The death of his father, ex-girlfriend, and all the unfortunate events in between, portray Hamlet as a man with many sorrows. These hardships allow the audience to mourn with and connect to Hamlet’s complex character. Shakespeare evokes sympathy from the reader through the hastened marriage of Hamlet’s mother, the murderess actions of his wretched uncle, and Hamlet’s apparent madness. These occurrences develop not only sympathy from the audience, but the main theme of revenge as Hamlet seeks to avenge his father’s wrongful death.
Sympathy is created for Hamlet through his father’s death and is mother and uncles hastened marriage. The story starts off on a melancholy and solemn tone as Hamlet comes into Act 1 wearing black clothing as he mourns the death of his father who had died two months ago. This scene creates immediate sympathy for Hamlet as King Claudius is used as a foil for his character when he says,”But to persever in obstinate condolement is a course of impious stubbornness. ‘Tis unmanly grief. ” The Kings crude remarks that a real man would move on after his father’s death creates dislike among the audience towards Claudius and makes Hamlet appear more justified in his hatred.
When it is revealed to Hamlet through the ghost of his father that Claudius was the murderer of old King Hamlet, it becomes young Hamlet’s main objective to avenge this wrongful death. This occurrence allows the audience to feel that Hamlet is entitled to seek revenge, even though it may not be the most moral option. More sympathy is evoked for the protagonist because the King not only killed Hamlet’s father, but married Hamlet’s mother. This hastened marriage creates tension between Gertrude and Hamlet, as he condemns her for her lustful and heartless ways. The sorrows that Hamlet experiences akes him want to isolate himself and push his family and friends away as he mourns throughout the play.
Hamlet criticizes his mother, pushes away Ophelia ( whom he once loved), and even turns on his good friends. Hamlet feels that everyone he was close to has also turned on him. This is apparent through his friendship with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Once good friends with Hamlet, they became spies for the King by trying to gain insight on Hamlet for Claudius. Hamlet develops a sense that he cannot trust anyone but himself. This isolationist attitude is not only a recurring heme throughout the play, but creates a sense of pity for the lonely Hamlet. Compassion is created for Hamlet through his apparent madness throughout the play,the loss of his girlfriend, and the murder plots of Laertes and Claudius. Hamlet’s odd behavior demonstrates his isolationist attitude that he developed after the death of his father.
By internalizing what the ghost had told him and his emotions, the theme of insanity becomes a large part of the play. Even his mother comments on how crazy that he has been acting“ [He is as] mad as the sea and wind when both contend, which is the mightier. The audience pities the fact that Hamlet concealing his revenge and hatred has caused him to become unstable and mad. Hamlet continues to internalize his anger and sadness when Ophelia tragically commits suicide. Hamlet finds this is out in the most horrible way when he notices a burial taking place at the graveyard and realizes that it was his ex-girlfriend. The many deaths that have occurred around Hamlet cause him to realize the inevitability and sorrow of death. He had even questioned if suicide was worth it earlier in the play with his to be or not to be soliloquy.
Hamlet begins to rapidly decline after Ophelia’s death and seeks to release him emotion and anger by killing Claudius. While Hamlet continues to plan the murder of the King, the King and Laertes also strategize the death of Hamlet. Laertes becomes another foil for Hamlet as he seeks to avenge the accidental death of Polonius. His irrational behavior and anger for Hamlet accidentally killing Polonius make the audience more inclined towards the cause of Hamlet, not Laertes and Claudius. Laertes is used as a comparison to Hamlet because both of their father had been killed, but Hamlet’s father was killed with lustful ntention.
The sorrowful death of Hamlet’s father, the hastened marriage of his mother, the death of his girlfriend, his isolationist attitude, and insanity evokes sympathy from the audience as the plot unfolds. These events are not only tragic but also contribute to the main theme of revenge in the play. These misfortunes and murders lead Hamlet and Laertes to both seek to entice their anger through more death. Laertes and Claudius serve as foils for Hamlet whose actions are seen as justified because of his father’s murder. Hamlet’s madness and internalization of his sorrows portray him as a lonely and unlucky protagonist.