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Hamlet Conflicts

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Individual response to conditions of external or internal conflict is reflected in much of literature. In the play Hamlet by William Shakespeare, the character of Hamlet must deal with both external and internal conflict. He faces the death of his father, the knowledge thta his uncle Claudius is his father's murderer and the knowledge that he must take revenge. Hamlet's responses to these external conflicts and his own internal views reveal his nature and character.

Hamlet is very distraught and grief stricken for the death of his father the King of Denmark. As well, he is upset with his mother's quick marriage to his uncle Claudius, who is now King. Hamlet is emotional and melancholy, and in his first soliloquy ponders suicide because he wonders what the use there is in living with what he sees as madness around him. Nothing makes sense to him. His reactions to his mother and his uncle's entreaties to put on a more positive attitude are critical and, if you like, often bitingly witty. Hamlet shows that he cares about his father very much because he refuses to put on a show of cheer--his father is dead. He also shows his sensitibity when he talks about wanting to die, and intelligence with his plays on words when speaking with the king and queen. These responses tell of Hamlet's character.

Hamlet meets his father's ghost who tells him that Claudius poisoned him, and demands that Hamlet seek revenge. Hamlet shows his bravery when he encounters this unknown force of the supernatural. The ghost confirms Hamlet's suspicions of Claudius and he begins to feign madness until he can devise a plan of revenge. Polonius, advisor to the king, meanwhile believes Hamlet's condition stems from his separation from Ophelia, Polonius' daughter, whom Polonius has forbidden to see Hamlet. When Polonius tries to talk to prince Hamlet, Hamlet is evading, critical and playful with this old man whom he does not like. Hamlet shows his childish nature, but also his slyness in his acting or pretending to be mad. His reactions to these external events and forces show Hamlet's varied character.

Throughout the play, Hamlet is dealing with conflict within himself. When Hamlet finds that he must take revenge on Claudius, he is unsure whether there is any point in having to kill, to take another human life, and whether he would be able to handle this. Hamlet fights inside himself. Is this right? Is this his duty? He ponders suicide again, "To be or not to be, that is the question." Hamlet shows his philosophical nature, and talks himself out of the idea of suicide, fearing the unknown beyond. He is thoughtful and intelligent and not first a man of action. This is seen in Hamlet's internal conflict.

Hamlet soon resolves to take action. He sets up a play to trap Claudius so he can find out if the ghost was telling the truth. This is his intelligence and craft. He will not rashly



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