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Is Hamlet Internally Conflicted? If So, What Is The Nature Of The Conflict?

734 words - 3 pages

Q: “Is Hamlet internally conflicted? If so, what is the nature of the conflict?”

A:

Rather unfortunately, Hamlet is by far the most internally conflicted character in the play. The personal and family troubles that have afflicted him from very early on in the play have proven to have had an extremely serious affect on Hamlet's reasoning and judgements. As a result, the two most prominent internal conflicts that have arisen are Hamlet's frequent musings of suicide, and his contemplation of whether to kill King Claudius or not.

The first instance of Hamlet's internal struggle with suicide is found in Act 1 Scene 2. Here, Hamlet has just been denied by King Claudius to return to his studies in Wittenburg: “[To Hamlet] For your intent/ In going back to Wittenburg,...we beseech you, bend you to remain/ Here in the cheer and comfort of our eye” (1.2.116-120). As all the other characters exit, Hamlet transitions to his first of many famous soliloquys, in which he opens by expressing his despair saying, “[I wish that my] sullied flesh would melt/ Thaw, and resolve itself into a new dew” (1.2.133-135), and that he further wishes that God had not made “self-slaughter” (1.2.136) a sin. This is the first instance that Shakespeare introduces Hamlet's battle with freeing himself from this “weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable” (1.2.137) world, and the religious consequences that would follow such an action. The second instance that Hamlet faces this suicidal struggle is in Act 3 Scene 1, during his famous “To Be Or Not To Be” soliloquy. As its title suggests, Hamlet is weighing wether to live, “To be”, or to die, “not to be”. Hamlet is wondering why to suffer through “The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” (3.3.66), when he could so quickly put an end to all his sufferings with a “bare bodkin”. Once again, Hamlet chooses not too based upon religion, and the uncertainty that surrounds the afterlife: “For in that sleep of death [it is unclear] what dreams may come” (3.1.74). Therefore what Hamlet is left with is this clash between action and...

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