Hamlet and the Inner Hamlet

874 Words4 Pages
The character of Hamlet, although an archaic prince, demonstrates so many base human experiences and emotions. The motifs of experiencing loss, dealing with grief, coming of age and trying to claim a place in the world, are not constricted to any time period, culture or societal class. Madness is an occurrence of the masses. Any person could become afflicted by the “single minded and tragically doomed search for” identity after a certain course of events (Erikson 239). The play deals largely with the multiple faces of Hamlet. The complexity of the roles he holds centers largely into the plot. He is an avenger, prince, son, friend, suitor and more. In order to maintain the multiplicity of his identity, which he possesses as “the combined play-actor, the intellectual, the youth and the neurotic,” Hamlet must showcase different versions of himself leaving the reader to search for the inner Hamlet. The inner Hamlet is a combination of a coming of age man, an intellectual romantic and a disturbed son bent on revenge (240). Each of these personalities emerge throughout the play offering the reader a glimpse of the “inner reality” of Hamlet who ultimately descends into revenge (240). A central element of Hamlet is the idea of generations. All of the main characters fall into one of two age groups. There are the parents, in their late middle ages, and the youths, who are just reaching their adulthood. Hamlet’s timeless struggle for identity and fight for power against the old power composes part of his inner being. The older generation dismisses the younger as frivolous and silly, “for youth … becomes the light and careless livery that it wears”(4.7.77). This view is shared by Claudius and Polonius, who sees the world though maxims and ... ... middle of paper ... ... is exposed. We see his struggle as a young man to maintain his identity when fidelity, honor and integrity are crumbling around him. His intellect, and wit are enough to hold him only so long before Hamlet collapse into obsessive revenge. The outer Hamlet is loud and wrought with insanity but within there is a young man who uses his intellect to cling to his values and place in the world so compulsively that it ultimately leads to his collapse as a person. Hamlet has “that which passes show” (1.2.85). His deep and tumultuous personality masked in faux insanity emerges in passes. Cunning dialogue, letters, his reactions to others, and soliloquies help shape the inner Hamlet in the readers eyes. Works Cited Erikson, Erik H. Identity, Youth, and Crisis. New York: W. W. Norton, 1968. Print. Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. New York: Signet Classic, 1998. Print.
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