The brilliant English playwright William Shakespeare lived and worked at the turn of the 16th-17th centuries. His work is divided into several stages. The early period reflects the worldview of the Renaissance and is the embodiment of humanism. Plays of the first period are filled with optimism, the joy of life, contain an element of fantastic fantasy. The coming of the 17th century brought with it a mood of depression, a tightening of the power of the church, fires of the Inquisition, a decline in literature and art. In the works of Shakespeare appear gloomy historical chronicles, the tragedy “Macbeth”, in which a whole gallery of villains and tyrants is displayed.
In the famous play “Hamlet” Shakespeare reflected the tragedy of humanism in his contemporary England. In order not to cause the authorities to attack, Shakespeare transfers the scene of his play to Denmark, to the kingdom of Elsinore. In the work Shakespeare reworked the plot of the Old English
play about Prince Hamlet. But in his play the author posed complicated questions of the present and tried to solve them.
Hamlet – Prince of Denmark – a wonderful image of a humanist, faced with a hostile world of medieval thinking. The treacherous murder of his father reveals all the evil that prevails in Hamlet before Hamlet. The duty to avenge the king turns into a public debt for the prince, a big and difficult task. Hamlet feels himself the heir to the throne, which should bring order to the kingdom: “The age has shattered, and the worst thing is that I was born to rebuild it!”
However, in the struggle against enemies Hamlet hesitates, sometimes cruelly reproaching himself for his inaction. In the old criticism, a false view of Hamlet as a weak-willed man, a thinker and contemplative, incapable of action, was widely spread. But Hamlet, as an enlightened man and humanist, wants to first make sure of the guilt of his uncle Claudius, and then retaliate. Hamlet returned from Wittenberg University, he passionately loves art, theater, writes poetry. In his mouth Shakespeare invests
a deep thought about realism in art.
Prince Hamlet is a man of critical thought. This feature was clearly expressed in the Renaissance. The message of the death of King Hamlet does not take on faith, as a man with a medieval worldview would do. He comes up with a way to find out the truth. Prince writes a play for the troupe of stray actors and is engaged in its production. The content of the play accurately reproduces the picture of his father’s murder. According to the reaction of Queen Gertrude and Claudius, Hamlet is convinced of the correctness of his suspicions. He is perceptive and deeply analyzes the phenomena that he encounters.
In the image of Hamlet, a powerful force of feelings is shown, which distinguished people of the Renaissance. He fervently loves his father, whose death, together with the disgraceful marriage of his mother, causes him boundless pain and anger. Hamlet loves Ophelia, but is disappointed in her. His cruelty and insulting words in his treatment of the girl testify to the strength of his love and disappointment.
The prince is noble and proceeds from high humanistic ideas about man. He sees in people first good features. It is from here his bilious bitterness, when he encounters a world of lies and villainy.
Hamlet is capable of a great and faithful friendship. He is alien to feudal prejudices. He values people on personal qualities, and not on the position that they occupy. His only friend is a poor student of Horatio. Hamlet despises courtiers, courtiers, but friendly and joyful meets people of art – poor actors. Hamlet loves the people. This is said with alarm by King Claudius.
Hamlet is characterized by willpower, the ability to get involved in wrestling, also characteristic of people of the Renaissance. Having unraveled the plan of his enemies, he tells his mother that he agrees to engage in battle with them. His statements are very decisive. Hamlet is capable of courageous deeds. On the ship, when he was brought to England to death, he invented with lightning quickness the way to escape and, instead of himself, to send traitors to death.
Hamlet is a man of philosophical thought. In certain facts he is able to see the expression of large general phenomena. As a result of deep reflection, he comes to grim conclusions. He calls the world “a lush garden, which produces only a wild and evil seed.” The prince states that “Denmark is a prison, and the whole world is a prison.” In the famous monologue “To Be or Not to Be” Hamlet expresses doubts about the value of life itself, it lists various disasters of man, draws the mores of a society where oppression and injustice reign. The tragedy of Hamlet is that he is alone. He can not resist the system, in which the relations of anger and hatred are leading.
Hamlet’s image was much ahead of his time. The problems that arise in the play have not yet been solved by mankind. The tragedy of Shakespeare remains relevant and acute today. It successfully goes on the stages of the best theaters in the world.