This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Hamlet's Existential Crisis Essay

1772 words - 7 pages

When looking at Hamlet, one could say that William Shakespeare put the play together as a very cathartic tragedy. The emotional result of dealing with so many deaths brings on a plethora of emotions which are not usually felt in a typical play. Hamlet begins not with the normal prosperity and good fortune as do most tragedies, but with a more stifling and depressing sort of mood (Tekany 115). However, something else could be said about this play as well. The play centers on Hamlet and his existential characteristics, such as angst, isolation and his confrontations with nothingness. The exhibition of these characteristics proves Hamlet to be an existential character.
The idea of Hamlet's father's (King Hamlet of Denmark) passing is what begins the cycle of existential thoughts and feelings within him. From the conflict raging inside Hamlet, stemming from the loss of his father, blooms the beginnings of a bigger, overall existential conflict that soon leads to his cathartic downfall. He visits places filled with nothingness and abhorrence with a sense of frailty and pulsating frustration.
Hamlet’s existential crisis begins with the death of his father and the remarrying of his mother. At this point, for Hamlet, the questions start pouring in; “to be or not to be” (Hamlet 3.1.57), and so on. From questioning his existence and fighting with himself about the purpose of his life begins to show the beginnings of the existential crisis that is soon to consume him. Also, this questioning of himself and his existence in the universe are the basis for which he is about to define his own human state of being in his world of chaos and pain. This type of thinking puts forth a variety of different paths in front of him; kill himself and be done with everything? Or do his late father’s dirty work and kill Claudius for the sake of revenge and risk going to Hell over the whole situation? Or just wander around and slowly begin to lose his sanity? There were also questions asked concerning things such as "death, the meaning of human existence, the place of God in human existence, the meaning of value, interpersonal relationship, the place of self-reflective conscious knowledge of one's self in existing" (Webster). Existential problems and questions such as these plagued Hamlet throughout the play, unaware that each and every one were soon to consume him.
As these thoughts ravaged about inside his mind, Hamlet showed all of the signs of severe angst and anxiety, essential parts of an existential character. A perfect example of these feelings comes about when Ophelia returns his effects of love after deciding for herself that he has gone mad. The situation begins when Ophelia returns the “remembrances that she has longed to redeliver” (Hamlet 3.1.94-95). Yet Hamlet refuses to accept them back, saying “I never gave you aught” (Hamlet 3.1.97). Here, hamlet begins to ignore his past thinks naught of Ophelia but of his plot for revenge.
Throughout the play,...

Find Another Essay On Hamlet's Existential Crisis

Enlightenment Thought in New Zealand Schools

1594 words - 6 pages In this essay I will be looking at how the political and intellectual ideas of the enlightenment have shaped New Zealand Education. I will also be discussing the perennial tension of local control versus central control of education, and how this has been affected by the political and intellectual ideas of the enlightenment. The enlightenment was an intellectual movement, which beginnings of were marked by the Glorious Revolution in Britain

Psychological Egoism Theory Essay

2240 words - 9 pages The theory of psychological egoism is indeed plausible. The meaning of plausible in the context of this paper refers to the validity or the conceivability of the theory in question, to explain the nature and motivation of human behavior (Hinman, 2007). Human actions are motivated by the satisfaction obtained after completing a task that they are involved in. For example, Mother Teresa was satisfied by her benevolent actions and

How Celtic Folkore has Influenced My Family

1587 words - 6 pages Every family has a unique background that influences the way they live and interact with other people. My parents, who emigrated from Ireland to the States with my three brothers in 1989, brought over their own Celtic folklore and traditions that have helped shaped the way our family operates and lives. One aspect of folklore that has helped shape my family dynamic is the Celtic cross—both its background and what role it has played in our lives

Julia Margaret Cameron

1406 words - 6 pages At a time when women were looked upon as being homemakers, wives, mothers and such the late 1850's presented a change in pace for one woman in specific. Photography was discovered in 1826 and soon after the phenomenon of photography was being experimented with and in turn brought new and different ways of photo taking not only as documenting real time, but also conceptualizing a scene in which an image would be taken. Julia Margaret Cameron will

Evaluation of School Improvement

1403 words - 6 pages The evaluation process should be progressive to incorporate overall planning, implement changes, which contribute to success. In order to focus on school climate and norms, the evaluation design must include the students, instructions, and outcomes to improve communication and building-level concerns to be address in this response. School Climate and Social Norms The school principal, other staff leaders, and personnel set the tone and the

Case Study: The Benefits of Animal Testing

1757 words - 7 pages Nine year old Amy has already had a rough start in life. She was born with an abnormal heart that hinders her everyday activities. Amy is unable to keep up with kids her own age because she often tires out easily. As a consequence, she has very little friends and is often alone. Amy is forced to take different medications everyday just to survive. Amy’s life consists of medicine, doctors, and constant hospital visits. However, Amy is due for a

Myth and Magic: Realism in "One Hundred Years of Solitude"

1531 words - 6 pages “He enjoyed his grandmother's unique way of telling stories. No matter how fantastic or improbable her statements, she always delivered them as if they were the irrefutable truth” (Wikipedia, 2011). Experiences are particular instances of one personally encountering or undergoing something and in these moments of time life changes for the best or the worst and memories are formed. These recollections such as riding your first bicycle, going to

Adiponectin: a Novel Indicator of Malnutrition and Inflammation in Hemodialysis Patients

2384 words - 10 pages Objective Protein-Energy malnutrition (PEM) and inflammation are common and overlapping conditions in hemodialysis patients which are associated with increased risk of morbidity and mortality. Adiponectin is an adipocytokine which is exclusively produced by adipose tissue. Few studies in hemodialysis patients have demonstrated that serum levels of adiponectin were significantly higher in malnourished patients compared to well-nourished ones. The

The Congo Free State: A Legacy of Apathy, Exploitation and Brutality

2298 words - 9 pages Between 1885 and 1908, Belgium’s Leopold II ruled Congo, a region in central Africa, as his personal colony, exploiting the resources and inhabitants for his own gain. Leopold allowed and encouraged Europeans and other Westerners to enter Congo and set up companies whose primary purpose was to gather rubber, which was abundant but difficult to get to in the Congo, using the Congolese as the laborers for the Europeans. Rubber gathering in Congo

Selective Exposition in The Lottery, by Shirley Jackson

1073 words - 4 pages Usually when someone hears the word “lottery” the first thing that comes to mind is a large sum of cash that people compete against highly impractical odds to win. Shirley Jackson’s story The Lottery might imply a similar conception based on the title alone, but the story is filled with unknowns never revealing exactly when and where the story takes place, or why the lottery exists; even what the lottery is isn’t revealed until the very end. Yet


1857 words - 7 pages INTRODUCTION I remember when I was a young child; I would always be scared whenever there was a severe storm outside that included thunder and lightning. This was especially true in the hours of darkness, when you could really see the lightning. As I grew older this so-called fear of lightning turned into a fascination for this weather phenomena. One of my most vivid memories of lightning as a young man was when I was flying to Florida, the

Similar Essays

Religious Hypocrisy In Renaissance England Essay

3421 words - 14 pages not say much for Christian charity and forgiveness--yet is clearly true, even today. Lieutenant Cassio's lament for his reputation, "I have lost the immortal part of myself, and what remains is bestial!"(3) does not speak volumes for the Renaissance view of immortality; neither does Hamlet's existential crisis regarding the nature--or existence--of an afterlife (1). Juliet's assertion of love for Romeo takes the form of idolatry--("swear by thy

When The Bubble Burst Essay

1539 words - 6 pages saw that greed a huge factor feeding the housing crisis, yet I didn’t know which side was to blame. My sister and brother in-law wanted more house than they could afford, and the bank was willing to lend them more than they should. This crisis sent the government into action to avoid what many were calling the greatest financial crisis of our time. Although many experts suggest an economic depression was imminent without the Troubled Asset

Phase Diagram Essay

4456 words - 18 pages Introduction: Chemical equilibrium is a crucial topic in Chemistry. To represent and model equilibrium, the thermodynamic concept of Free energy is usually used. For a multi-component system the Gibbs free energy is a function of Pressure, Temperature and quantity (mass, moles) of each component. If one of these parameters is changed, a state change to a more energetically favorable state will occur. This state has the lowest free energy

Revolutionary Work Of Art Essay

1890 words - 8 pages Walter Benjamin emphasizes in his essay, “The Work of Art in the Age of its Technological Reproducibility” that technology used to make an artwork has changed the way it was received, and its “aura”. Aura represents the originality and authenticity of a work of art that has not been reproduced. The Sistine Chapel in the Vatican is an example of a work that has been and truly a beacon of art. It has brought a benefit and enlightenment to the art