The Strive for Perfection: a Losing Battle (Hamlet)

Topics: Hamlet, Characters in Hamlet, Gertrude Pages: 3 (953 words) Published: April 29, 2008
Perfection is merely an ideology that can never be obtained and is constantly being pulled down by human’s own imperfections. In William Shakespeare’s, Hamlet, Shakespeare sheds light on the tragic flaws of heroic characters; the tragedy that befalls Hamlet is the result of his unrealistic idealism, which is the cause of Hamlet’s alienation and indecisiveness. Hamlet’s unrealistic idealism alienates him, and can be seen through his abhorrence of women’s “frailty” (I,ii,146) which causes his relationship with Gertrude and Ophelia to deteriorate. Hamlet expects his mother to mourn for her husband’s death and to live a life honoring him; however, the queen remarries with Claudius. Hamlet is deeply discouraged by the marriage of his uncle and his mother; he describes it as “incestuous sheets”(I,ii,157), and belittles the queen by commenting that “a beast that wants discourse of reason would have mourn’d longer.”(I,ii,150) Because the reality does not fully meet Hamlet’s expectations, he loses respect for women, thus viewing them as a lower class. It is expressed through his derogatory speeches and actions against Gertrude where he confronts her not as a son, but as a criticizer. He refers her as “stew’d in corruption, honeying and making love over the nasty sty”(III,iv,95), and physically assaults her. Hamlet can no longer find comfort, nor is willing to accept help from his mother, hence being alone to challenge Claudius. In addition, Hamlet’s relationship with Ophelia breaks because Ophelia does not live up to his expectations of love. Love, from Hamlet’s perspective, has to be fair, honest, eternal, and can never be defiled. When Ophelia returns Hamlet’s gifts, and lies in order to conceal the ruse that Polonius has planned, Hamlet’s image of Ophelia’s love shatters to pieces by the cruel reality. Hence, his perspective of women, who are the source of love, is completely transformed into hatred. Hamlet, a misogynist, tells Ophelia to “get thee to nunnery”...
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