External and Internal Conflict in Hamlet Essay

External and Internal Conflict in Hamlet Essay

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Individual reactions to situations of external or internal conflict are reflected in much of literature. In the play Hamlet by William Shakespeare, the character of Hamlet must deal with both external and internal conflict. He faces the death of his father, the knowledge that his uncle Claudius is his father's murderer and the knowledge that he must take revenge. Hamlet's responses to these external conflicts and his own internal views proclaim his nature and character.

Hamlet is very distraught and grief stricken for the death of his father, the King of Denmark. As well, he is upset with his mother's quick marriage to his uncle Claudius, who is now King. Hamlet is emotional and melancholy, and he considers suicide because he wonders what use there is in living with what he sees as madness around him. Nothing makes sense to him. His reactions to his mother and his uncle's requests to put on a more positive attitude are critical and, often cruelly witty. He also shows his sensitivity when he talks about wanting to die, and intelligence with his plays on words when speaking with the king and queen. These responses tell of Hamlet's character.

Hamlet meets his father's ghost who tells him that Claudius poisoned him, and demands that Hamlet seek revenge. Hamlet shows his bravery when he encounters this unknown force of the supernatural. The ghost confirms Hamlet's suspicions of Claudius and he begins to simulate madness until he can create a plan of revenge. Polonius, advisor to the king, meanwhile believes Hamlet's condition hinders from his separation from Ophelia, Polonius' daughter, whom Polonius has forbidden to see Hamlet. When Polonius tries to talk to prince Hamlet, Hamlet is evading, critical and playful with this old ma...


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...uel is set up between Laertes and Hamlet, as part of Claudius' plan to kill Hamlet, and Laertes' own duty to revenge his father Polonius' death. The duel is rigged but Hamlet shows his physical skill at fencing. Even so, Hamlet is pricked by the poison-tipped weapon and is told that he will die. He handles this without panic, forgives Laertes showing an admirable quality, and finally carries out revenge upon Claudius. All these external happenings and conflicts reveal Hamlet's character.

Hamlet's responses to the conflicts around and inside himself show him to be a noble and complicated character. He deals with the death of his father, the knowledge that his uncle killed his father, and that he himself must kill Claudius. In many stories, as well as Hamlet, individual response to external and internal conflict is illustrated which shows the true moral characters.

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