“To be or not to be? That is the question.” These two famous lines have a deeper meaning that every human thinks about: life or death.  These words have importance in both ancient and modern thoughts for decades. Everyone claims to know the answer and has different reasoning but no one really knows. Existentialism is and always will be an talked about and there will always be speculation about it. Existentialism is defined as a “philosophical theory or approach that emphasizes the existence of the individual person as a free and responsible agent determining their own development through acts of the will”. Shakespeare is able to explore existentialism with the tragedy Hamlet. This young prince is grief stricken and tries to understand his father’s death. In the end after all the chaos,  Hamlet proves to be an extremely character.Prince Hamlet is the son of courageous King Hamlet, who is the king of denmark,  and    is a university student until his father mysteriously dies. Hamlet is heartbroken and ponders his father’s death for a long time. But his other family seems to already be over his father’s death and he does not like this. But then the ghost of his father comes back and reveals himself to Prince Hamlet that his uncle Claudius is the murderer. Then it becomes Hamlets mission to prove Claudius is the murderer and seek his “revenge”.  However, Hamlet is always thinking about his actions before he does them. He has a innocence to him that won’t allow him to go after is uncle and his intelligence hurts him. His judgement and backtracking makes him to wait on his revenge against Claudius. But by the end of the play he finally kills Claudius and becomes the definition of a existential character. At the start of the play, Hamlet thinks only from his logic and intellectualism.  He crushes usual  emotions that clog his judgement and only used his intelligence. For example, when Hamlet first sees his father’s ghost, he does not believe it is his father. How could he? Hamlet says “Let me not burst in ignorance; but tell / Why thy canoniz’d bones, hearsed in death, Have burst their cerements . . . Say, why is this? wherefore? what should we do?” (1.4.46-48,57). Hamlet is so confused by the sight of his father’s ghost that he is unsure of how to act. This is not an ordinary thing so his mind tells him that what he is seeing is not possible. But in the end he realizes what he sees is true. So he believes what the spirit says to him and to try to see if it’s true he  later on which reenacts the king’s murder. If he is able to get a reaction out of his uncle then it is true what the ghost has told himAlthough Hamlet appears to be the perfect example of an anti-existentialist from the start of the story, Hamlet reasoning slowly begins to unravel scene by scene and you see the way   Hamlet’s emotion and feelings are. For example When Hamlet finally thinks about his own life and meaning of it, he famously says ” To be, or not to be: that is the question: / Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer / The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune / Or to take arms against a sea of troubles “(3.1.64-67).  He is thinking of the thoughts of suicide and is tortured by the idea of it. He wants to do in a way if God did not think of suicide as a sin . Hamlet’s anxiety and unpredictable  thinking make him think reasoning and common sense wont solve his problems. Hamlet begins to realize one of the important statements of existentialism: that reason is ineffective  to deal with everything that goes on with people. This in the end brings Hamlet away from logical thinking and into “madness”. He starts to see that he can’t really avenge his father in the way the spirit wants him to. It is hard for him to kill a man even if its his murderous uncle.  Indeed, Hamlet does go temporarily “insane” in Act I, scene 2, and is able to say whatever he wants to whomever he wants. For example when he said all of those mean unjustified things to Ophelia. But when he uses both of his emotions and judgement Hamlet does not commit suicide. To Hamlet and to the point of view of people in Shakespearean time suicide is immoral and not justified. By not taking the easy way out  and going against Claudius , Hamlet shows his  existential qualities. Another scene in which he shows his existential qualities are in Act IV. Hamlet thinks about the  purpose of doing things and isolation when he meets a Norwegian captain under the command of Fortinbras. When Hamlet asks the captain about the cause and purpose of the war, he can not believe why the countries will go to war over “a little patch of land / That hath in it no profit but the name” . After Hamlet understands what the captain had frankly said , he  coldnt believe that Fortinbras would allow the deaths of thousands of men for a bad “patch of land.” This is really important to the direction of the play.  Hamlet is still unable to kill Claudius and his indecisiveness was hurting him. Hamlet has all the justifications and reasoning to kill Claudius but can’t muster up the courage. In this scene, Hamlet understand the idea of the brutality of humanity and understands anyone can die. Which is another part of existentialism.From this point on, Hamlet declares that he will have bloody thoughts. “My thoughts be bloody, or be nothing worth!” (IV.iv.9.56). Hamlet is inspired by the aggressiveness of characters like Fortinbras and Laertes. These character are able to use action automatically. Laertes is very similar to  Hamlet because he also wants revenge for his father’s death. But he has no indecisiveness about him and wants to do at his first opportunity.Once  Hamlet decides to think like this, he lose the reflective characteristic he had in the beginning of the play. This allows him to become the extestonal character he is supposed to beWhen Hamlet finally does kill Claudius, it is not by his own tactical thinking and planning.But he says his loved one(Ophelia and his mother) die in front of his eyes. Also , Hamlet realized he was about to die so he wanted to bring his treacherous uncle with him.  A mean who has nothing to lose is always the most dangerous so in that moment he made Claudius drink that poison cup and diePrince Hamlet is introduced as a reflective, slow-to-act character. While he stays true to this characterization for the play and reflects before he acts , he goes through  a transformation by the end of the play.He realises he will not stand down and die but finally get the vengeance he  deserved. Once Hamlet is able to do this, he hits his peak in a way and becomes a true existential character. He is the only character who was against against Claudius’s corruption and allows himself to die once he gets his revenge.  This final existential act is what allows  Hamlet to be seen as an existential character in a such a classic tragedy.


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