Hamlet’'s Intelligence Essay

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There can be no denying that Hamlet displays extreme intelligence. This was inevitable, as he was accepted and educated at the prestigious University of Wittenberg. The only reason he left the university was to attend his father's funeral, and he planned to return after it was through. He delayed his plans only at the request of his mother, and did that grudgingly. The most noticeable demonstration of Hamlet's intelligence shows in his fondness for puns. Breaking out of commonly accepted speech patterns and delving into deeper meanings takes a lot of mental effort. Hamlet does this every time he talks with someone who would hinder him in realizing his objectives. Let us look at a particularly poignant example. Observe: Claudius:…show more content…
Right after Hamlet calls Rosencrantz a tool of the king, Rosencrantz replies "I understand you not, my lord." (IV, ii, 21) In act II, scene ii, line 185 - 7 , Hamlet calls Polonius's daughter a prostitute, and he merely replies "How say you by that," Social mores were incredibly strict in that era and such an insult would almost inevitably have created an uproar. The lack of such a disturbance indicates a lack of understanding on Polonius’s part. Perhaps Hamlets intelligence is not due to any great gain of mental capacity, but rather his opponents’ loss. If Hamlet were a simpleton, he would have trusted the ghost implicitly without troubling the players, would not have hesitated in killing Claudius while he was praying, would not have suspected Claudius’s letter of treachery, broken its seal and reveled its contents. The list goes on. All these actions imply some cognitive power. We can not deny Hamlet in this. What does Hamlet use his intelligence for? He was in a situation which required all his mental resources to react to. Sun Tzu said, “Be extremely subtle, even to the point of formlessness.” Although it is doubtful weather Hamlet ever read The Art of War, he followed this maxim to the extreme. He took all form from his actions and made others believe he was insane. His verbal attacks became subtle, often leaving his opponent confused. The fact that this was a plan and not a condition is unquestionable. After
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