Summary: Series of Internal Conflicts in the Tragedy Play Hamlet

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In the tragedy play Hamlet, William Shakespeare creates a series of internal conflicts that causes the characters to question their morality. After the passing of his father, Hamlet suffers with the deterioration of his well being. Unable to fathom his widow mother’s marriage, Hamlet delivers soliloquies that dive into his deepest insecurities. His troubling existence and drive for revenge follows Hamlet throughout the play. Facing the corruption in Denmark, Hamlet explores his inability to make decisions as his internal conflicts hinder his judgement.

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In preparation for Hamlet’s play, Polonius and Claudius conceal themselves in order to spy on Hamlet. As Ophelia holds a prayer book, Hamlet delivers a morbid soliloquy. In a vulnerable state, Hamlet questions whether or not life is worth living. He yearns for oblivion that comes as a result of taking his own life. He is trying to find his purpose besides suffering from society’s abuse when suicide is a viable option. Hamlet compares sleeping to being dead; He senses the similarities since the state of unconsciousness in one’s dreams is a relief from physical and emotional pain. He states, “To die, to sleep--No more--and by a sleep to say we end the heartache and the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to--’tis a consummation to be wished!” However, Hamlet thinks it’s a sign of weakness when he keeps himself from committing suicide due to his fear of the afterlife. With his reputation and religion in mind, Hamlet ponders if it is worthwhile to fight through a draining life or to decease. As he interprets his philosophy, Hamlet evokes a pessimistic tone. He feels that life makes a person “...grunt and sweat…”  to make them worthy of honor. It is evident that Hamlet is dealing with a dilemma relating to his own humanity. He carries such a strong motivation to plot vengeance for late Hamlet. However, the external conflicts that he has been suppressing ultimately conquered him which induces suicidal thoughts. Not knowing what he wants is a recurrent issue for Hamlet. With despair, he is lacking the courage to complete the ghost’s wishes when he truly realizes how gruesome it is to control someone else’s fate, leading to questions about his own fate. Hamlet’s thoughts directs him to believe that he is capable of making effective plans but he is perhaps too cowardly to actually complete them. He states, “....and thus the native hue of resolution is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought…” . In a previous act, Hamlet prevented himself from taking action towards Claudius which feeds into his insecurities. Society already shares the belief that Hamlet is not brave enough to ever commit such a sin. As a result, Hamlet’s own being takes on the role of a villain villain which causes him to decide what his principles really are, often leaving him in an idle position.

As his mental health declines, Hamlet struggles with inaction as he comes face to face with his own existence. Throughout the acts, Hamlet finds himself stuck with decision making since he experiences feelings of unhappiness and misery. The abrupt changes in his life from late Hamlet’s death to his new father-in-law causes Hamlet to question his worth as a human. It also induces thoughts of suicide because he desperately wanted solace from his circumstances. Hamlet’s character flaw of not knowing what to do created a string of discouragement and the belief that he is not as fearless as he makes himself out to be. 

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