External And Internal Conflict In Hamlet

787 words - 3 pages

Individual reactions to situations of external or internal conflict are reflected in much of literature. In the play Hamlet by William Shakespeare, the character of Hamlet must deal with both external and internal conflict. He faces the death of his father, the knowledge that his uncle Claudius is his father's murderer and the knowledge that he must take revenge. Hamlet's responses to these external conflicts and his own internal views proclaim his nature and character.

Hamlet is very distraught and grief stricken for the death of his father, the King of Denmark. As well, he is upset with his mother's quick marriage to his uncle Claudius, who is now King. Hamlet is emotional and melancholy, and he considers suicide because he wonders what use there is in living with what he sees as madness around him. Nothing makes sense to him. His reactions to his mother and his uncle's requests to put on a more positive attitude are critical and, often cruelly witty. He also shows his sensitivity when he talks about wanting to die, and intelligence with his plays on words when speaking with the king and queen. These responses tell of Hamlet's character.

Hamlet meets his father's ghost who tells him that Claudius poisoned him, and demands that Hamlet seek revenge. Hamlet shows his bravery when he encounters this unknown force of the supernatural. The ghost confirms Hamlet's suspicions of Claudius and he begins to simulate madness until he can create a plan of revenge. Polonius, advisor to the king, meanwhile believes Hamlet's condition hinders from his separation from Ophelia, Polonius' daughter, whom Polonius has forbidden to see Hamlet. When Polonius tries to talk to prince Hamlet, Hamlet is evading, critical and playful with this old man whom he does not like. Hamlet shows his childish nature, but also his slyness in his acting or pretending to be mad. His reactions to these external events and forces show Hamlet's true character.

Throughout the play, Hamlet is dealing with conflict within himself. When Hamlet finds that he must take revenge on Claudius, he is unsure whether there is any point in having to kill, to take another human life, and whether he would be able to handle this. Hamlet fights inside himself. Is this right? Is this his duty? He considers suicide again, "To be or not to be, that is...

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