An Analytical Essay on the Duality of Man in Hamlet

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An Analytical Essay on the Duality of Man in Hamlet

Day after day on television, in the movies, and even in some modern literature we see characters falling within those same old categories of "good guy" or "bad guy". Life would be much easier to figure out if human beings were so definitely good or bad, but we're not. Four hundred years ago William Shakespeare wrote a play that presented characters how human beings truly are, neither all good nor all bad. Hamlet is a play twisting and turning so much in human emotion that at times it almost seems to come alive and give us an accurate depiction of inner-torment, death, and humanness. In such scenes as the one where we see Claudius praying for forgiveness for the murder he has committed, guilt is seen in who would be the easy-to-hate "villain" in other stories. He is depicted as a human being with the capacity to be sorry for what he has done. The good and bad qualities of characters in Hamlet makes it harder for the audience to know who is right or who they want to see succeed. This duality is seen in many other Hamlet characters and it is most interesting to examine this mix of good and bad in Hamlet, because he is the play's supposed "good guy". Since Claudius wronged Hamlet and his father the audience wants to sympathize with Hamlet and see him triumph over Claudius. When his decency and moral appeal are seen as questionable Hamlet becomes a story immersed in the positive and negative qualities of character and the ambiguity of life.

In the beginning of the play the audience sees Hamlet struggling with his father's death and his sincere mourning appeals to us; it is something that makes us feel for him. After his encounter with the ghost we are given a Hamlet with a horrible mission, to murder. Anyone can imagine how being faced with the truth of his father's death would anger Hamlet, but to murder in cold blood is something that wouldn't come easily to a young man. The audience longs to see Hamlet find a way to make better what has happened, because he is innocent, young, and a man who lost someone he loved. To deal with the murder of his own father and then being asked to murder are things that make us pity him and his confusing situation.
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