Essay On "Hamlet" And Connections To Courage, Risk, And Sacrifice.

1103 words - 4 pages

Courage by definition is "state or quality of mind and or spirit that enables one to face danger, fear, or vicissitudes with self-possession, confidence, and resolution; bravery,"(Word Dictionary). In William Shakespeare's play Hamlet, we compare and contrast the two characters, Claudius and Hamlet, and study how each does and does not portray courage. By comparing Claudius and Hamlet we can see that courageous traits each held according to our world impression and according to Shakespeare. We can also see how Shakespeare has shown us what courage is not.Hamlet shows courage strongly in one aspect of his personality. We can see how he presents himself in a courageous manner based both in contemporary views and in Shakespeare's view of courage. When Hamlet is confronted with a ghost he immediately shows courage by not being frightened by the ghost. He was "as hardy as the Newman lion's nerve," (I, IV, 83) when it came to facing his fathers disturbed ghost. He showed courage and bravery telling those who accompanied him to let him confront the ghost alone. Hamlet showed no fear. We see how Shakespeare shows us his opinion of what courage is again when Hamlet swears to avenge his father's death. Hamlet shows us that "true courage" comes with determination and drive. He feels contempt and resents his uncle for being "A little more than kin, and less that kind" (I, ii, 65). He swears, and dedicates himself to avenging his father's death without being deterred. His "[father's] commandment all alone shall live" (I, v, 103) in his life until justice and vengeance are served. Shakespeare portrays to the reader in the play Hamlet exactly what is not courageous. Hamlet hides behind insanity as a mask for his vengeance. With this mask Hamlet feels he will be able to seek vengeance and yet come out without blame or fault to his name. He used insanity as a tool since he is somewhat unsure on how to go about achieving revenge over Claudius. Hamlet puts on an "antic disposition" (I, v,173) as a way of hiding from reality. Hamlet reveals to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern that he is not truly mad "but mad north-north west... [he] know[s] a hawk from a handsaw" (II, ii, 376-377). Hamlet shows his lack of courage in hiding his actions behind a mask of madness. Shakespeare also shows us that courage has no place for procrastination. Hamlet starts off beginning of scene two with such determination and purpose, after speaking with the ghost. However, this dwindles throughout the play. Hamlet procrastinates in taking the life of Claudius. Even when the opportunity was right at his fingertips, he finds a reason not to kill Claudius. Hamlet sees his chance and is focused on the ultimate goal "and so [King Hamlet is] revenged" (III, iii, 76). When Hamlet thinks again and realizes that he would send "this same villain...to heaven", (III, iii, 78-79) he backs out and gives up the opportune moment. Hamlet feels that vengeance should send Claudius not only to his death, but hell...

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