Hawk-eyed vigilance is required to see the hidden meaning in many of Shakespeare’s works. Quite often, we are not exactly up to the task. His writing itself, besides portraying a thrilling tale, is filled with puzzles and brain teasers meant to enthrall the mind. The plethora of symbolism captures the mindset of each and every character. An exceptional example of this, is the costume changes that occur in Hamlet. Hamlet, the main character, sinks into a deep ocean of grief and depression. He grieves for his father’s death, and on top of that he takes on the grief that his mother could never show decently. All of the anguish that he experiences overtime is shown with his attire.'”Tis not alone my inky cloak, good mother,
Nor customary suits of solemn black,
Nor windy suspiration of forced breath,
No, nor the fruitful river in the eye,
Nor the dejected 'havior of the visage,
Together with all forms, moods, shapes of grief,
That can denote me truly” (1.2.4)
Hamlet indicates that his clothes are “denoting” his spoiled feelings. Hamlet explains how “suits of solemn black” cannot express the intensity of the suffering that lives within him. As grief is portrayed through the color black, Hamlet’s attire suggests that he has been upset for quite a while. As he continues to grieve, Hamlet’s mother on the other hand hastily re-marries and seemingly forgets her grief in a short amount of time. Because his Mother, Gertrude, decides to close her black attire and move on, so must her surroundings. Everyone in the kingdom condones her decision and acts cheerful about her new marriage. Their attires show acceptance, but Hamlet's does not. Just as he is the only person wearing black, he is also the only one grieving in a gleeful, jaunty, court.
Moreover, as his mother is preoccupied with her new husband, and the happiness that comes with the marriage, one woman gives Hamlet more care than his mother has shown throughout the story. This woman happens to be in the happy crowd, and she is upset to see Hamlet’s evident heartache. As she expresses her distress, she is shown to be the only woman to genuinely care about Hamlet:“My lord, as I was sewing in my closet,
Lord Hamlet, with his doublet all unbraced;
No hat upon his head; his stockings foul'd,
Ungarter'd, and down-gyved to his ancle;
Pale as his shirt; his knees knocking each other;
And with a look so piteous in purport
As if he had been loosed out of hell
To speak of horrors,--he comes before me.” (2.1.1)
This woman, Ophelia, is convinced that Hamlet has gone mad. Her conclusion is supported by his attire. The state of someone’s clothes often reflect a person’s mental well-being, and Ophelia notices that Hamlet is not wearing his usual black cloak when she says, "pale as his shirt." Furthermore, his facial expression appears to look as tortured and drained as a dead man’s. Ophelia has come to a conclusion that Hamlet altogether looks as eerie like a ghost. Moreover, Hamlet appears to have lost his faith in human nature altogether.
Hamlet firmly believes that all of his troubles are caused by his mother, "Frailty, thy name is woman!" (1.2.6), and as a result, he insults the humanity of women as an "unweeded garden” that is "rank and gross in nature" (1.2.6). Hamlet continues to refer to women with a noticeable stigma, explaining how the nature of women repels him. He sees his mother as as a female representing all other women in the world. That is why he classifies a woman's nature with such disgust. As the main woman in his life has deceived Hamlet, he has come to the conclusion that women are evil and useless. Meanwhile, Ophelia, who cares for him, is too late to repair the trust in the gender, so ruined by his mother.Ultimately, Hamlet is one out of many complex art pieces that Shakespeare has written. Shakespeare ever so cleverly displays the hidden meanings in his characters through little details; As Shakespeare tells the story of Hamlet’s life, he indicates the mental state and emotions that Hamlet experiences through attire. The Brilliance that Shakespeare uses within subtle attributes are a lot of the time overlooked. Nevertheless in all cases, they are greatly important to the value of the greater meanings behind what he displayed.