ArguingThesis to the Hamlet Play: Hamletwas a hero and not a selfish prince as he made wise decisions thatwere good for the whole kingdom and not just for his personalvendetta
PrinceHamlet is the protagonist in Shakespeare’s play “The Tragedy ofHamlet, Prince of Denmark.” After the death of his father KingHamlet, the ghosts appear and say to the prince that he has to avengethe death of his father. Specifically, his (King Hamlet’s) brotherKing Claudius, who had since then ascended to the throne, had killedhim. While Prince Hamlet got various opportunities in which he wouldhave avenged the death of his father by killing King Claudio, hepasses on those opportunities (Shakespeare, 10). The whole play showsthe indecisiveness of Prince Hamlet as he grapples with how he isgoing to execute the revenge. However, he realized that actualizingthe mission of revenge is not as easy as it might look at the firstinstance. It is a very enduring exercise as it involves staying withthe guilt of killing an individual based on revenge. The fact thatPrince Hamlet made many deliberations before he could exerciserevenge shows how a real hero he is. Specifically, his failure toexecute revenge despite the opportunities that he had toprovethat he is a mindful individual who is not driven by selfishinterests but the interests of the community, thereby, making himselfan admirable hero. This paper explores the various ways in whichPrince Hamlet displays real heroism over the course of the play.
Hamletwas filled with so much insight and sensitivity towards issues thataffected the kingdom. Instead of fulfilling his personal desires ofseeing King Claudius go down, he first thinks about the repercussionsof his actions and does not quickly avenge the death of his fatherblindly. Even when the ghost appears to the guards and his friendHoratio delivers the message, Hamlet’s insight and foresight tellhim that something was not okay. Specifically, he states “Myfather`s spirit in arms! All is not well I doubt some foul play:would the night were come! Till then sit still, my soul: foul deedswill rise…” (Shakespeare, 20). True heroism is seen when Hamletdoes not rush into reading too much into the words of his friend butthinks it wise for him to meet with the ghosts and speak to them.Additionally, he is also able to understand that if indeed the ghostwere those of his father, they would not fail to speak to him. Hedoes not know what the spirits had come to say to him but in hisheroic mind he is already away that some “foul deeds” wereimminent. Indeed, his line of through is that of a leader and a herowho makes decisions based on significant deliberations and not ofselfish interests. He had to do some soul searching and establish howhe would make the revenge without hurting his conscience and livingthe rest of his life with the guilt of bloodshed.
Thewisdom that Hamlet exhibits is one a hero and a leader in waiting.Specifically, although he sounds eloquent every time he talks, hiswords are not based on personal vendetta but the wellness of thecommunity. He can analyze the events that are detrimental to thewellbeing of the kingdom. He is even able to discern between the goodand evil deeds of the leaders, which makes them lose the popularitythat they once enjoyed. At one time, he even states that “Asinfinite as man may undergo– Shall in the general censure takecorruption From that particular fault: the dram of eale Doth all thenoble substance of a doubt To his own scandal” ( Shakespeare, 22).From this statement, he is already aware that people, especially theleaders, might seem infinite. However, he knows very well that theirrule will one day end and that no man will be able to be on thethrone forever. His wisdom is also displayed in her address to theghosts. Specifically, instead of arrogantly speaking to them, he doesso with great honor. In Shakespeare (26) Hamlet, who has seen theghosts, states, “Let me not burst in ignorance but tell Why thycanonized bones, hearsed in death, Have burst their cerements.”This statement is a clear show that he had respect for the ghosts andthat he knew the best way to address them so that they could deliverthe message.
PrinceHamlet is concerned with his conscience and does not, therefore, killKing Claudius and exercise revenge even when they are left togetherin prayers. In his view, conscience makes people weak, as they areafraid of how they will remain after they commit evil acts.Specifically, when one of his guards tells him that he will leave him(Hamlet) alone with the king, he states that “Thus conscience doesmake cowards of us all and thus the native hue of resolution”(Shakespeare, 63). By this, he sees how hard it is to take this lifeof another person because of revenge. Hamlet knows clearly thatrevenge does not show true heroism. As such, he is very reluctant tokill the king despite the fact that he had been ordered to do by theghost of his father. This cannot be anything more than true heroism.He was not even thinking of the repercussions that would befall himif he does not make the wishes of his father. All he was concernedabout was his conscience and how he will be able to live with thefact that he had killed his uncle. If he were to be driven by hisselfishness and personal vendetta, he would have seized theopportunity to kill King Claudius and thereby, avenge the death ofhis father. However, being a hero that he was, he knew very well thathe would have to deal with the guilty conscience. As a hero, he wassearching for the best way to exact the revenge without having tofeel guilty of bloodshed.
Theaim of Prince Hamlet was to repair Denmark without shedding anyblood. He intended to get a proper revenge hat does not entail havingto kill an individual. He is well too aware that two wrongs do notmake a right. As such, he already knew that killing King Claudiuswould not make him a better person these are truly the actions of ahero as if he were to be driven by personal and selfish interests,he would have killed the king and ascended to the throne. However,his manner of revenge was that of a true hero ensuring changes tothe kingdom and that there was no injustice and acts of bloodshedagain. He wants the king who killed his father and inherited hismother to be punished. However, he does not find the best way inwhich he will be able to achieve that. As much as tries to do it in amanner that would not involve bloodshed, he finds it hard. However,after so much thoughts and deliberations, he manages to get revenge.He is unapologetic about it. When his mother complains about how hehad killed the king, he tells her that “A bloody deed! almost asbad, good mother, As kill a king, and marry with his brother”(Shakespeare, 86) as such, he has a real justification for killingthe king. His mother was surprised that the person who had inheritedhim was the murderer of his husband. Indeed, these are acts ofheroism and courage.
Inconclusion, Prince Hamlet displayed true heroism in the play due tohis wise decisions that were guided by the need for the wellbeing ofthe kingdom and not for his selfish interests. This is seen by theway that he communicates with his guards as well as how he addressesthe ghosts. Additionally, his delay in exacting revenge on KingClaudius for killing his father and inheriting his mother was a signof rational thinking that is exhibited by heroes. Indeed, he looksfor the best way in which he would avenge the death of his father. Itis only after he does not find any better method that he has to makea courageous decision of killing the king. These are selfless actionsof a real hero.
Shakespeare,William. TheTragedy Of Hamlet, Prince Of Denmark.1st ed., New York, Washington Square Press/Pocket Books, 1992.