use her and walk all over her.

  25. Of all the characters so far in Hamlet, I feel that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern can best be described as untrustworthy. Both are more than comfortable to turn against their old friend Hamlet just to suck up to king Claudius. Hamlet doesn’t fall for their weak attempts of affection, and calls them out on third party involvement, which the two boys have to confess to. Hamlet still feels for his old friends, and tells them why they have been sent and what danger they might be in. Not ones to take a hint and stay out of thing, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern report back to the king, betraying their friend Hamlet for a second time. While meeting with the King, they report to the king that Hamlet was “Niggard of Question” (III.i.13), meaning he was not answering his questions, fabricating the actual situation, where they ratted out Claudius, most likely putting him in more danger from Hamlet. You can’t play Devils advocate and say that what they are doing for either Hamlet and King is the right thing to do when they dupe both men and create even further tension between both of them.

    Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are continue to work at getting information for the king and do little to hide it, as by act three scene three act they are acting as messengers between the royal couple and Hamlet. Hamlet can no longer stand how they have constantly betrayed him, and lets it all out in act four scene two, where he calls the two sponges that “soaks up the kings countenance, his rewards, his authorities” (IV.ii.16-17),to which neither Rosencrantz or Guildenstern have any idea of what he is talking about. When doing preparation for the performance of the scene, this is what really struck me; neither of them realize that Hamlet is on to them, and that they keep trying to act like his friend time and time again must be maddening for him. The argument can be made that the biggest abuse of trust by the duo is that of Claudius’s belief that the two could do their jobs to an adequate level. With the play nearing the end, with Guildenstern and Rosencrantz about to set of with Hamlet on a voyage to England, I can only wonder who these bumbling idiots will betray next.

  26. Claudius is a man with many character traits, but there is one trait that would suit him best. Claudius is the most untrustworthy because he keeps those who are dangerous closer to him; he’s also greedy, and he’s sly with his actions.
    Claudius lives by the saying “keep your friends close and your enemies closer”. At the beginning of the play, Hamlet wants to return to England, yet Claudius disagrees with him: “We beseech you, bend you to remain here, in the clear and comfort of our eye, our chieftest courtier, cousin, and our son” (1.2.115-117). Claudius knows that Hamlet is a threat to him, so he wants to keep an eye on him.
    Claudius’ greed is another key character trait; he would do anything to get what he desires. To become King he killed his brother, and, even when guilt was overwhelming him, he would still on think about himself: “I am still possessed of those effects for which I did my murder: my crown, mine ambition, and my Queen” (3.3.54-56). Claudius is untrustworthy if he thinks that killing family is worth the perks of kingship.
    Finally, Claudius is untrustworthy because of the slyness of his actions. At first, Claudius had decided to send Hamlet to England in hopes that it would benefit him, but after Polonius was killed, he had different intentions: “Thou mayst not coldly set our congruing to that affect, present death of Hamlet” (4.3.63-66) No one can be sure what Claudius’ true intentions are, but he is certainly not to be trusted.

  27. Laertes is the most dangerous man in the play. Throughout Hamlet, he shows his willingness to commit any act for his family. When hearing that his father is dead, Laertes says,
    “How came he dead? I’ll not be juggled with;
    To hell, allegiance! Vows, to the blackest devil!
    Conscience and grace, to the profoundest pit!
    I dare damnation: to this point I stand,
    That both the worlds I give to negligence,
    Let come what comes; only I’ll be revenged
    Most thoroughly for my father.” (IV.v.128-133)
    Laertes is vowing to seek revenge on who murdered his father, showing how dangerous he can really be. He has trouble looking past his anger at the murder of his father to be able to look at the situation with any clarity to make the right choice. Again, Laertes acts dangerously and threateningly.
    “I will do’t:
    And for that purpose I’ll anoint my sword.
    I bought an unction of a mountebank,
    So mortal, that but dip a knife in it,
    Where it draws blood no cataplasm so rare,
    Collected from all simples that have virtue
    Under the moon, can save the thing from death
    That is but scratch’d withal: I’ll touch my point
    With this contagion, that, if I gall him slightly,
    It may be death.” (IV.vii.140-148)
    Laertes reveals his plan to put poison on the end of his sword to make sure Hamlet dies. Although there are rumours that Hamlet may be out of his mind, Laertes shows no sympathy whatsoever. Laertes is a dangerous, thoughtless man.

  28. In Hamlet, Polonius proves to be the most untrustworthy person. He seems to have an obsession with spying on people and knowing the private affairs of everyone around him. When his son Laertes leaves for France, Polonius sends him money. With that money, Polonius sends a servant to spy on Laertes. “You shall do marvellous wisely, good Reynaldo, / Before you visit him, to make inquiry / Of his behaviour.” (II.i.3-5) For an unknown reason, Polonius doesn’t trust Laertes, but shows how untrustworthy he actually is. Polonius continues to be untrustworthy when Claudius reveals the plan that he made with Polonius to eavesdrop on a conversation between Hamlet and Ophelia.
    “Sweet Gertrude, leave us too:
    For we have closely sent for Hamlet hither,
    That he, as ’twere by accident, may here
    Affront Ophelia.
    Her father and myself, lawful espials,
    Will so bestow ourselves that, seeing unseen,
    We may of their encounter frankly judge,
    And gather by him, as he is behaved,
    If’t be the affliction of his love or no
    That thus he suffers for.” (III.i.28-37)
    Polonius is by far the most untrustworthy person in the play. He continually wants to spy on his loved ones without thinking of the consequences. Polonius became so untrustworthy that he died for his eavesdropping.

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