The Concept of Staying True in Hamlet by William Shakespeare

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Staying True
"This above all: to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man" (Shakespeare 1794). This piece of guidance from Polonius to Laertes will be hard for many of the key players in Hamlet to follow, and will lead to their detriment. Shakespeare uses this advice as a continuous motif that foreshadows what will spread among major players in Hamlet such as: Ophelia, Polonius, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, Laertes and Hamlet. Many of these characters cause their own self-destruction by following others’ wishes and not being true to their own desires.
Ophelia is a character in Hamlet that is chronically faithful to everyone else but herself. Ophelia is deeply in love with Hamlet, and she is certain that he loves her as well. This is clear from the assertions she makes in Hamlet’s defense: “My lord, he hath importuned me with love in honest fashion. And hath given countenance to his speech, my lord, with almost all the holy vows of heaven” (1795). Ophelia’s downfall emerges when she doubts her own feelings and beliefs about Hamlet, upon instruction and advice from her brother and father. Ophelia, a confident and intelligent woman, begins to rely on others to tell her what to think and how to act. “I do not know, my lord, what I should think” (1795). Upon Polonius request, and going against her own hearts desires, she starts to avoid Hamlet. “No, my good lord, but, as you did command, I did repel his letters and denied his access to me” (1806). By doing what her father advises and wishes Ophelia is no longer capable of making decisions for herself. The loss of Hamlet’s love and the death of her father leave her with confusion and doubts about her future. “Well, Go...

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...decisiveness and internal struggle. Hamlet loses his love, life, and his family, by trying to accomplish the desire of another individual’s need for revenge.
Shakespeare’s Hamlet is a terrific model of what takes place when people prefer to fulfill others requests and plans for their spirits. The major players in Hamlet choose to follow what others request of them, and this leads to their detriment. Since they do not stay true to themselves, they are responsible for their own brutal deaths. From Ophelia to Hamlet, every character became a slave to someone else’s desires and wishes. This ensures they lose all control over their future and places them on the direct path to self-destruction.

Works Cited

Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. The Norton Anthology: World Literature. Vol. I. Ed. John
Bierhorst, et al. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 2009. 1782-1872. Print.

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