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Moral Choices in Hamlet 2

By blazinkilla May 19, 2010 546 Words
Moral Choices in Hamlet

Hamlet:
Hamlet’s choice to avenge his father is the cause of all the moral choices in Hamlet. In the beginning of the play Hamlet is morally making “the right” choices. Hamlet summarizes the moral choices of the play when he says: "thus bad begins, and worse remains behind" (3.4.179). This demonstrates that the actions against him were wrong, but, to a lesser extent, so was his revenge. Hamlet’s struggle to make morally correct choices becomes the cause of his indecisiveness which is why he is unable to kill Claudius right away. Examples of Hamlets moral choices include his choice to replace Claudius’s letter to the King of England with his own. This is morally wrong but it balances with the moral choice of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to spy on their friend. Other moral choices Hamlet faces to make include, whether to live or to die. “To be, or not to be, that is the question” (3.1.56). Hamlet questions whether it is better to live and face your problems or if it is better to die and end your misery at once. He makes the morally correct choice by facing his problems and avenging his father’s death.

Claudius:

Claudius kills King Hamlet and that one murder is the cause of all of the other murders as well. The crime of murder is worse in this case because of the circumstances. Claudius not only murders his brother for personal gain, but also for his crown, and queen. This choice is morally wrong, because it displays flaws in Claudius.

Hamlet vs. Claudius:

Hamlet and Claudius are moral opposites in Hamlet. In the beginning of the play, when the ghost tells Hamlet about King Hamlet’s death Hamlet commits to avenging his father’s murder, "Haste me to know't, that I, with wings as swift As meditation or the thoughts of love May sweep to my revenge" (1.5.29). Although, murder itself is wrong, the gravity of Claudius’ sins outweighs Hamlets revenge and other actions which are morally wrong. This is because Hamlet chooses murder to restore balance whereas Claudius chooses murder for personal gain. However, before Hamlet enacts his revenge he needs moral justification that Claudius did kill his father. When Claudius leaves the play that Hamlet sets up as a trap, Hamlet is morally justified in any revenge he enacts. As the play progresses, each of Claudius’ morally wrong choices is balanced with a morally correct choice by Hamlet. A prime example of Claudius being morally wrong is when he sends Hamlet to England and asks, “The present death of Hamlet. Do it, England; For like the hectic in my blood he rages” (4.4.65), because he is asking the king of England to kill Hamlet. However, Hamlet’s moral choice to spare Claudius and not kill him at prayer balances the moral wrongdoing of Claudius.

Other:

Laertes is persuaded by Claudius to make morally wrong choices like killing Hamlet. However, Laertes balances his wrong choice with a morally correct choice of telling Hamlet that Claudius was to blame for everyone’s death. “I can no more: the king, the king’s to blame” (5.2.310), corrects Laertes original moral choice.

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