Philosophy Unit 5 Hamlet Exam Study Guide
Solve the Case of the Melancholy Dane
What should Hamlet do? Explain the moral theories of each philosopher: Plato, Aristotle and Augustine. For each, determine the right thing for Hamlet to do. Then, assess the prince's actions from the perspective of each recommendation.
Plato’s moral theory consisted of the concept of the soul and the concept of virtue as function. To Plato, the soul has three parts; reason, spirit, and appetite. The reason we do things is to reach a goal or value, our spirit drives us to accomplish our goal, and our desire for things is our appetite. The three virtues that must be fulfilled to reach the fourth, general virtue are temperance, courage, and wisdom, which correlate with the three parts of the soul. In order to achieve inner harmony, every part of the soul must be fulfilling its proper function. In Plato’s theory, Hamlet needs to look at the big picture of achieving inner harmony. In order to reach the goal of achieving inner harmony, Hamlet has to figure out another way of easing his anger other than the vengeance of his uncle. The virtues of temperance, courage, and wisdom need to be incorporated into Hamlet’s actions, and he would be able to reach his inner harmony. By keeping his reason in control of his will and appetites, he can use the dialectic to fulfill the knowledge on how to deal with the situation. Hamlet’s big picture of inner harmony was the death of his uncle. He wasn’t concerned about the consequences he would have to face in result, such as not achieving his goal. He was more concerned about feeding his appetite of revenge, and not re-evaluating his virtuous life. Although he held out on murdering his uncle a couple of times, he was still in rage and trying to please his father’s ghost, whatever the consequences were. He loved his mother, and wanted to save her, but he was more concerned with killing his uncle. Hamlet was not able to achieve inner harmony,...
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