Hamlet's Capacity For Self-Sacrifice

1709 words 7 pages
Topic: Discuss the ideas developed by the text creator about the individual’s capacity for self-sacrifice in the face of compelling circumstances.

One single moment or event during the course of an individual’s life can effectively alter their priorities and transform their identity drastically. In The play Hamlet, by William Shakespeare, Shakespeare introduces the readers to the protagonist Hamlet who is draped in anger and emotions and has a new-found mission in life. Initially, Hamlet is portrayed as an individual in mourning over his father's death and his mother's haste in remarrying to her brother-in-law and Hamlet's uncle, Claudius. However, Hamlet’s character and personality were drastically altered after meeting the Ghost and
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Therefore, in an effort to determine Claudius’ guilt, Hamlet decides to stage a play that will “catch the conscience of the king” as he does not want to be sinned for killing an innocent person. His values and beliefs are at play once again as he has a chance to kill Claudius while Claudius is praying. However, Hamlet believes that killing Claudius while he is praying would send his soul to heaven. Therefore, he decides to wait until Claudius is doing something sinful to exact revenge on him. However, as time progresses and the pressure to exact revenge increases, Hamlet is forced to slowly surrender and sacrifice these beliefs. He murders a man behind the curtains thinking he had avenged his father’s death. However, he had killed an ‘intruding” but otherwise innocent Polonius. This leads to Ophelia going mad and committing suicide, which leads to Laertes seeing revenge. Laertes also died as Hamlet stabbed him. Also, Hamlet was responsible for the death of his two friends, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, as he ordered to have them killed even though they were fairly innocent as well. During his goal of avenging his father’s death, Hamlet would be filled with rage, confusion and emotion. This led to Hamlet effectively closing his door to heaven as he sacrificed his beliefs by being responsible for the death of five innocent people.

When Hamlet is faced with the question: “To be or not to

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