Ethical Issues In Hamlet

1850 Words 8 Pages
Hamlet’s problem is twofold: he has no concept of his own agency, or of his own responsibility, for the situations in which he finds himself. Hamlet is not used to thinking of himself as a force for change: first relying on other people, and then on a divine justice, to steer his life. So many of his lines rail ineffectively at the people and fates which have stuck him in his situations. 'Heaven hath pleased it so/to punish me with this ' (3, 4, 174-175), he says. 'The time is out of joint: o cursed spite/That ever I was born to set it right! ' (1, 5, 189-190) It does not occur to him that every situation is a direct result of people 's actions - at least, not until it is too late for him to be saved.
Hamlet in the very language he uses presents a worldview that is reactive, and prone to blaming, and childish. He talks multiple times of a divine justice which arbitrarily punishes and saves, and complains at other peoples’ choices, for example Gertrude’s choice to marry Claudius. When he finds out Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are against him, he speaks of being ‘benetted round with villainies’ (5, 2, 29).
Freud, for example, is not wrong when he postulates that Hamlet’s relationship with Claudius is complicated, but to say that they are the same, or indeed that Hamlet is aware of
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Hamlet has gone from automatically accepting Claudius’ authority as king to despising him altogether, and nowhere on that spectrum did he find a point which would allow him the two parts of perspective which he needed. Hamlet needed to recognise within himself the freedom to act, and the reasons for which he was acting, which he did not until it was too late. Hamlet is, ultimately, a tragedy, because Hamlet had this fundamental flaw of mindset. He could not take control of his own actions, because he was not accustomed to doing so. The Prince of Denmark was, to the end,

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