King Lear Essay

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Beatley also contends that “Hamlet considers the problem of suicide” yet abandons the idea of seeking his own death. However, this seems to be dramatically irrelevant, Hamlet does not seem to be sunk in the depths of melancholy as he is in his first soliloquy. The primary question in “To be or not to be” cannot be suicide. Hamlet has been roused to action with his anticipation of the ‘Mousetrap’ as a means to test the ghost’s words. Prior to this soliloquy, Hamlet is instructing the players and telling Horatio of his plan with much excitement. Hence it is not consistent with the movement of the plot or the character for Hamlet to be debating suicide at this point. The metaphors all seem to suggest that Hamlet’s choice is between suffering the ills of this world and taking resolute action against them It is also interesting that Hamlet vocalizes his dilemma in the infinitive construction of “To be or not to be.” He sees the issue as primarily a metaphysical one. Hamlet seems to be failing the moral question as to whether or not he should effect private revenge, against his king, blood-relative, and his sovereign. Platonic and Aristotelian thought espouses “Being, as the definitive essence of what a thing is.” According to this doctrine there is no middle question. A thing is or is not. Hamlet is essentially trapped. The moral code from which he cannot escape is basically medieval, but his instincts are with the Renaissance (Beaty, Hunter, Paul 1308). The intense, philosophical personality of Hamlet is clearly visible here. They contend that he is bounded by his unthinking acceptance of church and state, yet, he is being forced to find a new orientation, while bound by ethics all his own, to avenge his father’s wrongful death. In wake of the success of the ‘Mousetrap’, prior to his interview with the Queen, Hamlet delivers another soliloquy, the shortest in the

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