The Subject of Choice in Shakespeare's Hamlet Essay example

The Subject of Choice in Shakespeare's Hamlet Essay example

Length: 839 words (2.4 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

The Subject of Choice in Shakespeare's Hamlet


It is said that life is nothing more than an endless stream of choices. Every day before work or school, we must all make choices—what to eat, what to wear, whether or not to bother with that homework assignment—some of which are trivial, while others have the direst consequences. In Shakespeare’s classic play Hamlet, the inner thoughts that accompany each decision, as well as the quest for what is actually truth and what is lie, is brought to light in Act 2.2. Hamlet is caught in a great struggle over what to do with his uncle, his evil, murderous uncle. By all rights he should die...yet the easy choice—outright murder—is not always the correct or prudent one. Overall, through diction and poetic devices, Shakespeare manages to convey a feeling of bitterness, an angry yet doubtful tone that shows the turmoil of the inner mind of a complex character.

This angry tone is brought about to a great extent by the choice of diction. Hamlet’s soliloquy is full of angry words; he refers to people of the wretched lower classes—whores, drabs, and kitchen maids—as he curses his own cowardice. Strings of adjectives describing all sorts of horrible sins are attached to the king as well as his own name. The king is a treacherous, kindless, “bloody, bawdy villain!”

As Hamlet’s anger both at the king and himself radiates from the speech, so does his inner confusion. There are two choices open to him—revenge or cowardice as he sees it. Shakespeare uses words and ideas to remind the reader of this fact throughout. Hamlet refers to “heaven and hell,” showing that Hamlet knows that only one course of action is just, yet he is in doubt. In the passage, the devil is mentioned several times, both ...


... middle of paper ...


...ke every human being, Hamlet is caught up in a choice—a grave and far more serious choice than what to eat for lunch—but a choice nonetheless. Through diction and form, Shakespeare manages to bring the tortured spirit, the angry yet doubtful mind, the horribly bitter soul of a man trapped in a choice that he shouldn’t have to make, to life. He shows how we wrestle with the best and worst in every choice and the uncertainty inherent in all important decisions. It is this theme that makes Hamlet real. It is this...humanity that drives in the point. Life is full of options, some bad, some good, most a mix of both. All we can do, like Hamlet, is do the best we can in each situation and wrestle with the doubt when it comes.

Work Cited

Shakespeare, William. The New Cambridge Shakespeare: Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. Ed. Philip Edwards. Cambridge: Cambridge U P, 1985.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

William Shakespeare 's ' Hamlet ' Essay

- The Meaning of Hamlet When I think of argumentative writing or impressive use of speech I immediately refer to the famous Hamlet by William Shakespeare. Reading the popular monologue from Hamlet- “to be, not to be—that is the question” is a tremendous way of displaying balance in a rhetorical situation. As many of you all know the first line of this monologue because those legendary words have been used in conversations today. In reality does anyone really know William’s purpose for his passage....   [tags: Hamlet, William Shakespeare, Question, Death]

Better Essays
1010 words (2.9 pages)

William Shakespeare 's ' Hamlet ' Essay

- Ophelia’s road to madness The play Hamlet Written by Shakespeare, was set in the late middle ages. Often women in Shakespeare’s plays have a very significant role, Ophelia herself did not have a very significant role in the plot but she did have an effective influence on some characters. During this time period women were oppressed by the dominant sex. This had a very negative effect on women in that society. Because of male dominance, Ophelia was brought to madness which eventually lead to her death....   [tags: Characters in Hamlet, Gertrude, Hamlet, BDSM]

Better Essays
1084 words (3.1 pages)

Characters Of William Shakespeare 's Hamlet Essay

- Shakespeare’s Hamlet is about a story of a son of the former king, seeking revenge for the death of his father. In turn, his revenge affects the actions and the fate of everyone in the play. William Shakespeare uses several characters as foil: a minor character that reflects some aspect of protagonist. One of the foils in this play is Laertes. He uses Laertes to reveal several character elements of Prince Hamlet. Hamlet and Laertes both love Ophelia, prove their masculinity, and want to seek revenge for the death of their fathers....   [tags: Hamlet, Characters in Hamlet, Gertrude]

Better Essays
1335 words (3.8 pages)

Essay Analysis Of Ophelia 's ' Hamlet '

- In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Ophelia has a limited social role because she is a woman in a man’s world. In other words, she is a powerless young woman whose actions are determined by the men around her. Ophelia has no female alliances to protect her when these men subjugate her chastity. This presents a problem because the men around her are driven by the misguided assumption that her chastity will allow them to reap benefits for themselves. Her lack of individual decision-making and selfhood thus provide the foundation for her emotional unraveling....   [tags: Gertrude, Characters in Hamlet, Hamlet, Suicide]

Better Essays
1680 words (4.8 pages)

Hamlet: A Sane Character Essay

- The story Hamlet was composed by the playwright William Shakespeare, and is regarded as a timeless piece in both literature and theatre. Now, over four hundred years after Hamlet was written, society still continues to analyze its complex characterization (Reiss 769). In a Psychiatric Times article, twentieth century physician Alan Stone says, “Even today in our era of cultural diversity, Shakespeare remains the greatest figure of world literature, performed on every continent, surviving translation” (Allan 20)....   [tags: Hamlet Essays]

Better Essays
1706 words (4.9 pages)

Shakespeare's Soliloquies - Hamlet’s Soliloquy Essay

- Hamlet's Soliloquy             The purpose of a soliloquy is to outline the thoughts and feelings of a certain character at a point in the play. It reveals the innermost beliefs of the character and offers an unbiased perspective as it is merely the character talking to the audience, albeit not directly, and not to any other characters who may cause the character to withhold their true opinions. Therefore, Hamlet's first soliloquy (act 1, scene 2) is essential to the play as it highlights his inner conflict caused by the events of the play....   [tags: The Tragedy of Hamlet]

Better Essays
1020 words (2.9 pages)

Shakespeare's Portrayal of Women Essay

- As Shakespeare wrote Hamlet, the fiction was set in the Renaissance era and therefore the persona of women was reflective of that period. The natural stereotype of that time viewed women as weak, fickle, and dependent of the men in their society and subject to the decisions that men make for them. It was an exceedingly common depiction and very rarely was it proven wrong to the men of that time. Women’s rights were nonexistent in this time period so it wasn’t unusual for the portrayal of women to be so negative and offensive....   [tags: Shakespeare]

Better Essays
1125 words (3.2 pages)

Sexuality and Aggression in Hamlet Essay

- Sexuality and Aggression in Hamlet                In "Man and Wife Is One Flesh": Hamlet and the Confrontation with the Maternal Body, Janet Adelman argues that the motivating force behind the plot action in Hamlet is the collapse of boundaries between relationships of individuals, sexes, and divisions of public (state) and private (love) life. The primary cause of the breakdown results from the bodily contamination spread through overt sexuality, specifically maternal sexuality. Janet Adelman asserts her feminism into the sexist view of psychoanalysis to define the contamination as that power of women that men fear....   [tags: GCSE Coursework Shakespeare Hamlet]

Better Essays
1984 words (5.7 pages)

Hamlet: Nature of Truth Essay

- Hamlet: Nature of Truth Hamlet To some, truth is something that is absolute and unchanging. To others, truth is volatile and inconstant. In the 16th and 17th century, the foundations of civilization itself had been shaken. Many of the ideas which were thought to be absolutely true had been plunged into the depths of uncertainty. The cosmological, geographical, and religious revolutions called into question the nature of truth itself. It is no wonder, then, that some of the great writers at the time included within their works a treatise on the ways in which truth is constructed....   [tags: GCSE Coursework Shakespeare Hamlet]

Better Essays
1200 words (3.4 pages)

William Shakespeare's Hamlet Essay

- William Shakespeare's Hamlet Relationships between characters of the younger and older generations is a main focus and central theme of Hamlet. The play differs from convention in that older characters are generally found to be the ones who have acted wrongly or who have made mistakes. The younger generation, Hamlet included, tend to act according to what they believe to be morally correct and appear to have a greater conscience and sense of justice. Generally, productions of Hamlet present the younger generation in such a way that the audience would feel sympathy with them and disgust at the actions of the older generation....   [tags: Papers]

Better Essays
1833 words (5.2 pages)