Hamlet: England and Samuel Taylor Coleridge

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"…but the great object of his life is defeated by continually resolving to do, yet doing is nothing but resolve." ~ Samuel Taylor Coleridge

William Shakespeare has written many famous plays, one of which is the great tragedy of Hamlet. Samuel Taylor Coleridge, an accomplished English poet, spoke of Hamlet's character in one of his lectures. In the play, Hamlet is torn between his feelings of revenge and a kinder soul of cruelty. He seeks to avenge his late father's death by killing the man who has murdered him. Even though all of the signs for the motive to kill the king are apparent, Hamlet still procrastinates on taking action. Yet, by the end of the story, Hamlet is finally able to find resolve.

In his Lectures of 1811-1812, Lecture XII, Samuel Coleridge discussed Hamlet's character. He ultimately said that Shakespeare could have had Hamlet kill his father's murderer the first chance he had in Act II. Instead he chose to have Hamlet's intellect overrule his desire to act quickly. "He is a man living in meditation…" says Coleridge of Hamlet's character. Had Shakespeare chose to have Hamlet commit the murder in Act II, the play would have been short and dull rather than long and more interesting; simply less tragic.

Hamlet is constantly torn between cause and truth. He soon becomes obsessed with trying to prove that his uncle is guilty. While he is debating right from wrong in Act II, Scene II, a group of minstrels comes through and he asks them to put on a play. He invites his mother and uncle to attend. The performance takes place in Act III, Scene II. The play is a sort of reenactment that is similar to the events which led to the death of his father. During the performance, Hamlet and Horatio closely watch Claudius' face for any signs of guilt. Claudius eventually becomes alarmed and his guilty conscience is revealed.

Avenging the murder of a father during the time period in which the play was set was considered to be a part of one's honor. When...
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