A Study of Hamlet's Character Essay

A Study of Hamlet's Character
This paper explores the interplay between man's potential and man's behavior in Shakespeare's "Hamlet".
# 2192 | 2,110 words | 1 source | 2001 | US
Published on Feb 16, 2003 in Drama and Theater (English) , Literature (English) , Shakespeare (Hamlet)

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This paper explores the interplay between man's potential and man's behavior. Hamlet's character is studied through utilizing excerpts from the play to form the standards by which to define man. The many aspects of Hamlet's character are brought to light and although it has been argued, and most correctly, that Hamlet?s character leads directly to his demise, it is precisely that character that has made him so attractive to countless scores of readers.

From the Paper:

"Prince Hamlet, in saying "What a piece of work is a man" (2.2.293-294), brings to light the idea of man's inherent potential. "How noble in reason, how infinite in faculties, in form and moving how express and admirable, in action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a god" (2.2.294-296). In this sense, man is capable of infinite measures, of being, essentially, godlike. Yet in actual performance, man is too often ruled by his passions, and often so in the absence of reason. We, as humans, are capable of greatness and nobility, yet we are each also capable of behavior befitting a beast. Hamlet then asks of Ophelia "What should such fellows as I do crawling between heaven and earth"(3.1.128-129). All of the characters of the play are crawling between heaven and earth, yet some are drawn closer to the earth by way of their "beastly" behavior. The interplay between passion and reason therefore becomes paramount in placing the characters of the play on their respective "rungs of the ladder" between heaven and earth."

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