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    Hamlet as a Renaissance Man. Understanding Essay

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    Because of the ministrations of word limit, this essay will confine its exploration to the character of Hamlet himself to exemplify the plays reflection of the Italian Renaissance. Hamlet is set up as a spirit of Renaissance against what Machiavelli would have seen as medieval Northern barbarism. Hamlet has received a humanist education which he recurrently demonstrates, and which he extends by virtue of his own intellect through his experience.

    Classical allusions, similes and metaphors litter his speeches and dialogue as evidence of his extensive reading of the classical authors and his earning on how to use them to exemplify as all the humanist writers do. He also takes great pleasure in the player’s speech from a classically- styled play which “pleased not the million [and was] caviar to the general” concerning heroism in the Trojan War, whereas Polonium finds it “too long”. He clearly has a thirst for knowledge and learning, being reported as an avid reader; and he is free and independent enough to apply his own Judgment to what he reads, as he does with the “slanders” in al. I. Above all, Hamlet has read Pico Della Miranda on the Dignity of Man, and has faith in the power of free will and reason. Thus the highest praise he can confer on his dead father is “He was a man, take him for all in all”. In al. Ii he expounds, 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 – the beauty of the world, the paragon of animals! And in IV. V he asks, What is man, If his chief good and market of his time Be but to sleep and feed? A beast, no more. Sure, he that made us with such large discourse, Looking before and after, gave us not That capability and godlike reason To fuss in us unused. Now, whether it be Bestial oblivion, or some craven scruple Of thinking too precisely on the also indicates Hamlet’s very human problem and a very real consideration for the humanists and humiliatingly trained public men of the Renaissance.

    He has to apply the education he has received, and his reason, to the real world and the vita dative, not merely to philosophical contemplation. In attempting to do this he actually applies the respected Renaissance quality of “prudence”, which is why Hamlet is often accused of indeed “thinking too precisely on the event”. As Giovanni Reclaim rote, “It does not please me to act hastily in any matter, but rather to do everything prudently and afar taking thought. ” In Ill. Ii Hamlet admires Horopito for his ability to move through life applying cool “Judgment” rather than intemperate passion.

    Hamlet is reported in the play as having been a perfect Castigation courtier, and he also demonstrates qualities which Machiavelli advised for princes, so that “he was likely, had he been put on,] To have proved most royal. ” As Aphelia says, Hamlet’s is “a noble mind”, that he is The couturier’s, soldier’s, scholar’s, eye, tongue, sword, The expectancy and rose of the fair state, The glass of fashion and the mould of form, The observed of all observers and that he has a “noble and most sovereign reason” and the “unmatched form and feature of blown youth”.

    Just as his speech demonstrates his classical erudition, so it does too his wider education, showing him comfortable in playing with language and grammar, writing for a play and for statecraft, and within the areas of music, plays and acting, history, theology and religious doctrine, morality, the art of warfare, sailing and ship terminology, law, medicine, hunting and sports, gardening, and more. He has a talent for comedy and is witty and entertaining when he wants to be.

    He despises Claudia and, for much of the play, his mother, but he always treats both with courtesy in public (except in the extremities of the night of the play within the play). He treats all his social inferiors, except those who betray him, with equal generous courtesy, and he is “beloved of his inferiors”. His letter to Horopito and his beating of the much-praised Alerts at fencing show that his knowledge is not merely theoretical, but that he is also and brilliant in practice.

    In his lines about the court’s excessive revealing under Claudia, and in his wing speech, he demonstrates his value of “temperance” and his genuine concern for the condition and welfare of the state. Although he is privately troubled, everything he does in public is accomplished with supersaturate and he “soon[s] Affectation”. Hamlet makes a clear distinction between sexual love and the neo- Platonic spiritual bonding favored by Castigation and humanists. He offers the latter freely to those he respects, but eschews the former throughout the play.

    Physical love and marriage, he thinks, should “wait upon the Judgment”. He knows he cannot work alone, but he is very selective about who he has to aid him. As though following Castigation’s advice “To get him an especially and hearty friend to company withal”, he selects Horopito; and following Machiavelli, he seeks the help and advice of Horopito, whose wisdom, honesty and plain- speaking he respects, shunning the mediocre flattery of Restaurant, Guilelessness and Polonium. Yet he is wise and competent enough himself not to subdue his own will and Judgment to Hortatory when they do not agree.

    In addition, in his craftiness, his ability to remove adversaries, his ability to “be cruel to be kind”, and his ability to lie convincingly to achieve his ends and hat he believes is a common good, Hamlet demonstrates his princely potential. As everything, must be ruined among so many who are not good. It is essential, therefore, for a Prince who desires to maintain his position, to have learned how to be other than good, and to use or not to use his goodness as necessity requires.

    Finally, in his attitude to death and the purposes of life before it, Hamlet also reflects the ideology of renaissance society. He begins the play rather disillusioned with life because death is inevitable and he finds mortality vulgar (1. “. 72-76 and off, and al. Ii. 95-310). In the course of the famous soliloquy, “To be, or not to be … ” He complains that the possibilities of life are not fulfilled because of fear of death (111. ‘. 78-88). But in Act V he comes to embrace a broader Renaissance view of death.

    Savonarola, preaching on death, encouraged people to visit cemeteries and “to take a skull in one’s hand and contemplate it often. ” Shakespeare, explicit as ever, has Hamlet actually do exactly this to come to an acceptance of the inevitability of the reality of mortality (V. I. 174-209). He is then able to move beyond fear and horror of it to the incessant vision that life, more than Just a preparation for death, was also a period in which something of value could be achieved and passed on to the future, allowing the individual even to live on through fame.

    Thus Hamlet faces and accepts death in general, then the death of Aphelia, and still goes on with his life to plan and achieve his purpose, the death of Claudia; and he even displays a degree of humor whilst he knows he is risking his own death. He accepts, too, that the timing and manner of it must be left up to “providence”. And when he does come to die, he has two encores: his own future name, and the future welfare of the state (V. Ii. 21 5-220, and 343-345, and 349-363). ‘It is commonly said that a good life brings a good death reason constrains me to die willingly, and so may it please the Lord God to concede me the grace so to do. Giovanni Reclaim (1473) ‘There is a special providence in the fall off sparrow The readiness is all. ‘ Hamlet What is a Renaissance man? What do you mean by the phrase? It’s usually used to define a person who has a variety of interests and expertise (like Leonardo dad Vinci, for example), and one who is interested in the arts and education. My Encyclopedic Dictionary defined a Renaissance man or woman as one “whose intellectual interests and achievements are wide-ranging; especially, one whose talents encompass both the arts and the sciences. ” Certainly Hamlet’s education and interest in the arts qualify.

    He, like Horopito, seems to be interested in the sciences as well – his speculations on the essence of man, on the meaning of life and death, on the psychology of guilt and more. He is a Prince, a scholar, a swordsman, a thinker, a wit, a lover? , a poet, an observer, a man of action (despite what some people say about him), and more. Find where in the play you can find the attributes of the Renaissance man in Hamlet… There are plenty of them. Hamlet: The Transition from Medieval to Renaissance Man In Shakespearean play “Hamlet” as a whole there are several Renaissance traits and references to e. . Classic antiquity, classical Greek and Roman stories, historical events, characters, etc. But what may be even more interesting to look at, are the qualities in the character of Hamlet that make him a Renaissance man. Expected of Hamlet to revenge his father), but the fact that Hamlet is in many ways a Renaissance character, containing Renaissance attributes, creates a grave clash in arms of mentality, worldview, and views of human nature, which causes a lot of tension and catastrophe throughout the play when Hamlet is in despair and acts quite ambivalently.

    All of Hamlet’s rational reflections illustrate some of the important characteristics of the Renaissance man, e. G. The humanist philosophy. There are several clear statements of the humanist ideas about the uniqueness and extraordinary abilities of the human mind and the respect of mankind, the right of men, for instance in 2nd act, scene 2, where Hamlet asks: “What a piece of work is a man, how noble in reason, how infinite in faculties.

    He’s speculating on the meaning of life and death (as we read it in the “To be or not to be”-soliloquy as well), he’s considering the psychology of guilt – he constantly doubts the essence of man. Hamlet is a Prince, a man of action, but at the same time a thinker, a lover, a poet, etc. In the “To be or not to be”-soliloquy, he moreover refers to an unknown afterlife – “The undiscovered country’, which can be seen as a great change from the medieval belief that people either went to heaven or to hell. In the soliloquy, we also see how Hamlet is in constant consideration of the consequences of his acts, etc.

    Moreover, just the fact that he considers to commit suicide (that he contemplates to break with God’s rules and the norm that only God could give and take life) is a strong deviance from the norms reigning at medieval time; actually from even Renaissance norms. He’s considering to break the Great Chain of Being! Scholars actually agree that Hamlet reflects the coexisting skepticism that existed in Renaissance humanism. He’s challenging the view that man was God’s greatest creation, made in God’s image – he’s constantly questioning everything. Moreover, he doesn’t Just accept the fast that

    Claudia takes over the throne after his murdered brother. He’s challenging anything that has got to do with the natural hierarchical structures maintaining political power. All this shows the ambivalence of the Renaissance mentality: that everything is ordered in systems, and that there are certain things that can’t be violated – but at the same time there’s a strong belief in the free will. To sum up: We’re dealing with quite a deviance from the norms reigning at medieval time at several passages, but Hamlet is generally hard to put in a box and classify as purely Renaissance.

    This essay was written by a fellow student. You may use it as a guide or sample for writing your own paper, but remember to cite it correctly. Don’t submit it as your own as it will be considered plagiarism.

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    Hamlet as a Renaissance Man. Understanding Essay. (2017, Oct 03). Retrieved from

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