Monday, November 27, 2006

Hamlet Act 2 Blog Question

The ghost mentions that he is in a horrible place of judgment. Could Hamlet be resisting the urge to kill Claudius immediately because he does not want to withstand the same agony of his father? What might King Hamlet have done to deserve such a punishment?

20 Comments:

Blogger melissa b said...

I do think Hamlet does not want to withstand the same agony of his father by killing Cladius immediatley. He is not 100% sure on what he wants to do! He is so upset about his father's death he is not sure what to do. He is very lost. I mean if he kills Claudius immediatley he will live with guilt the rest of his life and it will not make his dream come true, which I think is to bring his father back.
If he kills Claudius immediatley he will live with guilt and the fact that his father is dead!
I am not quite sure what King Hamlet had done to deserve such a punishment. It could be many things. If i think of anything I will post it

November 27, 2006 9:02 PM  
Blogger MarinaB said...

I don’t think it is the fact that Hamlet is resisting on killing Claudius, because, one we all think he is the murderer, Hamlet thinks he is the murderer, his dead father is telling him he is the murderer so obviously we are all going with Claudius is the murderer. Now from act two we see Hamlet acting out childishly and in a way of scheming plots. Hamlet seems to me to be the type of person to seek revenge that will completely destroy a person. And I have a feeling he is going to do that with Claudius. We know that he has already plotted to have the actors “act” out the killing of Hamlets father in front of everybody, to me that sounds like sweet revenge if Hamlet can pull off “proving” it was Claudius by his twitch and facial expressions during the play. So I don’t think he is confused or worried about being in agony, I think he is finally playing a game and playing it smart.

November 27, 2006 9:29 PM  
Blogger DaveV said...

I don't necessarily think that Hamlet is "resisting the urge" to kill Claudius because he wants to avoid purgatory. First off i don't even know if Hamlet is "dying" to kill claudius, it is not in his character to murder someone, let alone take any initiative. I think Hamlet is more worried about gathering all the right information about the murder first before making and radical decisions. I dont think it is because he is worried about what is going to happen to him after he murders cluadius, but more worried about making sure that claudius is in fact the one who murdered his father.

November 28, 2006 7:42 AM  
Blogger levik said...

I also think that Hamlet is taking his time with the whole avenging his father's death plan. He wants to make sure that the ghost is giving him an accurate account of what actually happened. He will do this by having the actors act out a similar murder to the one the ghost has described. Hamlet will judge Claudius's reaction to see if he is in fact the murderer. If the reaction Claudius gives is sufficient enough for Hamlet, I believe he will not hesitate to kill him. However, the fact that Hamlet's father is in a place of judgement could possibly slow Hamlet down. Old Hamlet gained his throne by force and young Hamlet knows this. If he kills Claudius, he might be placed in a similar place of judgement because of his murder. Hamlet will have to decide if he believes the ghost, and if killing Claudius is worth the price he might have to pay.

November 28, 2006 11:52 AM  
Blogger LeAnneC said...

I think that when the ghost mentions that he is in a horrible place of judgement, it is because he is a ghost and because he has murdered. As Smith said in class, King Hamlet was murdered so he was never pardoned for his sins or read his last rights or anything. I don't exactly think that this means that Hamelt will recieve the same judgement as the king. I think that Hamlet is going so slow with the process of killing Claudius because he wants to be absolutely sure that this is the right thing and the right man. However if Hamlet murdered Claudius wouldn't he be in the same place of horrible judgement as King Hamlet? The ultimate payback?

November 28, 2006 12:56 PM  
Blogger Marie P said...

That's a really good point Leanne. I also agree with Marina in that Hamlet is acting very smart in questioning the ghost. It's good that he wants to prove Claudius' guilt before he makes any huge actions. He isn't biding his time or even thinking about himself. Which is interesting because all of the other Tragic Plays we've read the Tragic hero is very self centered. Maybe this is his heroic quality; he is avenging his father not for his own interest, but the memory of his father.
It's interesting to think of what King Hamlet could have done to deserve this punishment. He's been seen as a victim in every conversation so far. I'd like to see if we ever find out.

November 28, 2006 1:32 PM  
Blogger Kyle G said...

I also think that Hamlet wants to make absolute sure that the ghost was telling the truth before taking any kind of revenge for his father's death. He isn't even sure that the spirit is that of his dad's, so it is good for him, I think personally more than anything, to discover the truth. As has been said before, I don't think Hamlet could live with himself if he were to kill the wrong person, and he knows that, so he does not want to have any doubt in the guilt of Claudius.

It will be interesting to see why King Hamlet has received such a punishment. I have no theories as to how or why he is getting this punishment, but it is interesting to see how close Hamlet remains to his father if he did do something terrible. I wonder how in depth the play will go into this.

November 28, 2006 2:54 PM  
Blogger KatieA said...

I horrible place of judgement that the ghost is talking about is hell. Smith touched on it during fishbowl, he is in a certain stage of hell because he is being tryed. He is being tryed because of his unfinished business i think. Hell doesnt know where to place him because it doesnt know what happened to him as far as his death and if he has unfinished business as far as avenging his killer. I dont think that Hamlet is worried about being in the same position because he knows that he has to avenge his fathers death if indeed he was murdered. He knows thats why his father is in the place he is because of the avengence, if he does so it might free him. I think that Hamlet just need to be sure that his father was murdered by claudius and he will set the score even.

November 28, 2006 2:55 PM  
Blogger ClaireL said...

I think that Hamlet is holding out on doing anything as drastic as killing someone until he knows exactly what happened. It hasn't been confirmed yet if Claudius actually did murder Hamlet's father, so I think Hamlet wants to get the real story and get to the bottom of things before really taking any action. As for what Hamlet might have done to be punished like this, I don't know that he neccessarily had to do something for all these things to be happening to him. It may just be one of those "bad things happen to good people" cases

November 28, 2006 4:15 PM  
Blogger ashleyg said...

I don't think that Hamlet killing Claudius would have anything to do with the ghosts' feelings and his place of judgment. I think in his own mind he is scared. Killing someone is a big deal and I think that he is a little affraid to do it, so he is putting it off. Earlier on we learned that King Hamlet killed Fortinbras and took the land that was suppose to go to young Fortinbras. He could be feeling bad about that because the land that he gained in that battle wasn't rightfully his to have, he simply just took it.

November 28, 2006 4:31 PM  
Blogger sonnyw said...

Smith said in class that King Hamlet is in being judged in "purgatory," so I did a little research on purgatory and the Roman Catholic Church online. Apparently, purgatory is a place of temporary punishment (it is not eternal, like hell). The sins a person is punished for in purgatory are "venial sins" (i.e., "minor" sins, mistakes that someone makes without full knowledge of the negative consequences of their actions). The purpose of purgatory is to redeem a person's venial sins (through punishment) so that they may be pure for their eventual acceptance by God. Though this may sound like a less harsh punishment than hell, keep in mind that St. Gregory the Great described the flames of purgatory as "more severe than anything a man can suffer in this life."

Applying this to the story of Hamlet, we may assume that King Hamlet has no mortal sins hanging over his head. If he is being judged in purgatory, he only has venial sins. Remember, however, Horatio and Marcellus' tale of King Hamlet in Act I, Scene i. They tell how King Hamlet slayed old Fortinbras in a duel. If deliberate murder such as this does not land King Hamlet a spot in hell, I don't know what young Hamlet has to be afraid of. Surely killing Claudius will be a minor sin, and will only merit Hamlet a stay in purgatory. I will admit, the way the Ghost describes his purgatory on p. 57 would probably make Hamlet not want to every incur God's punishment--even for a minor misdeed. But like I said in the first fishbowl, there's no way Hamlet can escape sin. If he kills Claudius, then he's a murder. If he doesn't, then he disgraces his father. So which sin is the lesser of the two?

One more question--with Hamlet's royal status, couldn't he easily buy indulgences from the church and skip the fiery judgement altogether?

Please, keep in mind I'm no expert on Catholic dogma. My comments are based on pretty minimal research, and may not reflect the entire truth of Roman Catholic belief now or during Hamlet's time. Nevertheless, I just thought I'd put those ideas out there. Source: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12575a.htm#II (The Online Catholic Encyclopedia)

November 28, 2006 5:30 PM  
Blogger ZachM said...

Just reacting to what Sonny said, I don't think King Hamlet murdering old Fortinbras is the same as young Hamlet murdering Claudius. There is a difference between a battle between two consenting people and cold-blooded murder.

I'm no expert on purgatory but I don't think that Hamlet's reason for hesitating is that he is afraid of winding up in purgatory. We talked in class about how Hamlet loves his father so much that he would do anything for his father. The reason he would murder Claudius is to save his father from purgatory. Is that a sin then? I don't believe that young Hamlet saving his father would bring the same fate on him. King Hamlet is probably in purgatory for some minor sins that he did in life, just like Sonny said.


I have one more thing to add. Kings back then were chosen by divine right. If Claudius DID murder King Hamlet then could the ghost and his message be considered god-sent? Just a thought.

November 28, 2006 6:29 PM  
Blogger David L said...

I don't think that Hamlet's hesitation in killing Claudius is driven by a fear of purgatory or punishment. As Smith talked about during the fishbowl, I think that Hamlet is relatively young and inexperienced, and he really doesn't know how to react to the situation. The plan he devises is a good way for him to gain more knowledge about the murder without acting "o'er'hastily". Also, I agree with Leanne in that old Hamlet didn't necessarily do anything terribly wrong to be put in a place of punishment. You all can correct me if I'm wrong, but I think the popular belief back then was that if someone was killed in an unnatural or extremely brutal fashion, then they were supposed to return to this world as ghosts to seek revenge. I think that by killing Claudius - assuming Claudius truly is the murderer - young Hamlet will avenge his father's death and free him from him place of punishment.

November 28, 2006 8:08 PM  
Blogger hannahm said...

I think Hamlet is still in shock. His father just died, then he finds out that his uncle murdered him, and his mother married the man who killed her husband almost right after. That has got to be a lot to handle at this point and I think Hamlet has no idea what he will do next. He probably has a lot of doubt in his mind at this point and is just waiting until more information presents itself. He doesn’t seem to have a whole lot of information about the ghost and doesn’t want to trust anyone just yet.

November 28, 2006 8:30 PM  
Blogger Scott M said...

I think that he is probably thinking about what might happen to him if he kills Claudious. I also think that he might be thinking that Claudious deserves to be killed and he needs to be the one that gives him what he deserves. I think that King Hamlet is probably in a horrible place because of what he did most of his life which was being at war. Just from reading it I think that he was probably very focused on war for most of his life. His life was also cut short so he couldn’t repent for anything that he had done during his life.

November 28, 2006 9:14 PM  
Blogger Amy K said...

I think it is pretty apparent that King Hamlet's place of judgement is remaining with his sins when he died. If Hamlet decides to kill Claudius that puts him in a position to be judged for his sins as well. I don't think it puts him and his father in the same position however unless Hamlet is murdered or dies without having a clean slate?? I guess I'm not understanding how those two relate?? I don't think King Hamlet did anything to deserve being murdered. I think Claudius (assumed killer) did it for power and any other reasons someone would want that position.I don't think it has anything to do with King Hamlet's past wrongdoing..it doesnt mention hardly anything about him or his character/actions in the book at all, so I don't think it relates.

November 28, 2006 10:55 PM  
Blogger chrisg said...

I think Hamlet is making sure that what he is doing is correct. He is hesitating on what to do because he is still worried that the ghost might not of been correct in telling him what happened. This is very understandable because what he is going to do will probably get him killed. The only thing i do not understand about him waiting is that before the ghost he was contemplating suicide, so this making sure everything is correct seems a little over conservative. I do not think that it was what King Hamlet did that got him killed, but more that his brother, Claudius, was power hungry and could not stand not having any control.

November 29, 2006 7:14 AM  
Blogger Mark C said...

The fact that King Hamlet is being punished adds to Hamlet's desire to kill Claudius. He must avenge his father death in order to judge his father's soul so that it can be sent away from the current pain. The issue becomes what will happen to Hamlet's soul if he kills Claudius. I do not think Hamlet is thinking about what will happen to his soul later on, but instead the consequences of his actions in the near future. He is afraid of making a mistake and therefore he is being very cautious in regards to killing Claudius. I agree with Chris, Hamlet is hesitating because he is worried about having incorrect information.

November 29, 2006 9:56 AM  
Blogger Matt W said...

Good insights Sonny. I agree that the place of judgment that King Hamlet is in (if it is indeed purgatory) would cause Hamlet to think twice before commiting such an act of revenge (Revenge is mine sayeth the Lord...). However, I believe that Hamlet will not see this case of murder as Justice rather than sin. If a man spills the blood of another man, so shall his blood be spilled. Hamlet is in a tough situation of balance considering he will suffer the consequences of his action or in-action. The only decision he has to make is when his suffering will take place: this Earthly life, or Eternally.

As for why King Hamlet is in this place of judgment, his actions while alive would certainly be at the very least venial sins. Hamlet has conquered and ruled through war and death, and he is having to answer for his actions.

November 29, 2006 10:17 AM  
Blogger Richw said...

Well who in this kind of position seriously considers the long term consequences of their actions? I don't think that Hamlet is resisting the urge to immediately kill Claudius because he is worried about ending up in purgatory but rather because he wants to make sure beyond any doubt that Claudius is indeed his father's murderer. He also is hesitant about revenge bedause he is worried that if his father is supposedly suffering in purgatory then he must have done something very bad to deserve sufferage and if Hamlet jr. kills Claudius with the wrong intentions or reasons than his soul could be subjected to the same suffering his father is experiencing.

December 04, 2006 9:43 AM  

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