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To Be Or Not To Be... King

1285 words - 5 pages

The characteristics of a great king have been debated by countless scholars and civilians throughout history. It is presumed that a king should be prepared for abrupt threats to his country, requiring him to be a decisive leader. Civilians want a king that portrays an accurate representation of themselves and their country. Without his citizens he is nothing, therefore he must acknowledge his inhabitants and do what is best for them. As a role model citizen, the king must be honest and reveal all of himself to his country. In William Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet, the protagonist and anti-hero is played by a prince named Hamlet, who is on the verge of becoming the king after his father’s untimely death. However, disrupting the throne is Hamlet’s uncle, Claudius, who poisoned Hamlet’s father. In order to seek revenge, Hamlet plots the murder of his uncle, but is interfered with his own character flaws that result in the deaths of his mother, Gertrude, his lover, Ophelia, her father, Polonius, his uncle, Claudius, and ultimately himself. However, if Hamlet were to survive and become king, he would not have been able to adhere to the characteristics of an exceptional king due to his egocentric, insincere, and indecisive characteristics.
In the course of the play, Hamlet’s selfish characteristics manifest between his interactions with Ophelia, Gertrude, and Polonius. In the third Act, Ophelia returns Hamlet’s gifts that he had given her, implying that she does not belong with him (III, i, 104). As a result, Hamlet immediately suspects that he is being spied on by Claudius and Polonius. He then further concludes that Ophelia is an accomplice to his uncle’s plans in order to bring out a reaction from him. This suspicion of Ophelia is an extremely selfish act of Hamlet because he never considered the possibility that she was not an accomplice or that her family was influencing her decisions. After concluding his sudden theory of Ophelia, Hamlet becomes terribly aggravated and tells her to “get thee to a nunnery” (III, i, 136). These words were not only offensive and damaging towards Ophelia, they also caused Hamlet to feel a momentary sense of control. This is vain because he expressed them in order to gain power over his own problems, without being concerned over how detrimental they would be to Ophelia. Subsequently in the Act, Hamlet accidentally slays Polonius and tells his mother, “A bloody deed. Almost as bad, good mother, as kill a king and marry with his brother” (III, iv, 30). Instead of feeling pity for the atrocious act he committed, he alludes to the recurring issue of his mother marrying Claudius. This is evidence that Hamlet only cares about his own problems and does not worry about how they will affect others. Hamlet’s egocentric qualities would make him a devastating king, resulting in the disregard for his people.
Hamlet does many dishonest things, which opposes an honorable king. Hamlet’s dishonesty emerges as he builds a facade of...

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