The Evil In Hamlet

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The Evil In Hamlet

Throughout the play Hamlet, evil thoughts and actions can be seen. The characters Hamlet, King Claudius, and Queen Gertrude consistently are influenced by the forces of evil. Evil becomes the controlling factor of the play and causes the characters thoughts and actions to be blurred.

Hamlet’s thoughts are constantly darkened by suicide and death. Hamlet can be seen as suicidal in one of his first soliloquies. “O, that this too too solid flesh would melt / Thaw and resolve itself into a dew, / Or that the Everlasting had not fixed / His canon 'gainst self-slaughter. O God. God” (Ham. 1. 2. 129-132). This shows Hamlet wishes his "flesh would melt" because his mother's actions have made the world completely corrupted. Hamlet also states that suicide or, "self-slaughter" is evil and a sin. Another example of Hamlets thoughts being consumed by evil and death can be seen in what may be his most famous soliloquy. Hamlets thoughts are so blackened by evil and death he wonders why everyone doesn’t commit suicide. “To be, or not to be: that is the question: / Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer / The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, / Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, / And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep” (Ham. 3. 1. 56-60). This shows Hamlet clearly pondering why he should live in a world of troubles when he could just kill himself. Hamlets’ pondering of death comes to a pinnacle in the notorious graveyard scene when Hamlet holds up the skull of Yorick, a court jester Hamlet knew when he was little. “That skull had a tongue in it, and could sing once. How the knave jowls it to the ground, as if it were Cain's jaw-bone, that did the first murder! It might be the pate of a poli...

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...evil of Claudius and herself. “Gertrude, do not drink. / I will, my lord; I pray you pardon me” (Ham. 5. 2. 257-258). Gertrude consumes the cup even though Claudius directly tells her not to. It is left ambiguous as to weather or not Gertrude knew the cup was poisoned or not. Gertrude may have been so possessed by the guilt of her evil she drank the poisoned cup knowingly in an attempt to try and save Hamlet.

It is clear that evil is a driving force throughout the play. The thoughts and actions of the characters of Hamlet, King Claudius and Queen Gertrude are poisoned and corrupted by evil. The characters evil ultimately lead to all of their deaths.

Works Cited

Shakespeare, William. “The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark” Literature: An Introduction to Reading and Writing. Ed. Edgar V. Roberts. 9th Ed. New York: Pearson Longman, 2009. Print
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