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Action Versus Contemplation in Hamlet Essay


Through out Shakespeares play Hamlet Prince Hamlet is faced with many difficult choices in which he must choose to be a man of action or a man of contemplation. The choices that he makes affect not only him but all the ones who are closest to him and would eventually lead to his demise.

Hamlets choices between a man of action and a man of contemplation begin at the start of the play when his father is killed and his mother marries the new king, his uncle Claudius. Even thought Hamlet is suspicious of his uncle he never confronts him about his fathers death. Even when his father ghost comes to him and says 1) revenge his foul and most unnatural murder. Hamlet found out this information and chooses to be a man of contemplation and investigate what the ghost has told him.

To see if what was told to him was true Hamlet sets up the play The Murder of Gonzaga to reenact the way Claudius supposedly killed his father. Upon observing Hamlet finds out that the ghost was in fact telling the truth and it was now time to seek his revenge. Hamlet approaches Claudius while he was praying and refrains himself from killing him. Saying 2) And so he goes to heaven and so am I revenged. That would be scanned. Once again Hamlet chose to be a man of contemplation and wait for the right time.

Soon after Hamlets mother Gertrude speaks to Hamlet in her closet to discuss his odd behavior. As they are speaking Hamlet hears a noise behind the arras and without thinking stabs Ophelias father. This is the first time Hamlet was being a man of action and he ended up killing the wrong guy. The news of what happened to Polonius drove Ophelia into madness Not even Laertes could bring her back and he realized this saying 3) A document in madness, thoughts and remembrance fitted. This madness would eventually lead to her death when she fell into a brook and had no drive to save her self.

During the play Hamlet had many choices to make. If he had made them any differently the play would not be the same. As the play unfolded it seemed that every decision Hamlet made tended to backfire and have major consequences. The death of Ophelia and his mother drove him to finally seek his revenge and kill Claudius but in the process killing him self admitting 4) the potent poison oercrows my spirit. In the end if Hamlet didnt over think confronting Claudius at first he could have saved all the trouble that went with all his contemplation.

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