Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Shea, Roy, Lucio
One of the most famous lines from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, “To be, or not to be, that is the question” (1154), summarizes the main conflict for young Hamlet throughout the entire play: the matter what the most honorable course of action to take after his father’s spirit reveals that Claudius killed him is. While determined to avenge his father’s death, the morality of killing another person, especially a king, and the role it will have in determining where his soul will go certainly play a part in Hamlet’s decision. In fact much of Hamlet’s indecisiveness and uncertainty can be tied back to a conflict between Hamlet’s impulsive desires and society’s standards based on religious views, familial expectations, the law, and what subjects expect from a future king. Shakespeare relies of many subthemes and key decisions that Hamlet is faced with to explore his prevailing theme questioning what determines whether or not one’s actions are honorable.