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Hamlet Essay

1191 words - 5 pages

Our response to stimuli constructs our human condition and furthermore who we are as an individual. Whether it is positive or negative forces, our responses to these things influence how we are perceived by people. In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Hamlet seeks out revenge on Claudius, his uncle turned step-father who killed his father and is now trying to act innocent. Although the characters believe in Claudius’ innocence and furthermore that Hamlet is crazy, it is in the final interaction between Hamlet and Claudius that all can see Claudius’ guilt. It is a natural response for some to react in fear with violence, as it is part of our human nature which can be seen through Hamlet’s driving desire ...view middle of the document...

These emotions weigh heavily on his actions in future scenes. Although murdering Claudius can seem unjustifiable, as a human being, he is acting on impulse; and his instincts are telling him that an equal punishment for Claudius’ crime is an eye for an eye. More than just him reacting to this news in a violent matter, it is important to look at how this news changes his human condition. After his talk with his unworldly father, he essentially goes crazy; all of the characters around him see this transition. In act 3 scene 1 Guildenstern makes notice of Hamlets madness. He says, “Nor do we find him forward to be sounded. But with a crafty madness keeps aloof when we would bring him on to some confession of his true state.” His actions of violence and such are reactions to the mixed emotions that are clouding this head and decision making. His human condition is not longer what it was, rather he is a changed person after finding out how his father really died.
Although the most obvious reaction of violence is seen when Hamlet sets out to kill Claudius, there are various other scenes where Hamlet acts out on impulse in a violent and destructive manner. Hamlet goes to confront his mother after he finds out the cowardly Claudius is sending him to England. While talking to his mother, Hamlet hears sounds coming from the tapestry. In his reaction to this fear of the unknown, he stabs his sword through the fabric to kill Claudius; only, it is not Claudius hiding behind the tapestry. The mysterious noises were in fact coming from Polonius, who dies from the stab of the sword. Gertrude feels threatened and shouts out, “What wilt thou do? Thou wilt not murder me? Help, help, ho!”, as she says this Polonius shouts behind the tapestry, “What, ho? Help, help, help!” When Hamlet hears Polonius he acts, “How now, a rat? Dead for a ducat, dead!” This impulsive action leads to his immediate dispatch to England. This action shows the immaturity of Hamlet. Although it is his genuine, natural response, this reaction shows that he is not able to think through his actions and what type of consequences they can bare. This action shows his lack of maturity as a man, and furthermore says a lot about his personal character. Although we can not generalize on Hamlet’s actions to the rest of the world, or on this...

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