People are obsessed with the interrelation between different demeanors. Weather it be art and literature, matching shoes and shirts, or between men and women. We live in a society full of irreverent and dysfunctional relationships. In-fact, we were lucky enough to live during the time of The Break-up Heard ‘Round the World, other wise known as when Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt broke up.
The reason why the masses of literate minds are sucked into this timeless display of courtship is because they themselves have experienced similar relationships and knowing that they are not alone in the miserably bleak world of despair in the vain quest for love and acceptance. The many degrees of alliances, how strong they are, why they are being maintained, and what possible stresses can be applied to them by antagonists are all real world situations. People like to critique other people, and Hamlet is full of many archetype characters. Hamlet is based off of consanguinity, and the ext ream effect it has on people. People have aspirations and people want love.
The relationships displayed in Hamlet revolve around personal lives clashing around ambitions. Ambitions driven by greed or revenge. “The serpent that did sting thy father’s life/Now wears his crown.” (Ghost 1,5) Hamlet talks to his fathers ghost and finds out that his uncle, his fathers own brother killed his father. From here on he is driven to get revenge for his fathers death.
The rest of the play he puts on an antic disposition so he can get the information he wants and not have to explain why he is acting they way he is. If everyone thinks that Hamlet is crazy then they will not be suspicious. Hamlet is determined at all costs to kill Claudius from then on. “Does it not, think the, stand me now upon-/He that hath killed my king, and whored my mother,/…is’t not perfect conscience/ To quit him with this arm?” (Hamlet 5,2) Hamlet is on the brink of killing Claudius and will soon have the chance. “Here, thou incestuous, murderous, damned Dane,/ Drink off this option. Is thy union here?/ Follow my mother.” (Hamlet 5,2) This was said after his duel with Leartes, after he knew he was going to die.
He makes Claudius drink from the poisoned cup his mother drank from. One of the last things he does is ensure that his vengeance is complete. Hamlet was not the only one who’s relationship with his close acquaintances were altered by revenge, Leartes also plans revenge for his fathers death. “I’ll touch my point/With this contagion, that if I gall him slightly,/It may be death.” (Leartes 4,7) He suggests dipping the sword he is going to duel Hamlet with in poison so that if he is scratched with it, he will die.
Claudius’s ambition is driven by his greed, and he kills his own brother because of it. The death of the King sets off a catalyst in the dramatic change in relationships. People have ambitions of their own, and some of them might involve climbing to the top of their career or doing things they believe are the right things to do. All people can relate to their craving to obtain what they want from life. Throughout Hamlet the question going through my head is: Where is the love at? People are not only driven for material reasons and vengeance, but also for love.
It is basic human nature to want to be loved. Love is the epitome of a relationship, and when that love can not be let loose it changes a person. In Hamlet love is used as a guise to get into power, it is used as a shield for craziness, and it is used as fuel for animosity. Hamlet and Ophelia’s love was a taboo throughout the whole play. Her father, Polonius, constantly forbade her to be with Hamlet.
“I would not in plain terms from this time forth/Have you no slander any moment leisure/ As to give words or talk with the Lord Hamlet.” (Polonius 1,3) Polonius was very protective of his daughter, and gave advice to her many times concerning Hamlet, and ultimately had her used by Claudius as a tool to get inside Hamlet’s head. Frailty thy name is woman… I wonder who said that? Supported by her brother Leartes, “His greatness weighed, his will is not his own,/ For he himself is subject to his birth.” (Laertes 1,3) Ophelia’s love could not stand up for her. This created inner anxieties in both Ophelia and Hamlet. Polonius did not want her to love with Hamlet just because he was heir to the throne, he also did not think very much of her descision making abilites. “Affection? Puh! You speak like a green girl,” (Polonius 1,3) Ophelia being bombarded with lecture after lecture, and dissapointment after dissapointment finally goes truly crazy.
Crazy not for love, but also because of loss. When her father gets killed by the man she loves she does not know what to do. Now most people can not relate to this ext ream case of parental distaste of ones lover, but many people know exactly what its like for their own parents not accepting their boyfriend or girlfriend. This gets into the inner feelings of what people go through for acceptance not only of themselves, but of people they care about.
Polonius is a stubborn man, but he still has compassion for genuine feelings. He eventually is proven wrong in thinking that Hamlet is only after his daughter for her physical features and knows he must try to accept that Hamlet is a genuine person. “Come, go with me, I will go seek the king./ This is the very ecstasy of love,” (Polonius 2,1) Love and acceptance are basic human needs. People can relate to the extreams and take comfort in the fact that good and bad things happen to everyone, and during tough times and stubborn minds hope is always their. Even if people are not empithetic, they would want to experience compassion if they were put in this situation.
The relationships are tied together by a common thread emotions. Hamlet encompasses many feelings throughout its text. Weather it be love, hate, anger, fear, etc. These emotions are weaved into the relationships that are blatanly shown in each character of the play. The play is not based off of physical objects, it is based off or the relationships expressed.