Hamlet's Idealism

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Hamlet's Idealism

Hamlet is many things: scholar, speaker, actor, and prince. His greatness shows in all of activities, save one: his inability to act. Hamlet is not able to avenge his father's death without considerable delay. There is a flaw in Hamlet's character that causes him to postpone the murder of Claudius - this flaw is Hamlet's idealism. While idealism is normally a good trait, in this case, because of the unusual circumstances, Hamlet's idealism causes great conflicts within him.

He was gifted with a great mind which he uses extensively. Hamlet believes that things should be inherently good, and that people's motives should be fair. Consequently, he has a great deal of difficulty in coming to terms with all of the evil that is around him in a corrupt world. As Hamlet said himself, "'Tis an unweeded garden that grows to seed; Things rank and gross in nature possess it merely" (Act I, sc ii).

One wonders how Hamlet can interact as well with his environment as he does; he has aluded many times that life is full of evil and deceit. He says to Rosencrantz that the world is a prison, in fact, "a sizable one, in which there are many jails, cells, and dungeons." (Act II sc ii).

One also might expect him to be a very bitter person, but he is not. He is sometimes able to suppress his anger towards life in "prison", sometimes not. This anger, however, coupled with his need for revenge, places a great amount of stress on Hamlet. Eventually, this stress became so great that it forced him to act.

But why did he wait until "point break" to do something? Perhaps Hamlet is not sure, even in his vast experience and knowledge, weather justice should be left in his hands; despite the...

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What Hamlet thinks is right, however, is based on his values. Among the two values which come into conflict in the play are his loyalty to his father, and his belief that murder of any kind is wrong. So he must not only make the very difficult decision to choose between two closly held values, but he must also act on his decision - something which proves to be far more difficult.

Works Cited and Consulted:

Boklund, Gunnar. "Judgment in Hamlet." Essays on Shakespeare. Ed. Gerald Chapman. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1965.

Levin, Harry. General Introduction. The Riverside Shakespeare. Ed. G. Blakemore Evans. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1974.

Shakespeare, William. The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 1995. No line nos.
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