Think V Act In Shakespeare

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Think V. Act In Shakespeare’s Hamlet Essay, Research Paper Hamlet: Thinking v. Acting Riddled with doubt, haunted by sorrow, and sluggish in dealings of fate, Hamlet chooses slow demise in the Shakespearean play rightly titled, Hamlet. His delay of revenge upon Claudius prompted William Hazlitt to write of Hamlet in 1817: “His ruling passion is to think, not act.” Indeed, it is not for lack of instruction or opportunity that Hamlet fails in his mission. The further he strays from his purpose, the more muddied the story line becomes. Hamlet thinks nonconfrontationally, indirectly, self protectively, and justifies his inaction. The action he finally is forced to take is sporadic and blindly compulsive; a price for which he, his friends, and family must pay. Although a man

given every legitimate reason to assert public revenge for the murder of a brother, father, and king, Hamlet chooses to react non-confrontationally. A device Hamlet uses to avoid direct conversation with those in question around him is a veil of madness. By acting thus to Ophelia and Polonius and later to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, his burden of discourse with the King and Queen is removed because others report in his place. The perfect catalyst for his madness is Ophelia s shuttering of her love, and so she is the first to encounter his madness. “Lord Hamlet, with his doublet all unbraced and with a look so piteous in purport as if he has been loosed out of hell to speak of horrors—he comes before me,” relays Ophelia to her father (Shakespeare 2.1.lines 88, 92-94). Upon

hearing his daughter s confession, Polonius declares: “I will go seek the King (you) hath made him mad,” (113, 123). And to the King he reports, “I have found the very cause of Hamlet s lunacy,” which of course he claims is the lost love from his daughter (2.2.51-52). Similarly Hamlet feigns madness for the daft duo of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern who report their meager findings to the King. As further proof of his unwillingness to confront the guilty parties, Hamlet asks the players to perform The Murder of Gonzogo which mirrors the dark plots in Denmark. Additionally, he composes 12 lines in iambic pentameter to insert into the play he has selected to further ruffle the royal feathers and hopefully the royal conscious. This action allows him to observe rather than take

a active role. The veiled speech cuts directly to the heart of the foul play and has the opportunity to verify the criminal reports. Hamlet s ability to use language to his advantage is exemplified in passages particularly toward the King. “Farewell, dear mother,” he bids his father the King (4.4.58.) While there is sound logic behind the fact that his father and mother are of one flesh as a result of their marriage, Hamlet toys with the King s mind rather than approach the real issue. The indirectness with which Hamlet approaches those while under his madness can at times frustrate the reader who longs for legitimate action. He drops snide comments to those around him such as while speaking of his Uncle/Father the King: “A little more than kin and less than kind,” he

jabs (1.2.67). His first entire conversation with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern is spiced with allusions in that he is not mad, only selectively and opportunistically crazy. Yet he never states simply enough for the duo that he is only playing a part, as are they. ” there is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so,” he says to them (2.2.268 70). Osric is another individual that Hamlet has enjoys toying with. Osric: I thank your lordship; it is very hot. Hamlet: No, believe me, tis very cold; the wind is northerly. Osric: It is indifferent cold, my lord, indeed. Hamlet: But yet methinks it is very (sultry) and hot (for) my complexion. Osric: Exceedingly my lord; it is very sultry (5.2.107-113) Although the content of the discourse is meaningless in fact, the tone