Character Traits of Hamlet, Claudius and Gertrude
In Hamlet, William Shakespeare suggests that individuals may struggle to restore honour and certainty because of procrastination and deception. Honour and certainty are both qualities an individual may desire having. To be honoured by one’s name, or to be certain that through life they’ve made the right decisions. Honour is a clear sense of what is right and proper while maintaining great respect; certainty is freedom from doubt. In a sense these two traits are connected; with honour comes certainty, and with certainty comes honour. People want to be certain that what they are doing is right and will be satisfying in the end.
With certainty in actions comes pride and honour with the results. Although before the pride and honour come into play, the right decision must be made and making this decision is a struggle for most individuals. Deceiving and conniving may seem simpler than being honest and working hard. There may seem like many quick and easy ways to do things at the last minute but they aren’t honorable. In Hamlet, William Shakespeare suggests that individuals struggle to restore honour and certainty because of procrastination and deception. Throughout the play Hamlet, William Shakespeare presents many soliloquies.
The character Hamlet for example has a few soliloquies in which he contemplates whether to take vengeance on his uncle or not. Shakespeare is constantly calling attention to Hamlet’s worries and delays. He repeatedly raises the issue of delay in decision making. Even though as the reader, an individual may think it is something he/she imposes on the play, but the play raises the issue itself. In Hamlet’s first soliloquy, Shakespeare shows the first true insight into Hamlet’s contemplative nature and his suppression of the passionate feelings towards Gertrude and Claudius.
Hamlet agonizes over his hopelessness in carrying out the deed to avenge his father and is always searching for reasons why he is acting the way he is. No matter how much he justifies the matter, he is in the grip of something that he cannot fully understand. This is relatable to most individuals as a person may struggle in being decisive because they do not fully understand their circumstances. Shakespeare suggests through Hamlet’s soliloquies that procrastination and indecisive thinking result in a struggle for restoring an individual’s honour and certainty.
Shakespeare included a large group of deceitful characters in his play Hamlet. Shakespeare shows Hamlet and Claudius being the most deceiving of all. Throughout the play Shakespeare has Hamlet in several different positions where he is deceiving the people around him. Hamlet is portrayed as completely mad and estranged to hide that he was really plotting against Claudius. As well Shakespeare brings in Hamlet’s play “The Mouse Trap” not for entertainment purposes but to victimize Claudius and reveal his guilt.
The whole idea behind the acts of deception was for the character to gain what he/she desired most. Shakespeare made it clear that fooling the people around oneself is a good way to get what he/she wants but can result unfavourably. Hamlet fooled his mother, father, and even his friends to get the truth behind his father’s death and seek the appropriate revenge but in the end he hurt more people than he planned to. Shakespeare shows that because of deception and untruthfulness an individual may take matters further than necessary in order to restore certainty and honour.
Another character Shakespeare included who was very good at hiding her reality was Gertrude, Hamlet’s mother. Not only was she deceiving Hamlet but she was fooling herself. Shakespeare made Gertrude appear as unconcerned and uncommitted to the deceased King Hamlet. She hardly grieved his death, she marries Claudius promptly, and she even has a sexual and somewhat incestuous relationship with Claudius. The lack of concern Shakespeare has Gertrude impose was perhaps used as a way to reveal how some individuals hide from reality.
Shakespeare has Hamlet understand Gertrude’s attitude possibly to show how people might deceive themselves to run away from their guilt and dirty consciences. Gertrude is completely oblivious to the fact that what she has done is wrong and this goes to show how individuals shy away from the truth to remain with feelings of comfort and security. Shakespeare suggests that while an individual may feel comfortable with what their circumstances appear to be, there is no real honour and certainty that comes with hiding the reality.
Shakespeare introduces a few psychological obstacles that relate to Hamlet’s indecisive tendencies. Shakespeare has Hamlet become a prisoner of his own mind, a man stuck in an unreal world, an irrational thinker, in a rational society. By becoming trapped in the thoughts dwelling in his mind, Hamlet prevents himself from taking action. Shakespeare has Hamlet experience bombastic thoughts and feelings to show how hard it is to commit an act an individual is unsure of. Hamlet is shown as very intellectual and this inhibits him from acting promptly in regaining his honour.
Shakespeare has Hamlet reply very enthusiastically to the Ghost’s request of revenge but as Hamlet beings to consider the validity of the matter he becomes more wary of going forth in his vengeful act. Shakespeare is suggesting through Hamlet’s delays, that an individual may struggle with restoring his honour and certainty because of the psychological impediments resulting in procrastination. After careful examination of the source of evidence, it is clear that Shakespeare has suggested that individuals struggle with restoring honour and certainty because of procrastination and deception.
Shakespeare introduced deceptive characters such as Claudius, Gertrude, and Hamlet to show how easy yet unrewarding being deceptive can be. Deceiving oneself and others will do more harm than justice in restoring certainty and honour. As well, Shakespeare made it known through Hamlet’s over-contemplative tendencies and worrisome thoughts that procrastinating will not essentially make the decision easier, but more difficult. An individual should consider his/her actions before taking them but over-thinking could make regaining honour and certainty more challenging than necessary.