Hamlet's Persona

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Emily Van Bibber Mr. McGinn Shakespeare’s Plays 7 February 2012 The Persona of Hamlet In William Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet, Shakespeare portrays Hamlet to be incredibly smart and cunningly witty; however, these characteristics do not define Hamlet. Hamlet’s persona is defined by his conflicted position and inability to make a decision. These defining traits precipitate his procrastination and further his melancholic disposition. Hamlet’s most obvious character flaw is his indecisiveness. Most often, Hamlet makes comments that suggest he is going to seek immediate revenge from his father’s murderer, but he remains stagnant. Early within the play he states that “with wings as swift As meditation or the thoughts of love” he will “sweep to [his father’s] revenge,” but his indecisive nature thwarts his efforts (Act I. Scene v. Line 31). Because of his Protestant religious background, Hamlet considers the possibility of the ghost being a devil. Resilient against having his soul damned to hell, Hamlet second guesses himself and his decision loses “the name of action” (Act III. Scene i. Line 88.). Hamlet considers every possible consequence and scenario thus he over thinks his conflict. Hamlet infers, “conscience does make cowards of us all” suggesting that these potential consequences disallows Hamlet from taking action. Because of his tendency to over-think, he develops a lack of urgency in his decision-making, defining himself as truly a procrastinator instead of a “man That is not passion’s slave” (Act III. Scene ii. Lines 73-74). The death of Hamlet’s father and his mother’s hasty remarriage to his uncle commences Hamlet’s depressed state; however, his internal conflict and procrastination further Hamlet’s melancholic disposition. His inability to take revenge for his father’s murder triggers Hamlet’s internal question: “to be, or not to be” (Act III. Scene i.

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