Hamlet catharsis essay

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In these two plays the response of tears and pity is marked as a specifically theatrical response: it implies the response expected of the audience watching the play. The release of emotion in a scene of formal lament is probably the most satisfying mode of resolution for a tragedy. To this aspect of tragedy, as we notice in Hamlet and Oedipus the King, the ritual meaning of Aristotle's catharsis as purification would be especially relevant.

The tears and references to weeping in tragedy serve as a figure or objective correlative for the emotional response and release that the tragic action produces. Catharsis points to the same area of emotional response. The entire closing movement in Oedipus the King creates a catharsis, a cleansing release, of those emotions of pity and fear that were so violent at the moment of recognition, when the chorus first looked with horror on their blinded king. Sophocles gradually channels the cathartic effect into the physical expression of tears, shed both by Oedipus and by his children.

Crisis and Catharsis: The Power of the Apocalypse. Westminster Press, Find, Gene. Is Hamlet a Religious Drama? An Essay on a Question in Kierkegaard. Marquette University Press, Silk, M. Tragedy and the Tragic: Greek Theatre and Beyond. Oxford University Press, Stay with EssayChief!

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Catharsis In Hamlet Free Essays

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In the first part of the play, Hamlet is perceived as highly egocentric. Hamlet assumes too much in his egocentricity, but by the last act of the play, after his reappearance following his voyage to England, Hamlet has transformed. Hamlet at last understands that it does not matter when death comes, and that he will be ready for it whenever it arrives. He also has a sensitive conscience that prevents him from doing evil acts.


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This man is fated to suffer through the entirety of the play, and witnessing the constant suffering of such a remarkable person makes the audience feel that the element of good has been wasted. The task itself drives him to such great mental agony until his death that the audience is compelled to feel empathy towards Hamlet; there is the sense that a brilliant mind is being wasted by being forced to endure perpetual suffering. Further along in the play, Hamlet accidentally kills Polonius, an act that results in his exile to England; fate again intervenes when his ship is attacked by pirates, and he returns to Denmark to meet his tragic death.

Though Hamlet and the audience know that his end has already been shaped, the sense of a good man being wasted still exists. Had he remained alive, we imagine, Hamlet could have done a great deal of good for his country.

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Throughout the play, the audience feels sympathy and fear for the titular protagonist. When Claudius is killed, tension is released as the audience is assured that no more evil can be done. Even though each character has made blunders and acted treacherously, they forgive each other, and the audience is relieved that they die peacefully, their souls free of guilt. Horatio, who acts as the voice of the audience throughout the play, plays a major part in bringing relief to the spectators.

Hamlet Themes

Before dying, Hamlet requests that Horatio tell the true account of the episode to the public. These lines assure the audience that Horatio will relate the truth to the people of Denmark, thus relieving a great deal of tension. The responsibility of leading Denmark falls upon Fortinbras, the headstrong and decisive Prince of Norway. When Fortinbras hears of the strange events that have come to pass, he says:. Fortinbras quickly takes control of the situation, and the audience is reassured that Denmark and its people will be in good, reliable hands.

Catharsis in hamlet essay

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