In Act One, what do we find out or what is revealed about Hamlet's character?
We have to answer a question similar to this for homework, among many other questions. We watched the 'Mel Gibson' version of 'HAMLET' in class and I'm not so sure I really understood it. The movie cuts out parts of the script, so I looked up the script online, but I don't really understand it either. Just wondering if someone could please help me, or at least point me in the right direction. Thank you
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In terms of Hamlet's psychological state, we learn that he is suffering from the death of his father--from supposedly natural causes. We also know that he is upset that his mother has rapidly married his uncle, who has now taken the title of "King"--"the funeral meats dressed the marriage table".
Once the ghost appears and tells Hamlet that he did not die naturally, but was murdered by his uncle, Hamlet suffers all anew. He is now not just adjusting to the death of his beloved father, but he is now adjusting to the idea that his father was taken from him before he was supposed to go...by murder. Obviously Hamlet is feeling robbed, cheated, and betrayed in additional to dealing with the loss of a loved one. Is his mother guilty? He doesn't know if she is involved in the murder, but Hamlet does hold her at fault for being a weak woman ("Frailty is thy name!") and marrying too quickly for anyone's comfort.
Hamlet must also adjust to what the ghost has told him. Does he trust the ghost, take it at its word, and act on the information shared? Or, does he behave more cautiously to test what the ghost has told him in order to prove or disprove the accusations...thus preventing Hamlet from making a horrible error. He is obviously torn and confused, and thinks a lot before he acts. Of course, if more of us in this modern time did more thinking before we acted, the world might be a more pleasant place.
In Act I, the reader learns that Hamlet's father, the King of Denmark, has recently died while Hamlet was away at school, and that by the time Hamlet returns to Denmark, the young man learns that his uncle Claudius has taken not only the crown, but the Queen for himself. Hamlet is distraught at the news of the death, angry with both his mother and uncle, and confused about the reported visitations of his father's ghost. This confusion is revealed when Hamlet himself speaks to the ghost and is told that his father was murdered by his uncle. He is not sure if the ghost's tale is real, or if it some devil from hell playing with his mind, making him think things that aren't true. The rest of the play centers on whether or not Hamlet is going to have the fortitude to find out the truth and if he will have the guts to follow through with the ghost's request to avenge his father's death.
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