In William Shakespeare Hamlet and Othello, the author creates two similar yet vastly different protagonists. The major source of contrast lies within each characters approach to decision making and premeditated action. As David Nichol Smith puts it, Hamlet “is not a character marked by strength of will or even passion, but by refinement of thought and sentiment.”(Smith 288) This very refinement of thought is what characterizes both Hamlet’s indecision and forces him to act when he renounces indecision. In contrast
Everything about Othello’s mind, on the contrary, is direct, healthy, objective; with an openness and docility of childhood he loses himself in external things; his thoughts are occupied with objects, not with themselves and he reproduces in smooth transparent diction the truth as revealed to him from without; his mind, in short is like a clear even mirror which, invisible itself renders back in its exact shape and colour whatever stands before it; so that we get from him not so much his impressions of things as the things themselves that impress him. (Hudson 316-317)
This child-like and gullible thought process unveils to us the true nature of Othello, the expert at war but the novice at life, who like a mirror believes and acts on the will and impressions of others rather than contemplate both the true reality of things and the people who speak against them. These distinctions allow the reader to see that “in Hamlet grace and reason are jangles. In Othello the mildness that complements a soldier’s courage is baffled.”(Howarth 14) Here is the essence in the difference between Hamlet and Othello. Hamlet makes his decision through prolonged self reflection that continues to the point where action is never done in an expedient faction, while Othello makes his decision through the ideas given to him by others which leads to rash, emotionally charged action. These differences... [continues]
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