Essay on The Flaw of Excessive Thought in Shakespeare's Hamlet

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The Flaw of Excessive Thought in Hamlet

In Hamlet, Shakespeare has his troubled title character dejectedly sigh the words, "there is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so" (II.ii.255). With this line, Hamlet unwittingly defines the underlying theme of the play. The tragedy of Hamlet is based on conflicts produced when Hamlet and another character have conflicting feelings of what is "good or bad." Ophelia dies for the conflict between Hamlet's romantic love and Polonius and Laertes's protective caution. Hamlet himself is torn between whether to consider his father's ghost as an angel or a demon. The prince's final decision rests on the very basic necessity of life itself, and whether continuing to live is worth
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It is this act of madness, this adversity from both family and the object of her love, that drives Ophelia to lose her own tenuous hold on sanity. She finds it difficult enough to deal with her father and brother's commands, and Hamlet's apparent insanity is too much for her to bear. The conflict of this love story gone wrong arose, as other conflicts around it did, from Hamlet's "good" approach to Ophelia's love versus Polonius and Laertes considering it "bad".

Ophelia is not the only source of conflict between Hamlet's "good or bad"; his vision of his father's ghost creates another battle raging in the already troubled youth's head. Upon hearing the true cause of his father's death from the ghost, Hamlet cannot be satisfied with himself unless he resolves to kill Claudius. However, the pensive Hamlet cannot help but weigh his undying love for his father against the morals of his Christianity. Hamlet must decide for himself whether to believe his father's ghost is an angel on a mission of revenge or a demon out to lure him into sin. Even on his first meeting with the ghost, Hamlet cannot help but be suspicious of its true intentions. "Be thou a spirit of health or goblin damn'd, bring with thee airs from heaven or blasts from hell, be thy intents wicked or charitable, thou com'st in such a questionable shape that I will speak to thee" (I.iv.40-44). Only by attempting to trap Claudius in a trap of