Analysis of Hamlet's Morality

Topics: Hamlet, William Shakespeare, Morality Pages: 3 (954 words) Published: January 16, 2013
Analysis of Hamlet’s Morality
Hamlet is one of the greatest dramatic characters created. Throughout the play, we acknowledge the complexity of his persona. Even without Shakespeare providing an elaborated description of Hamlet’s characteristics, we instantly perceive him as contradictory. At the beginning of the play, Hamlet is presented to us as a cautious and courteous man; however, due to the negative circumstances he has to face, we see how his moral character becomes reckless and uncivil. Shakespeare uses antithesis, allusion, and irony, to show the “demoralization” of Hamlet’s character. Throughout the play, Hamlet is overwhelmed by a feeling of revenge but hesitates in the murder of Claudius due to his fear of making the wrong decision. Hamlet is held back by his consideration of religious morals and beliefs. This is clearly shown right after Hamlet stages the play. ”Claudius "rises" in guilty startlement at The Mousetrap's revelations” (Essays on Values in Literature). After this point, Hamlet is fairly certain that Claudius is guilty, and comes across Claudius in the chapel. Hamlet is given the perfect opportunity to kill Claudius, but he decides that he doesn't want to kill him while he is praying. Hamlet feels that if he murdered him during prayer, he would dishonor his father by sending Claudius to heaven. Instead, Hamlet wants to kill him while he is doing something horrific, ensuring Claudius goes to hell, where Hamlet feels he deserves to go. Hamlet says: Now might I do it pat, now he is praying;

and now I'll do't. And so he goes to heaven,
and so am I revenged. That would be scann'd:
A villain kills my father; and for that,
I, his sole son, do this same villain send
To heaven.
Up sword, and know thou a more horrid hent.
(3.3.77-83, 93)
A very significant component to Hamlet’s loss of morality is his decision to act insanity. It is a major risk he is willing to take in order to accomplish his...

Cited: Grace, Tiffany. “Hamlet, reconciliation, and the just state." Renascence: Essays on Values in Literature 58.2 (2005)
Johnson, Vernon Elso. Corruption in William Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
Shakespeare, William. The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1992. Print.
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