In the first act Hamlet appears to be very straightforward in his actions and inner state. When questioned by Gertrude about his melancholy appearance Hamlet says, ÊSeems, madam? Nay it is. I know not ÈseemsiË (1.2.76). This is to say ÊI am what I appear to be.Ë Later he makes a clear statement about his state when he commits himself to revenge. In this statement the play makes an easy to follow shift. This shift consists of Hamlet giving up the role of a student and mourning son. Hamlet says,
Iill wipe away all trivial fond records,
All saws of books, all forms, all pressures past,
That youth and observation copied there,
And thy commandment all alone shall live
Within the book and volume of my brain
Hamlet is declaring that he will be committed to nothing else but the revenge of his fathers death. There is no confusion about Hamletis character. He has said earlier that he is what he appears to be, and there is no reason to doubt it. In the next act, however, Hamletis status and intentions suddenly and with out demonstrated reason becomes mired in confusion.
When Hamlet appears again in... [continues]
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