Family ties bound by love and loyalty can result in ones tendency towards arguable insane behavior. This is the case of hamlet following the death of his father. Despite the blood ties with his father, he has a feeling of discontent with the quick re-marriage to his uncle Claudius. The king provides a speech to the effect that his brother has only recently died: The memory be green, and that it us befitted (Act I Scene II Line 3). It is the quick marriage to Hamlets mother that spurs a rage in Hamlet. The marriage leaves Hamlet with a sour taste, of which I am inclined to concur with. The events unfolding after the former Kings death elicit feelings of suspicion among the most pacifistic individuals.
I am of the belief that familial ties should bring people together. However, the drama that unfolds in the play by Shakespeare only serves to convert this belief into a bleak cliche. This is because Hamlet conceives an idea that his own uncle had a hand to play in his fathers death. The main character also resolves to kill his uncle whenever a chance presents itself. This results in the young price to distance himself from his parents despite their consistent worry about his distant behavior. Clearly, familial ties serve no influence on Hamlets love for his uncle. Hamlet believes a shadowy figure purporting to be his fathers ghost more that he does the living family members. However, it is understandable and easy to associate this situation with the love hamlet had for his biological father.
The other instance of familial intrigue that is clearly observed in the play results from the relationship between Hamlet, Ophelia, and Polonius. Once again, the play presents to me an instance where the blood relationship between individuals may not matter when power is involved. Polonius is the father to Ophelia, and encourages his daughter to spy on her love interest Hamlet (Act III Scene II). This is very selfish on the part of Polonius. He pushes his own daughter to spy on a royal blood, despite knowing full well of the ramifications of such actions on the part of his daughter. Power over love I guess, trumping any reasoning on the part of all those involved in this risky relationship.
Familial intrigues have also permeated the relationship between hamlet and his two closest friends: Horatio, Guildenstern, and Rosencrantz. The relationship between these friends was close up until the familial intrigues started plaguing the kingship. Despite the tension between the leadership in Demark and Norway, the friends aforementioned owe it to one another to be loyal to one another. This should have been the case especially after Hamlet showed suspicion that his father had been killed by his own uncle (Act I Scene II Line 76). However, my personal beliefs on the value of friendship are once again trumped by the intrigues resulting from the familial feuds pointed out. The friendship turns to betrayals and thus the realization of Hamlets true friend Horatio.
The familial intrigues in the play have served to stamp out any thought of blood ties and their importance in me. The characters clearly only serve their own interests. Any relationships between the individual characters are only depicted as being secondary to the characters own interests. It has increasingly become important for the characters to achieve their own ambitions at the expense of both familial and friendship ties. This goes to show how cold the characters can be, and that the characters can stoop so low to achieve their goals.
Shakespeare, W. (1904). The tragedy of Hamlet. University Press.
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