The Desire of Power in Hamlet

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The desire of power is an eternally immutable natural instincts inside human beings. Under the attraction of considerable power. People frequently do variety of abnormal things. Inside the vortex of power, you hardly could maintain to be yourself. The conflict of power exists everywhere human society exists. In all ages, when people are implicated in power, they hardly could not be changed. Some officers in government start to do things without conscience in order to acquire stronger power. There are also some persons be forced to alter by the oppression of power.

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Reflecting to nowadays some countries’ situation, some citizens have complaint about some power organizations, but under the power’s pressure, people don’t dare say anything. One major reason of how Hamlet has become so popular is that it could reflect to the real society. The story happens in the early modern danish royal family. one thing similar among the characters in the play is they all be influenced by power. The power of throne is the major factor that raise the conflict. Some chase for it, some are tortured by it and some just want to escape from it. In all age, power is double-sided. It could provided supreme authority for people to control, if it is used appropriately by managers of the society, it could be a panacea for managing people. For example, Lincoln, the president of United State, used his power managing people and advocating racial equality. His power provided him the ability to make the society becoming better.

However, they are also many precedents shown how power become the poison that corrupt people to make them losing their mind, also lots of innocents became victims. Under the illuminating of power, people frequently reveal their hideous true nature, old king is murdered by his blood brother; also threatening by power people have to make some change to survive in the conflict. For example, Old king’s wife remarries other people right after the condolence event. Also in the game of throne, hamlet’s old schoolmates and friends, becomes power’s slaves, they got involve in Claudius’s plane just for acquiring benefits from power. However, people who playing fire are finally burned by it. They becomes the useless sacrificial victims. Power could forcedly change people, no matter actively or passively get involved into the conflict of power.

As the antagonist in Hamlet, Claudius has be poetries as a usurper, regicide and a people who lose ethic. He is the old king’s blood brother. Generally in ancient palace, for king’s brothers, the power throne are most close to them, but also far from them. The legal inheritor of power is old king’s son. Under normal circumstances, king’s brothers have no opportunity to own the power. in the past society, People attach great importance to ethics for the reason of believing religion. A brother’s murder. Pray can I not.(III, iii, 38). Claudius admits his crime that murder his brother. To wash it white as snow? Whereto serves mercy.Can serve my turn, Forgive me my foul murder? (III, iii,46-52). In this quote, audiences could realizes that Claudius are praying for the his crime, he is a faithful follower. When he kills his brother, he knows that the god will punish him because his lost of humanity. Therefore, he pray for god forgiving the thing that he done. He clearly understand the result of murdering, especially murdering brother, he also knows the crime is unforgivable. But he still kills his old king just for chasing power. Though Claudius could hide to everybody, he couldn’t hide to himself, he even would suffer hell’s pain to get the power. the desire of power really corrupt his mind.

Gertrude, Hamlet’s mother, old king’s wife, the queen of Denmark. She has also be treated as an important character that promote the development of story. She used to be the representation of virtuousness. In the original family, she is a good mother and a good wife. There are many opinions talk about how She become a shameless slut. However, considering the oppression of power, her behaviors and attitude could be seen as an altering for protecting Hamlet. (Dai Zhao 2014). In that period of early modern time, women frequently had no right of speech. They been treated as the substances of men. Even the Queen of a nation, the most powerful female, who received the love from the king, she still be the epitome of ancient female to the society. She swoons to see them bleed.( V, ii, 285). when the Gertrude drinks the wine with poison, Claudius doesn’t remind her it is toxic but choose to silence. After she drinks it and dies, Claudius still doesn’t try to rescue her or tell other the true situation. He lies that the queen just sleeps. In this scenario, Claudius only cares about his plan and doesn’t want his purpose to be exposed, but not thinking about Gertrude at all. It is the best reflection that shows female’s standard at that time. She dies in this conflict of power. This is the foreshadowing of ancient woman’s tragedy.

Gertrude also is the mediator between Hamlet and Claudius. Everything changes after the accident in this family. King Hamlet is killed by his brother Claudius. hamlet be treated as the legal inheritor of throne. But it is secretly taken by Claudius. Concerning about Hamlet’s attitude. Therefore Gertrude have to yield herself to make sure Claudius would not do something to hurt Hamlet. There are variety of evidences in the play has shown that Gertrude actually loves his son. Let not thy mother lose her prayers, Hamlet/ I pray thee, stay with us. Go not to Wittenberg.(I, ii, 118-119). She wants her son to stay, one the one hand, she loves her son, on the other hand, she wants to take the opportunity to build up good relationship between Hamlet and Claudius. When Hamlet killed old Polonius, she says good things to Hamlet to Claudius.O’er whom his very madness, like some ore/ Among a mineral of metals base/ Shows itself pure. He weeps for what is done (IV, i, 24-26). Therefore, Gertrude’s remarriage could also be seen as compromise and subsistence under the power of authority forcing her had to change herself.

The most obvious influence of corruption by power is represented in two nobodies: Rosencrantz & Guildenstern. They are Hamlet’s classmates and good friends. However, the meeting after a long separation is for the purpose of spy. The real situation about this meeting is Claudius’s idea, Hamlet is excellent inheritor of throne, he has good reputation from citizens, clear mind, direct identity, all of these makes Hamlet becomes a threat to Claudius. To maintain his status and observe Hamlet’s behavior, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are the most suited people for Claudius. Forcing by the king’s order, they follow instruction and stayed beside Hamlet. They are the normal citizens that be involved in this power struggle. In the presence of power, they are adulatory, wishing for the praise from the king. However, in the game of power, they finally become those who slaughtered by it. It shows that power is uncontrollable for who acquiring it. people wants to utilize power, however, power frequently utilize people to make them become slaves. Hamlet changes the instruction of execution. Rosencrantz & Guildenstern, people who live without any power, become scapegoats.

Most of time people would easily get lost when they close to power. Palace is one place that frequently happen abnormal events. Power is like a filter, it could make everything change and contort. Therefore, Hamlet is a misfortune people that live in such an authoritative family. Everybody have desire, whether people want to chase for it or not is only determined by how great the desire is. In an authoritative family means that the desire is so great that could even let most of people be perturbed that could do something abnormal. Power brings him benefits but also variety of drawbacks. His greatness weighed. May give his saying deed, which is no further.(I, iii, 17-27). He was the king of the country in the future, the status provides him supreme authority. But power also restricts him a lot that he cannot be himself. Frequently the king of a nation also could be seen as the slave of power. They represent a country’s image so lots of things they done are not for themselves but for the nations. One example that relating to the change that power brings him would be, he could love every girls that he wants just like other young men, but considering marriage, the selection of inheritor of throne’s wife, his marriage must be very cautious that he couldn’t decide who he marry, because it relate to the whole country’s business.

Also the most important point is, because of the corruption of power, his uncle, Claudius killed his father. Hamlet passively undertake the price of power conflict, which is his dear father died. After the accident that directly affected by power, his mental condition and behaviors changed. As one of the most famous play in the world, Hamlet mentions lots of philosophical questions. The most popular monologue to be, or not to be from Act3 Scene1 is about the meaning and purpose of existing. However, if Hamlet doesn’t get involve in the conflict of power, then he might not think about those questions that relating to his life. Before Old king’s death, Hamlet is an optimistic humanist. He lives in the most magnificent environment and receive the best education. What a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason, how/ infinite in faculty! In form and moving how express and admirable! In/ action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a god! (II, III, 294-296)). He used to eulogize human.

However, after his father’s death. a series of events happened, Mother’s remarriage, uncle’s murder, lover and friends’ betrayal, all of them make Hamlet became another person. He is angry and gloomy and he says: Denmark’s a prison/ A big one, with lots of cells and dungeons, Denmark being one of the worst.(II, ii, 239,241)). He scolds this place and this world. Before Hamlet influences the conflict of power, and experience father’s death by power, he is an optimistic youth with love and hope to the whole world. However, after the change that power brings to him, he becomes a thinker and avenger. He overturns the old image and values of the world, and starts to ask questions about the reason of existing. As a humanist, Hamlet strives for freedom and justice, but the palace fulled of betrayal and deceive. His fantasy about world were crushed by reality, which brought him the question of to be or not to be.

Shakespeare’s play frequently would include some social caution for audiences. In Hamlet, power might be an essential factor that Shakespeare wanted to warn people. Anyplace have society will have the exist of power. It is a topic that people would like to discuss all the time. Whether people could be use appropriately or be corrupted by it is very important, There have been a great many example in history shown the crisis that power brings to society. Therefore, for avoiding the similar tragedy happened around our real world, Shakespeare actually made a good job.

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The Desire Of Power In Hamlet. (2019, Apr 08). Retrieved January 28, 2023 , from

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