A common misperception is that the circumstances do not victimize the character studied in this paper, but rather that the character has full control over their actions. This essay will argue against this misinterpretation and look at the extent of which Hamlet is a victim of circumstance. In Hamlet, Shakespeare shows the decline of Hamlet’s wellbeing through his inability to cope with the uncontrollable circumstances that he is faced with. When Hamlet tries to take control of his circumstances, the decisions that he makes and the relationships he has with Gertrude, as well as his beliefs in the court and in religion do not work in his favour. Ultimately, Hamlet cannot control his circumstances and in the process of attempting to do so, his impulsive actions hurt himself, his family, his friends and his love interest.
Hamlet’s actions are impacted by the circumstances he faces and the limited control he has over these actions do not work in his favour because his impulsive nature affects the decisions he can make to be geared more towards a brutal murder rather than giving Claudius his retribution. He does not have control over his father’s death and his mother’s remarriage, thus he shows his disapproval of the marriage through his views that women are frail and weak. These views are strengthened after his conversation with the ghost. Hamlet is told that Claudius is the mastermind of this murder, thus this circumstance propels him to break his relationship with Ophelia because he believes all women are like his mother – unfaithful and will eventually betray him. The loss of Ophelia impacts Hamlet strongly as he willingly destroys the last connection he has with his sanity; he no longer seeks love and his only desire is to avenge his father and kill Claudius. The ghost wishes for Hamlet to “bear it not/let not the royal bed of Denmark be,” but does not specify an order to murder (I.v.81-82). Hamlet’s control over his portrayal of the conversation with the ghost...
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