Psychological Estrangement in Shakespeare’s Hamlet Essay

1554 Words 7 Pages
Psychological Estrangement in Shakespeare’s "Hamlet"

In Shakespeare’s "Hamlet", the main character, Hamlet, is burdened with attaining revenge on his murdered father’s behalf from the king of Denmark, King Claudius. In attempting to kill Claudius, Hamlet risks enduring estrangement occurring within himself at multiple psychological levels. The levels of estrangement that risk Hamlet’s psychological sense of identity are religious estrangement, moral estrangement, estrangement from countrymen, estrangement from his mother, and estrangement from women in general.

Hamlet feels self-actualized from following basic religious principles of living. This is shown by Hamlet’s refusal to commit murder thus preventing Hamlet from committing
…show more content…
Hamlet is forced to change the letter that initially ordered for him to be killed to having Rosencrantz and Guildenstern put to death. Hamlet demonstrates deceit here to save his own life and avenge his father’s death thus risking estrangement from his moral sense.

It is true that Hamlet has both the capacity to organize a mob of supporters to overthrow Claudius and is loved by most of his countrymen to the point where, as Claudius admits, Claudius cannot openly think, feel or act in a hostile manner towards Hamlet (Knight 103). However, Hamlet is unable to organize such a mob for this purpose due to his principled nature, which prohibits him from doing so (Cahn 101). Without this option, the only way for him to avenge his father's death is by himself alone taking action against Claudius. Essentially, then, he is one man up against a king and his army of soldiers, spies and friends (Sterks, "Enstragement"). Against such odds, he faces the serious risk that "palace intrigue" could work against him according to L.C Knight. A suspicious Claudius could, for example, have some of Hamlet's colleagues in the royal household go out and spy on him, or assassinate him. Thus, in attempting to kill Claudius, Hamlet risks estrangement in the form of his former colleagues of the royal household
Open Document