The Deterioration of a Prince
Hamlet is an enigmatic character who always speaks in tongue or with complicated metaphors. His state of mine is no easier to interpret than his language because it changes constantly throughout the play with each and every turn of the plot. Part of his madness is fueled by revenge and even more is fueled by his inability to act. His deterioration not only results in his demise, but also the downfall of those he loves. Such demise began in the ramparts of the castle Hamlet called home, with a sighting of his father's ghost who revealed the coming troubles.
Following his return to Denmark, Hamlet has his suspicions that his father did not die of natural causes. Horatio quickly brings it to Hamlet's attention that something is indeed awry. Hamlet's deterioration begins when his father's ghost begs “If thou didst ever thy dear father love-/Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder.” (I,v, 28 & 30) After confirming his suspicions, Hamlet changes from an upset and confused man, to a man whose sole intent in revenge. However, despite the just cause for revenge, Hamlet vows to go about it the wrong way. At the beginning of his quest Hamlet claims,
Yea, from the table of my memory
I'll wipe away all trivial fond records,
All saws of books, all forms, all pressures past
That youth and observation copied there,
And thy commandment all alone shall live
Within the book and volume of my brain,
Unmixed with baser matter. Yes, by heaven! (I, v, 105-111)
Unfortunately, in his quest for revenge Hamlet is slowly consumed by his desire as he slips into insanity. Following the conversation with the ghost, the first indication of Hamlet's deterioration is his abrupt and violent confrontation with Ophelia. No man in his right mind would treat a woman this way even if she rejected his love. His confrontation with Ophelia leads to Polonius' idea of sending Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to spy on Hamlet in an attempt to learn his...