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|GR: Is Hamlet unable to act?
Written by Laraine
(6/12/2003 9:22 p.m.)
Hamlet’s reaction to the deception going on around him is never passive. In his first appearance he is openly disdainful of Claudius’ manipulation and rewriting of the past: in his first speech to the court, he states his contempt for “windy suspiration of forced breath”, for “forms, moods, shows” for “actions that a man might play”, and for “trappings and suits”. He says this in front of the whole court.
After he speaks with the ghost, he is continually watchful of the effects of Claudius' particular brand of verbal poison on the others in the court. He challenges Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, Polonius, and Ophelia to tell the truth, to admit the the inherent dishonesty of how they are "seeming" to be without another agenda when they speak to him.
The inner play is an outright (and successful) attack on Claudius’ lies.
Hamlet “speaks daggers” to his mother with premeditated harshness and to Ophelia with a more spontaneous anger.
his conversations with Polonius are studies in how to attack with wit.
In all these cases he chooses words as his weapons, but he is on the attack, I think.
Despite Claudius’ seeming mastery of language and his quite successful manipulation of the court, Hamlet has no fear that he can outwit him in a battle of words, and he does it (rather frequently, I would say).
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