An Analysis of How Fear of the Unknown Affects Characters in 'Hamlet'

1357 Words Feb 3rd, 2018 5 Pages
It is a soliloquy about fearing the unknown that lies waiting on the other side of the grave (are we punished and/or rewarded according to our actions on earth?) and as Hamlet reasons, "Conscience does make cowards of us all" (3.1.2). In other words, Hamlet feels that he is unable to act because of the haunting voice of doubt inside him. He doubts that he would find peace in the afterlife should he kill himself. He doubts the events he sees before his very eyes and so cannot exact revenge as the spirit of his father urges him to do. Yet, as Hamlet begins to unravel, other characters expose their doubts as well, revealing how they too are troubled by the unknown. King Claudius reveals his troubled conscience after witnessing the play and wonders what he has done; Hamlet's mother tries to block out the reality of the situation she has entered into when Hamlet attacks her with what he knows (not knowing is better than knowing, she feels). This paper will examine the ways in which the unknown affects the actions of the characters in Hamlet and show that at the heart of each character is an unwillingness to confront the unknown (which is oftentimes themselves). Fear of the unknown arises in the very beginning scene of the play with the appearance of the ghost of Hamlet's father.…
Open Document