In the 400-odd years of its life, Hamlet has found its way into multiple contexts across the globe. And now we explore Hamlet as a person who is caught in a vortex of tormented, inward-looking indecision and Oedipal self-doubt (Young).
Hamlet is the hero of his time, but the time, space or historical collisions are not able to influence the values that at all times and eras remain unchanged. However, some people see Hamlet as a person weak and indecisive. Of course, in today’s world, it is easy to consider someone who is not a superhero fighting against evil to be a weak person. However, there are values that are eternal: honesty, compassion, love. And the lack of these values is painful. Therefore, we can understand the conflict in the soul of Hamlet because he had to confront outrage and dishonesty by himself. The contemporary attitudes toward issues such as rebellion, conscience, regicide, incest, retribution, and mourning are different, however, the investigation discloses a number of substantial reasons for viewing Hamlet not as an indecisive young man, but as an energetic and strong-minded figure in a conflict with the moral dilemmas of his age (Frye).
We will not be able to explore the person who is Hamlet unless we attempt to empathize with the anger he feels upon learning that his adored father has been killed unemotionally by Claudius, a hateful Machiavel of a man who adultery with his brother’s wife. Hamlet is often blamed for being suspicious, however, has every right to be suspicious, considering the net of spies trying to disclose him and his secrets, and his moral anger against his uncle and his contempt for the unfaithful spies, posing as friends, is not synonymous with cynicism. Even if he does hate these particular men, he doesn’t hate mankind and is quite clearly a faithful friend to the honest Horatio. (Pearce).
No matter what is happening in the world the confrontation of good and evil will never stop. Hamlet shows the duality of his era. On the one hand, he understands that people are the glory of nature and its perfect work. However, on the other hand, he realizes that a person often follows their instincts and that puts them in the same category with animals. Hamlet is witnessing a tragedy, he sees what others are unable to see: destroyed concepts of honor and duty, moral decay. He asks himself why people exist and gives this question to his readers in XXI century.
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? (Shakespeare 3.1,65-68)
Even though people are usually responsible for major events in their life, the impact of society, historical events, environments have a significant impact on the behavior of people and their perception of the reality. And the image of Hamlet proves it. Throughout the play, we see Hamlet growing and maturing as a person. Hamlet dies not because of his weakness or mistakes, but because of his integrity, intelligence and inability to resist injustice. The tragedy of Hamlet is in human evil and the rejection of the evil is a source of conflict. Hamlet, remorseful and doubtful in every scene, rails with cynicism, and “mopes in self-indulgent acedia” (Colston). Ethics makes other people weaker, putting Hamlet in the position of being a hero.
Even though Hamlet may be seen as sentimental, he is certainly not a weak person. His actions are based on the understanding of human evil, honor, and respect to his father. He is driven by honest emotions and rightful anger. He represents the values we should all carefully keep.
- Colston, Kenneth. “Hamlet the confessor.” First Things: A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life, no. 260, 2016, p. 17+. Academic OneFile, http://go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?p=AONE&sw=w&u=ko_acd_nic&v=2.1&it=r&id=GALE%7CA441490457&sid=summon&asid=16e72707861394d710376e75dc7de247. Accessed 10 May 2017.
- Frye, Roland Mushat. The Renaissance Hamlet: Issues and Responses in 1600 : Issues and Responses in 1600. Princeton University Press, 1984. Princeton Legacy Library. EBSCOhost.
- Pearce, Joseph, and Brandon Ross. “Hamlet.” First Things: A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life, no. 262, 2016, p. 10+. Academic OneFile, =http://go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?p=AONE&sw=w&u=ko_acd_nic&v=2.1&it=r&id=GALE%7CA447930029&sid=summon&asid=8de20f9848de703c1e516bf79c24edd4. Accessed 10 May 2017.
- Shakespeare, William, and Cyrus Hoy. Hamlet. New York: W.W. Norton, 1996. Print.
- Young, Sandra. “Recognising Hamlet.” Shakespeare in Southern Africa, vol. 26, 2014, p. 13+. Academic OneFile, http://go.galegroup.com.proxy/ps/i.do?p=AONE&sw=w&u=ko_acd_nic&v=2.1&it=r&id=GALE%7CA387827061&sid=summon&asid=67192dfb6c108542b95408377be3f333. Accessed 10 May 2017.