Shakespeares Hamlet is a complex story of revenge, the lack of love, and
the madness of Hamlet. Hamlet is a victim of his own humanity. The decisions
he must make, make him human, and his indecisiveness makes him a man. His
fathers ghost asks Hamlet to avenge his death, and Hamlets procrastination to do
What we have in Hamlet is the exploration and implicit criticism of a
particular state of mind or consciousness. In Hamlet, Shakespeare uses a series of
encounters to reveal the complex state of the human mind, made up of reason,
emotion, and attitude towards the self, to allow the reader to make a judgment or
form an opinion about fundamental aspects of human life (L.
C. Knight, 192).
Hamlet had many opportunities to kill Claudius but he decided not to and rested
the justification on his morals. Hamlet tries to logically think of a way to rid the
world of the treacherous King, and his logic, and intelligence were his downfall.
Like any tragic hero these were his tragic flaws.
Hamlets primary dilemma is that of every human being.
.. (Cahn 69).
Hamlet is presented by Shakespeare as the ideal man. He is described by Ophelia
in Act 3 Scene 1 lines 163-167 O, what a noble mind is here oerthrown! The
courtiers, soldiers, scholars, eye, tongue, sword, (Th expectancy) and rose of the
fair state, The glass of fashion and the mold of form..
.. Hamlet is what every man
should be and as such an extreme , he is also presented with an extreme situation.
He is a superman among men (G.W. Knight 38).
Hamlet is a very smart individual, and he uses his intelligence to try to
solve the mystery of how to expose his uncle, and prove what the ghost said. In
trying to prove Claudiuss guilt, Hamlet aroused suspicion. His uncle tried to get
rid of Hamlet by sending him to England on a diplomatic visit, which was really
a plea by Claudius for the King of England to execute Hamlet. Hamlet figured this
out, and came back to Denmark, only after sending his escorts to their death, For
in the war of logic it will be found that he (Hamlet) has all the guns (G.W. Knight
Hamlet is the only character that is true to himself, his beliefs, and his
This is why he procrastinates, it not his nature to kill, and he feels that
if he does murder Claudius he will be no better than Claudius. The play
dramatizes the perpetual struggle to which all civilization that is genuine is
doomed (Alexander 184). His principles make him human, and as such he must
suffer what all humanity suffers from, a conscience. This led to his ultimate, yet
Hamlet was a respected and loved man. Fortinbras said For he was
.To have proved most royal. Hamlets humanity brought Hamlet to his
tragic death. Hamlets humanity is also what helped make Hamlet a masterpiece,
T.S. Elliot I believe said it best when he proclaimed Hamlet to be the Mona Lisa
Alexander, Peter Hamlet, Father and Son.
The Clarendon Press, Oxford. 1955.
Cahn, Victor L. Shakespeare The Playwright: A Companion to the Complete
Tragedies, Histories and Romances. Greenwood Press, New York 1991
W. The Embassy of Death in The Wheel of Fire Methuen r Co., Ltd.
Some Shakespeare Themes & An Approach to Hamlet. Stanford
University Press, San Fransisco 1966
Elliot, T.S. The Sacred Wood: Essays on Poetry and Criticism. 1922
Shakespeare, William Hamlet Washington Square Press, New York 1922 .