Hamlet, Prince of Denmark or King of Conflict?

In: Novels

Submitted By brendasummers
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What is conflict? Is it a miscommunication between two parties? Is it a clash of interests? Is it a need for revenge? To a literary person, conflict is what gives a piece of writing depth and makes it something to remember. In fact, it is the very concept that makes Hamlet stand out from other pieces of literature. The intense struggle between the two main characters make it one of Shakespeare’s most well-known pieces of writing. From beginning to end, two characters have the power to create, mould and exemplify countless themes throughout Hamlet. The fierce conflict between Claudius and Hamlet is essential to develop the action and inaction, revenge, the impossibility of certainty and appearance vs. reality themes.

The contrast between action and inaction is emphasized between Claudius and Hamlet due to the conflict between these two characters. To begin, Claudius sends Hamlet to an almost certain death immediately after he suspects Hamlet’s knowledge of his father’s murder. Quickly, he confides in Rosencratz and Guildenstern that, “[Claudius likes Hamlet] not, nor stands it safe with [everyone] / [t]o let his madness range” (III.iii.1-2), and demands, “therefore prepare you. I your commission will forthwith dispatch / [a]nd he to England shall along with you” (III.iii.3-4). It seems Claudius proceeds impulsively, however his calculated and rapid actions are the key to the development of the theme of action. Claudius smoothly uses “[Hamlet’s] madness” as the source of his nephew’s departure, though it is his own safety that concerns Claudius. Next, Hamlet cannot find the strength to kill his father’s murderer throughout most of the play.

“Now, whether it be / [b]estial oblivion, or some craven scruple / [o]f thinking too precisely on the event / [a] thought which, quarter’d, hath but one part wisdom / [a]nd ever three parts…...

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