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Hamlet's Capacity For Self Sacrifice In The Face Of Compelling Circumstances.

1689 words - 7 pages

One single moment or event during the course of an individual’s life can effectively alter their priorities and transform their identity drastically. In The play Hamlet, by William Shakespeare, Shakespeare introduces the readers to the protagonist Hamlet who is draped in anger and emotions and has a new-found mission in life. Initially, Hamlet is portrayed as an individual in mourning over his father's death and his mother's haste in remarrying to her brother-in-law and Hamlet's uncle, Claudius. However, Hamlet’s character and personality were drastically altered after meeting the Ghost and discovering the true nature of his Father’s death. Hamlet is now a man with a lust for revenge and a willingness to do anything that will enable him to accomplish this goal. When burdened with the task of killing Claudius, Hamlet chooses to sacrifice all he holds dear by transforming his identity in a noble effort to avenge his father’s death.
Hamlet tarnishes his image and sacrifices his dignity as a result of his ploy to fool those around him and avenge his father’s murder. Initially, the character of Hamlet is portrayed as “a soldier” and “a scholar” with “a noble mind”. This description by Ophelia is one that the citizens of Elsinore including friends and family of Hamlet would have open-heartedly agreed to. After all, as Claudius said to Hamlet: “You are the most immediate to our throne...” Hamlet must act in a presentable state at all times so can be in favor with the people in the event that he were to become king. However, after the revelation by the Ghost that “The serpent that did sting thy father's life now wears his crown,” Hamlet is shocked but at the same time confused. He is forced into a conflict between acting and not acting on the Ghost’s demand that he avenge his father’s “foul and most unnatural murder” by killing Claudius. This is because Hamlet is a man of faith who believes he has to prove Claudius’ guilt before acting on the Ghost’s words. In his quest to find ample evidence of Claudius’ guilt, Hamlet believes he must put on an “antic disposition” so he can be seen as a non-threat by Claudius, behave without question, and not be accountable for his actions. His interaction with other characters after this slowly transforms his respectable image to one of a mad man who cannot seem to overcome the death of his father. This is evident when Polonius says in a speech to himself that Hamlet "is far gone, far gone" He is assuming that Hamlet is truly mad. Claudius, also falling for Hamlet’s act, claims that "madness in great ones must not unwatch'd go". He is asserting the fact that this show of insanity by Hamlet is bad for Hamlet’s reputation and image. However, Hamlet already knows this as he realizes that this act of insanity might help him with his newfound mission but that it will also force him to sacrifice any respect he had previously earned from the people as well as his positive image.
During his quest for vengeance, Hamlet...

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