Hamlet's Inner and Outer Conflict in Shakespeare's Hamlet Essay

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Conflict, in literary context, can be defined as “the opposition of persons or forces that gives rise to the dramatic action in a drama or fiction.” Conflicts can be external, between two or more persons, or internal, within one’s self. In most literature the conflict adds to the execution of the plot itself. Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” makes use of both forms of conflict as an essential element of the play. I will show how “Hamlet” presents inner and outer conflicts with examples of each and how their resolutions (if any) serve as a major part of the overall play itself.
Inner Conflict
Over the course of the play Hamlet has a number of ongoing conflicts within himself. These conflicts, in my opinion, serve as Hamlet’s greatest
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It is this mourning that becomes the foundation of conflicts to come. After an encounter with his father’s ghost, Hamlet learns of his uncle’s treachery and is at first filled with rage, “Haste me to know’t, that I with wings as swift, as meditation or the thoughts of love, may sweep to my revenge.” (Hamlet aside, Act I, Scene V, p.1651), but it is Hamlet’s struggle with himself that leads to not act upon his words as fast as he had clamed to.
Outer Conflict
An example of (and the initial) external conflict exists between Hamlet and his uncle and mother. Hamlet, already in mourning, is greatly angered at his mother, Gertrude, queen of Denmark, and his uncle, Claudius, the new king of Denmark, for marrying so shortly after the death of his father. Hamlet does not openly express his discontent towards Gertrude and Claudius at first, though he does make his mourning known “Seems, madam! nay it is; I know not 'seems.' 'Tis not alone my inky cloak, good mother… These but the trappings and the suits of woe.” (Hamlet to Gertrude, Act I, Scene II, p. 1640), as well other characters, “I pray thee, do not mock me, fellow-student…I think it was to see my mother's wedding. Thrift, thrift, Horatio! the funeral baked meats did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables. Would I had met my dearest foe in heaven or ever I had seen that day, Horatio!” (Hamlet to Horatio, Act I, Scene II, p. 1642)
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