Life is defined by the struggles it presents us. Without these constant tests of our fortitude, we would never grow as mature human beings. This is the one common denominator linking all people, past, present, and future. It is no mystery why our literature and art reflect this characteristic. The creation of a character is a mirror-image of a human. Shakespeare perfectly understood this truth. He crafted Hamlet, Claudius, Polonius, and his many other characters so that they would reflect life and in this way, entertain and educate his audience. Shakespeare's outright goal may have been to simply make money, but along the way, he sculpted beautiful characters filled with human qualities. In particular, Hamlet, the Prince of Denmark, possesses the universal theme of internal struggle. Furthermore, he also displays a fervent desire to rectify his situation, an attitude easy sympathized with. These two aspects of Hamlet make him one of Shakespeare's most likeable and understandable characters. The reader (or the audience) yearns to identify with his thoughts and actions.
Throughout the play, the audience gets a voyeuristic glimpse into the internal struggle of Hamlet. This access allows the reader to see a quality in Hamlet that they have in themselves: a deeper conscience. While not everyone must contend with problems of murder and incest, each person has individual struggles that they keep within themselves, just as Hamlet wrestles with his hardships. Watching Hamlet deal with his problems is cathartic for the reader. One of the most powerful scenes occurs when Hamlet happens upon a chance to stealthily kill Claudius; however, the Ki...
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...Hamlet, as a character? Because he is just like us. He may be from another time and place, but his struggles mirror our own, and his need to make everything right is echoed in our own desires. Hamlet, the Prince of Denmark is a universal symbol of our own hardships and the measures we take to overcome them.
Boklund, Gunnar. "Hamlet." Essays on Shakespeare. Ed. Gerald Chapman. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1965.
Epstein, Norrie. "One of Destiny's Casualties." Readings on Hamlet. Ed. Don Nardo. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1999. Rpt. of The Friendly Shakespeare: A Thoroughly Painless to the Best of the Bard. New York: Viking Penguin, 1993. p. 332-34.
Gordon, Edward J. Introduction to Tragedy. Rochelle Park, NJ: Hayden Book Co., Inc., 1973.
Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. Ed. T. J. B. Spencer. New York: Penguin, 1996.
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