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Analysis Of Hamlet's Character Essay


Hamlets Character

A swimmers moment is defined as when you are faced with a decision that will define the rest of your life. The swimmer is forced to make a decision whether he will enter the whirlpool, or By their refusal they are saved from the black pit.(Avison, 5-6) In Hamlet, the swimmers moment is when Hamlet is deciding what he thinks he should do about his fathers death and Claudius. Whether he should enter the whirlpool and make the decision to kill Claudius, or do nothing and turn away from the whirlpool. Hamlet does not make a decision either way, in fact, he is pushed into the whirlpool by Laertes and Claudius when he is challenged to a fight. Rather than make a clear and concise decision, Hamlet just goes along with it until he is poisoned, and then he is fully engulfed in the whirlpool.

In Act V Scene 1 Claudius says to Laertes, Strengthen your patience in our last nights speech; Well put the matter to the present push. (V. i 281) He is talking to Laertes about the deal that they made to kill Hamlet. Without any action from Hamlet, nothing would have happened. He had simply taken refuge away from the country, and had caused madness in the country of Denmark. But he had not taken any action in proving the kings guilt, rather he had simply made himself appear raving mad. When Osric comes to tell Hamlet that the king has agreed to a duel between Laertes and Hamlet; Hamlet has no other choice. He resists, and he gets arrested. He agrees, and he begins to enter the whirlpool, without his knowledge. But he still doesnt make a decision about Claudius. Osric says, my lord, his majesty bade me signify to you that he has laid a great wager on your head; (V, ii, 102) and then when Hamlet states, How if I answer no, (V, ii, 162) Osric says, I mean, my lord, the opposition of your trial. (V, ii, 179)

When the duel begins, Hamlet is only seeking redemption. Even at this point in the play, he is circling around the whirlpool, but never entering. He states, Give me your pardon, sir: I have done you wrong; But pardont, as you are a gentleman.(V, ii, 214) He has no intent during this scene to make an attempt on Claudiuss life, he doesnt state it ever or even hint towards it. When the King says, Stay, give me drink. Hamlet, this pearl is thine; heres to thy health; give him the cup, (V, ii, 268) is trying to push Hamlet into the whirlpool, to force him to make a decision. Hamlet doesnt realize this, but declines the wine presumably so as to not get drunk while fencing. When Gertrude drinks the poisoned wine, Hamlet has begun to teeter on the edge. But when Laertes says, My lord, Ill hit him now (V, ii, 307) in reference to poisoning Hamlet, is finally when Hamlet is pushed into the whirlpool. His decision has been made for him already, death is imminent. He realizes this when Gertrude states, No, no, the drink, the drink, O my dear Hamlet, The drink, the drink! I am poisond. (V, ii 314) And finally, when Hamlet realizes that he is falling into the depths of the whirlpool and has no other option to revenge his father, he stabs the King and kills him. He did not choose to enter the whirlpool, but instead was pushed in when he was stabbed.

Thus, Hamlet throughout the play is an extremely indecisive character who cannot come to terms with what he wants to do. Finally, at the climax of the play, rather than make a decision; Hamlet is poisoned. In a rush, he kills Claudius. He never makes an executive decision to kill Claudius, it is rather an impulsive decision made purely by emotion.

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