Hamlet – The Character of Hamlet
Hamlet identifies with an adolescent of the 1990s more than he does with the youth of his own time. Hamlet is immature, sarcastic, and takes action during the heat of passion which is very much like the behavior of the youth in the 1990s.
Love, control over action, and the ability to overcome depression are just a few ways to prove maturity. It is obvious Hamlet loves Ophelia in his own way “… the celestial and my souls idol, the most beautified Ophelia …” (Hamlet. II, ii, 109-110), but his way is not mature enough to include trust toward his lover. The trust that Hamlet should have given her was the key of his madness. This madness that Hamlet cannot trust his love with is the same madness that he loses total control over because of his immaturity; it then causes him to do things, such as kill Polonius, that a person that was mature could stop. The madness that Hamlet assumes is understandable but he can never get over the actual death of his father by still wearing black a year later, and the hasty marriage of his mother to Claudius. Compared to Horatio who is calm and cool throughout the play, and Fortinbras who collected an army to fight for his uncles land and honor, Hamlets maturity level for his time is low, especially for being a prince. Today Hamlets age group is more immature than during his own time so he relates to the youth of the 1990s better than he does with the adolescents of his own time.
Sarcasm, and blunt rudeness is often used by Hamlet in order to offend people that, during his time, he should not have offended. Hamlet often used the hasty marriage of his mother to offend Claudius. The first time that Hamlet offends Claudius in the company of another person is when Claudius is supposed to be helping cheer Hamlet up. “A little more than kin, and less than kind.” (Hamlet. I, ii, 65) is just as rude during Hamlets time as almost anything that a person could say today, it just takes a little thinking for the people of today to get what Hamlet means.
The second person that Hamlet is openly rude to is Polonius. Hamlet, in front of Claudius and Gertrude, insults Polonius by calling him “… a fishmonger.” (Hamlet. II, ii, 174) This is not the only way that Hamlet offended Polonius. Hamlet offended Polonius by insulting his daughter. Hamlet is crude in his own day by asking Ophelia “Lady, shall I lie in your lap?” (Hamlet. III, ii, 115) What is strange about Hamlets ability to use his mouth is that the youth of today is able to use the same kinds of sarcasm and rudeness effectively, just as Hamlet does, but with Hamlets political position he should not have offended the people such as his stepfather.
Being radical and acting on impulse is something that Hamlet had to use in order to get his work finished. Hamlet, having a hard time getting revenge, applied his anger from the judgment of his mother to kill who he thought was Claudius. Hamlet also needed to be on his own deathbed in order to finally get angry enough to kill Claudius. The way that Hamlet uses his anger to take action is very much like the youth today in the fact that if someone has a problem with log cutting, for example, they hold protests and take action against that problem.
The second way that Hamlet is extreme is when he goes with the ghost that looks like his father even though his friends warn him that the ghost may be evil and “…tempt you toward the flood … Or to the dreadful summit of the cliff …” (Hamlet. I, iv, 69-70). If the prince was thinking right he would not have gone with the ghost that resembled the old “… King, father, royal Dane …” (Hamlet. I, iv, 45) Hamlets radical actions do not just prove that he is immature but also proves that he needs action from outside sources in order to get a reaction from himself. This is just like the youth of the 1990s in the respect that if something is wrong, such as the cutting of an old growth forest, then they usually act against it in dramatic ways.
An immature, mouthy, extremist is what adolescents of the 1990s are compared to the youth of Hamlets time. The inability to love maturely, rudeness towards authority, and reacting to anger is what the youth of the 1990s and Hamlet have in common. Hamlet would have a much easier time living during these times than his own. Hamlets immaturity, rudeness, and radical behavior is just like todays youth and that is the insight that Hamlet has towards the youth of the 1990s.