Shakespeare’s Hamlet explores the complex psychological profile of Hamlet. Shakespeare expertly molds his construction, content and language to explore his own social and cultural realities. However, it is undoubtedly Shakespeare’s dramatic treatment of the tragic hero’s complex psychological struggle with vengeance and his disillusionment with both his interior and exterior worlds that imbue the play with a timeless universality. In the light of my critical study, it has become apparent that Hamlet is not so much a play about the action of ‘revenge’, but rather depicts a psychological and moral confusion and the implications this has on the human psyche through its examination of morality, appearance vs. reality, deception and the role of women.
Shakespeare characterises Hamlet as in the midst of an internal and external struggle between action and inaction, however, the underlying cause is the conflict between revenge and morality. Hamlet’s soliloquies illuminate to the audience the true nature of revenge and its effects on the human psyche. In his soliloquy at the end of Act 2, Hamlet ruminates on the fact that he is “prompted to my revenge by heaven and hell”; his revenge is a dichotomy between ‘good’ and ‘evil’. On one hand, the Ghost has bestowed upon him his fate: he must avenge his father’s “most foul and unnatural murder”. Hamlet’s first soliloquy allows the audience to gain a direct understanding of the significance of the events that have surpassed through the mythological comparisons with Hernia, an “unweeded garden” which has turned “rank and gross” all things natural; the motif of decay and disease indicating to the audience that something “is rotten in the state of Denmark”, exacerbating these “unnatural” turn of events and the overthrow of the Great Chain of Being. On the other hand, the “unweeded garden” could also symbolize Hamlet’s moral strife in that his mind is overloaded with immoral thoughts of the deeds he must fulfill....
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