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    Inner and Outer Conflict Presented in “Hamlet”

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    Shakespeare’s tragedy, Hamlet is full of conflict and dilemma. However, Shakespeare’s writing allows for an interpretation of both inner and outer conflict. Through this, readers are given an opportunity to view a character not only from the outside but also within. Hamlet’s character suffers from a great deal of trauma and mental illness: his number one dilemma being those inner demons*. ( *fighting inner demons ) Nonetheless Hamlet experiences conflict when the majority of his friends and relatives turn their backs on him. Through incorporating both inner and outer conflict, Shakespeare is allowing readers the possibility to connect much deeper with a character. In Shakespeare’s tragedy, readers are able to experience a new perspective on Hamlet’s character and gain new insights in his inner dilemmas that he struggles with. Hamlet first and foremost suffers from mental illness. He shows signs of depression, anxiety, and suffers from a great deal of stress. Hamlet contemplates his own death in various scenes throughout the tragedy, most famous example being, “To be or not to be – that is the question” (Act 3, Scene 1 line 64).

    There is a surplus of events going on in his life that undoubtedly bring him to this mental status. Hamlet loses his father at a young age and as he grieves, his mother quickly jumps into a new relationship with King Claudius. His relationship with Ophelia also suffers greatly throughout the tragedy. Hamlet’s thoughts of suicide are only present in soliloquies, revealing that he most likely felt alone and abandoned throughout this difficult time. When contemplating suicide and undergoing such harsh self mutilation, Hamlet often brings God into the picture. Under Christian faith, suicide is deemed a sin, making Hamlet uncertain about what to do both spiritually and morally. This questions ties into the theme of uncertainty in Hamlets life throughout the tragedy. Hamlet is constantly second-guessing himself and backing down from plans – drawing back to his own contemplation of suicide oh so frequently. Hamlet is unsure of what he wants whether it be should he continue living, should he kill Claudius, what should he do about Ophelia. A prime example of this is the ghostly figure who reappears throughout Hamlet. Hamlet struggles with the question of who or what is this ghost? Is it a sign of Denmark and its future? Is is truly his father speaking to him? Hamlets postponing of plans such as murdering King Claudius reveals the notion of uncertainty in his life. Hamlets recurring questions and thoughts throughout his decision making process is drawn out to the end of the play because it essentially ends in uncertainty. Shakespeare shows readers those inner demons Hamlet is facing, allowing for a deeper understanding of the conflicts that his character faces.

    Externally, Hamlet endures a variety of dilemmas primarily influenced by other characters. Claudius’s character drives Hamlet to complete bewilderment: The question being how can he take revenge and fundamentally ( or [in respects] ), kill him. Hamlet is driven to sheer madness towards this man when he proclaims, ““Here, thou incestuous, murd’rous, damned Dane, drink of this potion. Is thy union here? Follow my mother” (Act 5, Scene 2 line 330). Hamlet coerces Claudius to drink the poison that killed Queen Gertrude and ends his life. Queen Gertrude, too, played a large role in Hamlets life. Hamlet is by all means upset with his mother for moving on to Claudius so soon after the passing of her late husband. Hamlet is repulsed by his mothers actions and ultimately confronts her, with no real outcome* ( *that sounds stupid ). Hamlets relationship with Ophelia is a considerably large dilemma that is followed throughout the tragedy until it ends in heartbreak and the suicide of Ophelia. Ophelia is a character that Hamlet truly and passionately loved but in the end had his heart crushed. (TRANSITION) When Hamlet mistakenly murders Polonius thinking it was Claudius, it brings about major conflict. Hamlet, now deemed a murderer has old friends and relatives teaming to plan his own death. It is when Hamlet becomes aware that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, once close friends, too aid in his death sentence.

    Claudius, Gertrude, Ophelia and Polonius all play major roles in Hamlet’s life, bringing him to the conclusion that most people he encounters ultimately turn their backs on him.Novels are often written giving a perspective of either inner or outer conflict – not both. It is not so frequent that readers are allowed to follow both sides to a story, but in Hamlet Shakespeare makes this possible. With this ability, readers are able to connect and comprehend a deep understanding and sympathy for this character, Hamlet, who undergoes major conflict. Readers not only see this outside point of view but insead undergo these inner demons and feelings of uncertainty and desperation which people can relate to in the real world. Shakespeare connects real life emotions with this 16th century tragedy and gives readers a reason to engage so deeply in his work of art. His usage of complex and human characters, providing an artificial character that readers can relate to make this tragedy a page turner. Hamlets character is so human – which allows readers to understand how difficult a life he has, seen through outer conflicts. At a young age he undergoes the death of his father, family infighting, relationship issues, and people turning their backs on him which gives insight into those suicidal thoughts and self mutilation, something readers are able to discover in Shakespeare providing them with his inner conflicts and inevitably creating this world for readers to connect and feel compassion and sympathy for this character.

    This essay was written by a fellow student. You may use it as a guide or sample for writing your own paper, but remember to cite it correctly. Don’t submit it as your own as it will be considered plagiarism.

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    Inner and Outer Conflict Presented in “Hamlet”. (2022, May 10). Retrieved from

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