Hamlet Inner Conflict Essay Ideas

The Inner Struggle in Shakespeare's Hamlet

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Hamlet: The Inner Struggle

On the journey through the path of life, there are encounters with many different incidents and situations where we must act accordingly.  Depending on what type of personality is possessed, there are numerous ways that we can deal with these encounters.  In the play Hamlet, by William Shakespeare, the main character is confronted with a cluster of dilemmas and is in emotional distress.  The ghost that encounters Hamlet, the monarchs’ incest, and the contemplation of murder, are the major conflicts which he must deal with one way or another.  As a result of these three issues, as well as Hamlet’s particular character, he handles these issues internally which causes internal struggle and a passive response.


In Hamlet, the incest involving his mother and uncle triggered the action which took place within Hamlet.  First off, Hamlet was in deep sorrow with the death of his father, and very angered of the hasty re- marriage of his mother. On top of all of that, the fact that Hamlet’s mother wed his uncle, made matters even worse.  In Act I, scene ii, line 129-159, Hamlet recites what is on his troubled mind.  He closes off by saying, “With such dexterity to incestuous sheets!/ It is not, nor it cannot come to good./ But break my heart, for I must hold my tongue.”  This reveals Hamlet’s true feelings regarding the marriage and how he bottles up his emotions and keeps them to himself.  However, if Hamlet was a different person, he may have had the ability to speak up to his parents and tell them how he really felt, as opposed to concealing his thoughts.  Unfortunately for Hamlet, he is not that type of person, so a lot of his actions occur internally rather than externally, and this was spurred by the situation with Gertrude and Claudius.


 Hamlet’s inner course of action was further intensified with his encounter with the ghost. The information that Claudius murdered Hamlet’s father, was given to Hamlet by ways of the mysterious spirit, and this immediately provoked animosity in himself.  In Act I, scene v, line 29-31, Hamlet states, “Haste me to know’t, that I with wings as swift/ as meditation or the thoughts of love,/ may sweep to my revenge”.  This statement shows the rage and fury of Hamlet wanting to seek full revenge on his uncle; He still does not act upon this as quickly as he proclaims, which shows his inability to step into action.

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  Also in this act, after the ghost prompts Hamlet to avenge his father’s murder, his future actions are self-questioned and unclear. In Act I, act v, line 95-104, Hamlet says:


But bear me stiffly up. Remember thee?/Ay, thou poor ghost, whiles memory holds a seat/ In this distracted globe. Remember thee?/ Yea, from the table of my memory/ I’ll wipe away all trivial fond records,/ all saws of books, all forms, all pressures past/ that youth and observation copied there,/ and thy commandment all alone shall live/ within the book and volume of my brain,/ unmixed with baser matter. Yes, by heaven!


In this soliloquy, Hamlet is once again confused since his new found feelings regarding the murder, are not yet justified. The knowledge, which the ghost passed on to Hamlet, was so profound that it caused great turmoil in the mind and heart of young Hamlet; This is another factor to why immense internal action took place within Hamlet.


            The idea of murder was a topic which arose numerously in Hamlet, and this was also a concept which produced conflict within Hamlet. By the mid-point of the play, Hamlet is fighting an inner battle of what he should and should not do.  In Act III, scene 1, line 56-69, this is Hamlet’s “To be, or not to be” speech.  Here, Hamlet is in deep thought and we are shown signs of suicide as well as increased confusion.  Also in this soliloquy, Hamlet shows how much he is confused when he states, “Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer/ The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,/ Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,/ And by opposing end them”. This shows how Hamlet does not know whether it is better to keep his sorrows to himself, or act upon them. In addition to this act, in scene 3, line 73-96, Hamlet has the perfect opportunity to murder Claudius and avenge his father’s death, yet he delays his actions due to his continual internal anguish.  This is a high point of action which happens within of Hamlet, and it is soon after this point where Hamlet changes from passive to active. In addition to contemplating suicide, the murder of Claudius also provokes a large deal of rationalizing. In the end, they both account for why most of Hamlet’s action was internal.


            In closing, much of the action in the playwright Hamlet, takes place within the prince himself. The elements of the apparition who claimed to be Hamlet’s father, the incest which took place in the royal family, and the murders, were all reflected on by the perplexed Hamlet. Some people in today’s society are able to relate with Hamlet since there are people who also keep to themselves, as well as think well before they act. Finally, everyone is their own person and whatever path they choose to pursue is in correspondence to their character, and we must acknowledge that.




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