Hamlet Essay Matrix
Hamlet’s Indecisive Nature Essay
The matrix theory is a question that illustrates the personal aspect of decision. The philosophy offers no choice, but revolves around a decision of bliss or truth (Diocaretz 9). Such an aspect is depicted in William Shakespeare’s textbook tragedy, Hamlet. The protagonist has to make a similar decision between his moral belief and obligation, however he falls into an uncertain state of mind and hesitates to act. After meeting with a ghost, who tells him to seek revenge against his uncle Claudius, Hamlet is determined to take action. Conversely he has a compulsion to moral law, which yields him to lack firmness. Critiques commonly label Hamlet as a man of contemplation rather than action. Consequently his periods of inactivity, tentative emotions, and constant hesitation characterize Hamlet as indecisive.
In between periods of vague action Hamlet’s road to revenge takes several detours. After the ghost of his father, who is an act of God and the devil, commands Hamlet to avenge him, Hamlet agrees and says, “Haste me to know't, that I, with wings as swift/ As meditation or the thoughts of love, / May sweep to my revenge (I, v, 29-31).” Hamlet promises his fathers spirit that he will swiftly avenge his death, and although he acts quickly to authenticate the spirits allegations, there is a delay of weeks before he a acts again. Moreover, Hamlet recklessly and unknowingly kills Polonius in Act 3, Scene 4; a period of inactivity follows on his part. After which the ghost returns to refresh Hamlet’s memory, “Do not forget. This visitation / Is but to whet thy almost blunted purpose (III, iv, 111-112).” Delays in action as well as the appearance of the spirit a second time support the fact that Hamlet is less then swiftly avenging his father’s death.
The irony Hamlet presents when he promises swift revenge, yet delays before acting is a common topic to critique. Hamlet is uncertain and reflects on his future actions thus, causing a delay. Critique Samuel Coleridge agrees that Hamlet has an, “overbalance in the contemplative faculty; thus vacillates delays of procrastination; and wastes the energy of resolving, the energy of acting (Coleridge Samuel).” Therefore in the instance of opportunity Hamlet wastes his built up determination on contemplation rather then action. Furthermore Hamlet has a chance to kill Claudius while he prays, however he fails to do so saying he waits for the right moment, scholar Thomas Sheridan feels, “this is an excuse to delay the murder, because he is uncertain of his actions (Sheridan Thomas).” Hamlet’s constant delaying of his actions further supports the fact that he lacks decisiveness and suggests psychological and emotional uncertainty.
Hamlet divulges his emotions as well as psychological state to the audience through his soliloquies. Hamlet reveals his ambiguity when he speaks to the audience, continually scolding and questioning his choice. In Act 2, Scene 2 he compares himself to Pyrrhus and deprecates himself a...
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Read an in-depth analysis of Hamlet.
Read an in-depth analysis of Claudius.
Read an in-depth analysis of Gertrude.
Polonius - The Lord Chamberlain of Claudius’s court, a pompous, conniving old man. Polonius is the father of Laertes and Ophelia.
Horatio - Hamlet’s close friend, who studied with the prince at the university in Wittenberg. Horatio is loyal and helpful to Hamlet throughout the play. After Hamlet’s death, Horatio remains alive to tell Hamlet’s story.
Ophelia - Polonius’s daughter, a beautiful young woman with whom Hamlet has been in love. Ophelia is a sweet and innocent young girl, who obeys her father and her brother, Laertes. Dependent on men to tell her how to behave, she gives in to Polonius’s schemes to spy on Hamlet. Even in her lapse into madness and death, she remains maidenly, singing songs about flowers and finally drowning in the river amid the flower garlands she had gathered.
Fortinbras - The young Prince of Norway, whose father the king (also named Fortinbras) was killed by Hamlet’s father (also named Hamlet). Now Fortinbras wishes to attack Denmark to avenge his father’s honor, making him another foil for Prince Hamlet.
The Ghost - The specter of Hamlet’s recently deceased father. The ghost, who claims to have been murdered by Claudius, calls upon Hamlet to avenge him. However, it is not entirely certain whether the ghost is what it appears to be, or whether it is something else. Hamlet speculates that the ghost might be a devil sent to deceive him and tempt him into murder, and the question of what the ghost is or where it comes from is never definitively resolved.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern - Two slightly bumbling courtiers, former friends of Hamlet from Wittenberg, who are summoned by Claudius and Gertrude to discover the cause of Hamlet’s strange behavior.
Osric - The foolish courtier who summons Hamlet to his duel with Laertes.
Voltimand and Cornelius - Courtiers whom Claudius sends to Norway to persuade the king to prevent Fortinbras from attacking.
Marcellus and Bernardo - The officers who first see the ghost walking the ramparts of Elsinore and who summon Horatio to witness it. Marcellus is present when Hamlet first encounters the ghost.
Francisco - A soldier and guardsman at Elsinore.
Reynaldo - Polonius’s servant, who is sent to France by Polonius to check up on and spy on Laertes.