January 7th 2011
Shakespeare wrote The Tragedy of Hamlet in the 17th century. The play has numerous themes that include love, secrecy and most importantly, lack of courage. Hamlet, the main character, swears revenge for the death of his father and successfully avenges him. In the play, The Tragedy of Hamlet, the most famous line came from Hamlet’s soliloquy in Act 3 Scene 1: “To be or not to be, that is the question”. At the beginning of this soliloquy he contemplates whether one should live and suffer the pain of life’s troubles or die and end it. At the end of the soliloquy, Hamlet concludes that one bear’s the troubles of life because they do not know what is there after life, and so they accept the troubles of life which makes them a coward. Shakespeare shows the lack of courage through Hamlet, Claudius and Polonius.
The first quotation where Shakespeare shows the lack of courage would be when Hamlet kills Polonius. “How now? A rat? Dead for a ducant,/ dead.......Nay, I know not. Is it the King?....A bloody deed- almost as bad, good mother,/ as kill a king, and marry with his brother”(3.4 line 24-30). In this quotation Hamlet stabs Polonius after hearing the conversation between him and Gertrude. Polonius was killed while hiding behind the curtain. Hamlet should have given him a chance to step out and explain why he was there. However, because Hamlet lacks courage he decided to kill the person without even knowing who it was. In this quotation he questions whether he had just killed Claudius. This shows he made the assumption that Claudius was eavesdropping and therefore killed him. He let his emotions get the best of him. He was so caught up in trying to avenge his father’s death that he killed an innocent man. The quotation stated above shows the lack of courage in Hamlet.
The second quotation where Shakespeare shows the lack of courage would be Claudius indirectly trying to kill Hamlet. “No place indeed should...