Sunday, October 13, 2019
Hamlet: Masks We Wear Essays -- essays research papers
Masks A mask is a covering worn on the face or something that disguises or conceals oneself. All the characters in Shakespeare's Hamlet hide behind masks to cover up who they really are, which contridictes a main idea, expressed by the fool, Old Polonius, "To thine ownself be true" (Polonius - 1.3.84). All the characters share strengths and triumphs, flaws and downfalls. Instead of revealing their vulnerabilities, each of them wears a mask that conceals who they are and there true convictions. The masks brought about feelings such as fear, hatred, insanity, indecisiveness, ambitiousness, and vengeance all of which contribute to the tragic ending of the play. Shakespeare reveals the idea of the masks in the first lines of the play, "Who's there" (Barnardo - 1.1.1). "Nay, answer me. Stand and unfold yourself" (Fransisco - 1.1.2). These masks are upon each character, placed there by either society, self-ignorance, or guilt. Ophelia, Polonius' daughter and Hamlet's lover, hid behind a mask, just like Queen Gertrude's. It was, according to the society and the culture of the time, in the best interest of the woman to display a passive behavior for their personal preservation, which served as Gertrude's mask. Gertrude was brought up to believe that when a woman protests her innocence, in any matter, too much then people will begin to think otherwise. Gertrude revealed the idea of her mask, when responding to Hamlet inquiry of her likes to the play, her response was a bold reply, "The lady doth protest too much methinks" (Gertrude - 3.2.254), while viewing "The Murder of Ganzago." Hamlet's disgust with his mother's lack of strength, in regards to Claudius' sexual temptations, was evident in his soliloquy, after Gertrude begged him to stay with her and Claudius in Elsinore. "And yet, wi th a month let me not think on 't; fratility, thy name is woman." (Hamlet - 1.2.149-50) Gertrude's submissiveness is also evident in her refusal to face the pain of the true nature of her husband's murder. Gertrude begs "O Hamlet, speak no more! / Thou turn'st my eyes into my very soul, / And there I see such black and grained spots / As will not leave their tinct" (Gertrude - 3.4.99-103). In relation to Gertrude, Ophelia is even weaker and more passive. ... ...e murder of his father, Hamlet Sr. After Hamlet killed Polonius, and stored his body, when first asked of him the location of Polonius' body, and Hamlet replied with a riddle; "The body is with the King, but the King is not / with the body. The King is a thing-" (Hamlet - 4.2.27-28). This riddle strange in itself was evidence to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern of Hamlet's insanity. Once the King banished him to his death in England, Hamlet replied with "Farewell, dear mother." (Hamlet - 4.4.58). Shocking to the King, being his father and or uncle, and Hamlet forgave an explanation to the King of why he called him his mother; "My mother. Father and mother is man and wife, / Man and wife is one flesh, and so, my mother" (Hamlet - 4.4.60-61). Hamlet's mask of insanity had fooled the King, the Queen, Ophelia, Polonius, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Though he had fooled these people he always kept a full grasp of reality and his true convictions. "To thine own self be true," (Polonius - 1.3.84) the words of a fool followed only by the tragic hero, Hamlet. The masks of the characters were what lead each to their tragedy.