Argumentative essay on Hamlet

Subject: Literature
Type: Argumentative Essay
Pages: 4
Word count: 1122
Topics: Hamlet, William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” is an intriguing play of great significance in the literary sphere.  Historically, the play has drawn equal attention from famous authors and critics from generation to generation showing its significance. In as much as Shakespeare had distinct themes and obvious interpretation of the text from a professional point of view, divergent elucidation have surfaced (Dolven 212). The process has ended up enlisting several research questions as to the possibility of generating a unifying outcome as well as the possible causes of these differences. In most cases, the famous memorable characters in literature have deep and precise details that bring essential features within the socio-political environment in which the literary works are produced. However, despite the unique output, audiences have ended up making different conclusions. The paper evaluates how social, cultural, and economic values have ended up shaping audience perception of the same play despite universal principles.

At the end of Act IV Scene IV, Hamlet’s sentiments in the soliloquy elicit socially unequivocal interpretations among his audience. Generally, the audience is composed of various people within the society including the literate, the rich, the poor, and the weak. Certainly, all these social categories draw a meaning of texts based on emotions; but, the social sciences and professional psychology have neglected the relation between meaning and emotions. Therefore, the interpretation of Hamlet’s text in Act IV Scene IV is likely to be different based on social background (Dolven 283). Hamlet’s first two lines in the scene can be interpreted as immaterial. For instance, he is found to be overthinking and worrying himself about issues that are not within his mandate.  Particularly, he blames himself for having failed to revenge his father’s death. A Christian audience will not take his statement serious because Christians generally believe that the vengeance is of the lord and no human being can revenge on any wrong done by a fellow human being (Klein 271). Still, the society is composed of people who crave for pain and influenced by the fame propagated by the mass media. Undoubtedly, such lot will dispute Hamlet’s view that some soldiers are fighting for fame instead of wealth. On the other hand, there are those in the society, who value wealth especially the rich will interpret his statement about fighting for wealth instead of fame positively and will interpret his statement. Certainly, the various interpretation is based on the social diversity and emotion within the society.

At the same time, cultural issues have great influence on the society including their perception of the surrounding. While reading Act IV scene IV of “Hamlet”, there is no doubt that cultural background plays a key role in interrogating the text (Dolven 284). In the society, culture is generally diverse; consisting of language, religion, gender, class, and age. First, strong believers in the social culture of the community will interpret Hamlets text as regret of failing to revenge his father’s death. Notably, there are cultures like the England renaissance set up where the son is supposed to protect the father’s property including his legacy. Therefore, any English audience reading Hamlets text will view it as an expression of regret and defeat. Indeed, Hamlet has not only failed to murder the uncle who killed his father, but the uncle has also taken over the throne and married his father.  In that case, any lamentation over it through meditation will largely be interpreted by a culture that promotes sons taking over responsibility from the father as a failure.

Additionally, the issue of religion is critical to culture, and different religious doctrines have a diverse interpretation of the text in Act IV Scene IV where Hamlet takes a religious tone (Dolven 283). Therefore, those who are believers in a supernatural God will interpret Hamlet’s statement as one a spiritual and based on eminent God. Specifically, they will see in the text; the spiritual ultimate’s concerning the human destiny including that of Hamlet. Indeed, the religious audience will particularly find interesting, Hamlet’s acceptance of religious views are crucial for his understanding of what killing Claudius mean both morally and metaphysically. Additionally, the religious audience will interpret Hamlet’s text as given by one who is both a believer and a pagan. Indeed, he does not take a stand since he lauds God’s ability to give humanity the capacity to think, look to the past and future so that they can reflect on what is ongoing or capable of happening. On the other hand, Hamlet celebrates the innate human capacity for knowledge and reasoning which he calls god-like. Therefore, any religious person reading this text will see his duplicity in matters of faith and interpret it as a sentiment expressed by one who does not have absolute belief in almighty God.

Economic issues generally run the society, and form part of the characterization of Shake spears literary texts.  An entrepreneur reading the Hamlet’s text in Act IV Scene IV will immediately see a society that values wealth instead of fame. Indeed, a business person will see from the statement that the society from where the writer comes from values wealth and hard work that brings that treasure. For example, Hamlet’s states that “What is a man, if his chief good and market of his time, be but to sleep and feed? A beast, no more” (Dolven 284). But, there is a society in which a good name acquired through hard work is valued more than wealth that is acquired illegally. Therefore, such a society will interpret the statement positively by Hamlet to the effect that no man should sleep and eat but do nothing productive. Such a society will hold that a good life should be supported by commensurate hard work (Klein 271).   Understandably, the society is not composed of all literate people who can understand the economic import of Hamlet’s statement.  Therefore, such an audience will interpret offensively, the text in Act IV Scene IV of “Hamlet” where he suggests work among the communities is necessary, and those who do not do so are like an animal. Notably, there is society win which being likened to animals is an insult.

In conclusion, William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” is a play showcasing divergent meanings due to social, cultural, and economic values of the audience. Aspects such as language, religion, upbringing and economic class dictate how people view significant themes as well as acts in the play. Indeed, the role of emotions in human socialization goes back to the days of Aristotle. Notably, he argued that emotions are sensations with thought and are involved in what matters to human beings. It arises from what is meaningful to humanity and influence what is meaningful; thereby engaging us in the world to inform the thinking of humans.

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  1. Dolven, Jeff, ed. Hamlet. New York, NY: Barnes & Noble, 2007. 283-84. Print.
  2. Klein, Patricia S., ed. A Year with C.S. Lewis: Daily Readings from His Classic Works. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers, 2003. 271. Print.
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