Indecision--Hamlet's Tragedy

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Hamlet struggled with the world. He struggled to such an extent that at one point he pondered suicide as a viable means to escape what he thought was the chaos and treachery of human nature. For Hamlet the chaos and treachery he experienced was the product of his tragic flaw, which was thinking too deeply. Being young and not yet wise enough to harness his own intelligence, he paralyzed himself of action as he was in a perpetual contemplative state. Shakespeare conveys Hamlet’s unfortunate situation where he faces bleakness and injustices while implying that Hamlet can take action to set things right, however Hamlet’s excessively deep thought on his life situation without the ability to handle such depth of thought leads him to inaction; therefore Shakespeare is trying to say that the results of inaction are dangerous.

First of all Shakespeare implies that life can be very bleak because of the situation that Hamlet is in. Hamlet’s father died and his mother remarried his uncle who took the throne, all within a month. For Gertrude to not show grief, as evidenced by her readiness to remarry, after the death of whom Hamlet describes as “so excellent a king, that was…so loving to his mother,” shows a severe weakness in Gertrude’s character. Hamlet could not understand how his mother could be so morally flawed and move on so quickly and remarry like nothing ever happened after his father’s death. Therefore with good reason Hamlet can ponder on how “weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable…seem all the uses of this world.”

Moreover, when Hamlet encounters the Ghost of his father, Hamlet is even more aware of the utter injustices that can present themselves in humanity. The Ghost tells Hamlet that people of Denmark have believed in a lie that a snake had killed him in his sleep. However the Ghost explains how he was actually murdered in horrible fashion when Claudius poured a vile of poison in his ear that killed him in excruciating pain within minutes. Upon hearing that, Hamlet resolves to fight the injustices within Denmark by avenging his father at all costs. For also in Shakespeare’s time, usurping the throne was a capital offense, as the ruler was believed to be anointed by God. Therefore to wrongfully seize the throne, especially by means of murder, is a crime against God. Thus Shakespeare is implying that revenge is the right course of action to take.

Furthermore, Shakespeare intended for the Ghost to provide honest evidence to convince Hamlet to take revenge. Indeed, the rare appearance of a ghost is indicative of something being “horribly wrong in the state of Denmark.” However there is even greater evidence of the Ghost’s honesty. First of all, Shakespeare writes on two occasions of scenes where Claudius is obviously aware of his crime. In Act 3 Hamlet runs a play where he re-enacts King Hamlet’s murder; Claudius then rises to demand the play be stopped, which indicates that he’s experiencing his guilty conscience. Then the most explicit evidence comes after the play when Claudius confesses to crimes; he explicitly states that his “offense is rank, it smells to Heaven” as it is “a brother’s murder.” It is also worth noting that, although Hamlet does not hear when Claudius explicitly confesses for his murder against King Hamlet, he was aware of Claudius being guilty based upon the very fact that he was confessing, and also by the fact that he took offense for the scene representing King Hamlet’s murder in Hamlet’s play. Thus it seems that Shakespeare was conveying that revenge was the right action for Hamlet to undertake.

However, Hamlet continually delays getting revenge. It is because Hamlet cannot handle such excessive depth of thought, which has rendered him unable to take action. For instead of taking action to bring Claudius to justice, Hamlet ponders whether “to be or not to be.” It is wrong, in the situation that Hamlet is in, for him to think to such depth. To struggle over “whether ‘tis nobler in...
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