A character’s downfall is the result of a combination of weakness and circumstance. Analyse the extent to which this statement is true with reference to Hamlet.
In William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, a character’s personal weakness and unsatisfactory circumstances result in the character’s downfall. A character’s weakness goes unnoticed until put in circumstances that emphasize their weakness. The result of the highlighted weakness by the challenging situation is the character’s downfall. This is demonstrated in Hamlet, Laertes and Claudius. Each of the characters is in circumstances where they need to overcome their weakness but when unable to, they become disgraced.
Firstly, Hamlet is a man of thought and conscience. He seeks facts before he can act. His cautious nature could also be seen as procrastination or that he is an over thinker. In his soliloquy, he realizes that he is over analysing a situation and with his analysing he forgets to act. “And enterprises of great pitch and moment/With this regard their currents turn awry,/And lose the name of action.”(3.1.86-88). He notes that when a moment arrives to take action and a person spends too much time with their thoughts the strength of the action loses importance. And although Hamlet does note the importance of action he does not act when a chance comes before him because he takes too much time to think about his actions. Claudius is kneeled over in a vulnerable stance in which he looks like he is praying. This was Hamlet’s chance to kill him but instead he thinks “But in our circumstance and course of thought,/ ‘Tis heavy with him: and am I then reveng’d./ To take him in the purging of his soul, / When he is fit and season’d for his passage?”(3.3.83-86) The combination of Claudius’ position and Hamlet’s extreme reflection has caused him to miss a vital chance. He also fails to act because he contemplates whether or not the ghost is a devil in disguise. Hamlet says “The spirit...
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