How Does Shakespeare Use Conflict in Hamlet as a Way of Exploring Ideas?

2520 Words Jul 14th, 2005 11 Pages
How does Shakespeare use conflict in Hamlet as a way of exploring ideas?

An individual's response to conditions of internal and external conflict is explored throughout literature. In his play, Hamlet, Shakespeare delves into the themes of appearance versus reality, lies versus deceit, rejection versus self doubt and tragedy, and in doing so attacks the frivolous state of humanity in contemporary society. In order to explore these themes, however, he uses several forms of conflict to project his opinions and expand his ideas relating to the themes of the play. Internal conflict, as well as external conflict are dominant features of his works, and in Hamlet are made evident through a succession of dire events which can attack and destroy
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He merges the ideas of lies, deceit and self doubt resulting in a melange of moral dilemma and personal complications. This gives way to the recurring motifs of revenge, action versus inaction, broken family relationships and the questioning of life. Using the climatic point of the play, where Hamlet is reassured that Claudius killed his father consequently results in an anti-climax. Hamlet's reassurance has him out to get revenge upon Claudius. The climax results in a falling action (anti-climax) where Claudius takes charge of action and plots Hamlet's downfall. The final ‘catastrophe' where many of the main characters die allows Shakespeare to present to us his view that conflict can breed and multiply and even bring upon the downfall innocent people.

Shakespeare's main character Hamlet is a victim of both internal and external conflict. His conflict includes a physical nature as he goes about to avenge his father's death. Shakespeare translates further the idea of internal versus external conflict by giving it a physical nature. Shakespeare also uses soliloquies to emphasise Hamlets inner thoughts and conflict. This stands in contrast to the way he acts amongst others; with the intention of highlighting the inner turmoil he is experiencing. The infamous quote, "To be or not to be: that is the question: whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer…." (Act III, scene i, 58-90). It is during this soliloquy that