From the beginning of the play, Hamlet is confident in the inability of others to know what is going on in his mind based on his actions. Upon being questioned by his mother about why he still seems bothered by his father’s death, he tells her that he does not simply seem to be grieving, he is, and that his displays of grief cannot “denote [him] truly,” because “they are actions that a man might play,” while his sorrow is real (1.2.76-86). This claim reveals Hamlet’s belief that his outward nature cannot reveal his inner one, and, as Skulsky notices, “gives no grou...
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...never truly know another’s inner nature. If Hamlet’s scenario is not convincing enough, an examination of the situations of Polonius— whose attempts to see into Hamlet’s interior based on Hamlet’s actions get him killed— and Claudius— who also falls prey to the belief that his soul is impenetrable and dies as a result of it— may be helpful. As Hamlet demonstrates, there exist certain moral principles beyond human control, and sometimes, as in Hamlet’s case, they are better left unchallenged.
n Hamlet’s case, they are better left unchallenged.
Shakespeare, William. “Hamlet.” Norton Introduction to Literature. Ed. Alison Booth and Kelly J.
Mays. Portable 10th ed. New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 2011. 1024-1129. Print.
Skulsky, Harold. “‘I Know My Course’: Hamlet’s Confidence.” PMLA 89.3 (May 1974): 477-86.
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