Colin Mcginn's Role In Hamlet

In William Shakespeare’s tragedy Hamlet, the main character Hamlet is thought provoking when analyzing due to his indecisiveness and inability of knowing his true self. Colin Mcginn, the author of the book Shakespeare’s Philosophy analyzes the play Hamlet and illustrates some philosophical explanations to why Hamlet is a difficult character to understand. McGinn argues, “We constitute ourselves as having a particular identity by envisaging and enacting certain roles” (46). McGinn believes that Hamlet can only be himself when he occupies a role (60). I agree with McGinn that Hamlet is unaware of his true self and constantly plays a role to acquire an identity. Although McGinn states some valid claims as to why Hamlet’s character is challenging …show more content…
McGinn argues that, “The difference of the two occasions is theatrical: there is no audience on the first occasion, so there would be no performance in which Hamlet was playing a part”(49). Hamlet has the chance to kill Claudius while he is in the castle but does not because he was praying and believes he would be sent to heaven. I disagree with McGinn and think Hamlet truly did not kill Claudius because he does not want him to be sent to heaven. Hamlet states, “A villain kills my father, and for that, I, his sole son, do the same villain send to heaven. Why, this is hire and salary, not revenge” (III.4.1144). Hamlet wants Claudius to suffer in hell for murdering his own brother, who is also Hamlet’s father. Killing Claudius while he repents his sins for murder would send him to heaven and be unfair to Hamlet’s father. Even though I do believe that Hamlet is playing the role as a madman, I do not believe he delayed in killing Claudius because there was no audience. Hamlet truly wants revenge on his uncle for murdering his father then marrying his mother. In the Oxford English Dictionary, revenge is defined as, “The action of hurting or harming someone in return for an injury or wrong suffered at their hands”. If Hamlets revenge is to kill Claudius, he would not want him to rest in peace in heaven. Hamlet did not delay in killing Claudius because there was no audience; he did it because he wants to accomplish his revenge in a hurtful

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