The Journey of the Mind in Shakespeare's Hamlet

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The Journey of the Mind

A journey begins with a single step, or rather, for the protagonists of Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex and Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, a single truth. While these works of literature are separated by years, each similarly exhibits the archetype of journeys. However, to voyage as these characters have is not simply by knowing the contours of the road they travel, but to trace a profound transformation on an internal level. For unfortunate King Oedipus and a likewise infamous Prince Hamlet, their journeys are not just physical, but of the mind, manifesting itself in the form of mental deterioration. Beginning with the character of Oedipus, while the physical journey lasts the course of a day, his mental journey originates at his own birth, where his own internal passage spans all the way back to his origin. The conflict that arises from the circumstances surrounding this lead into the encompassing self-tribulation that will be the theme of his journey, with his inner shifting subconsciousness affecting the outer events of his journey. The journey’s catalyst was his decision to seek the murderer of the prior king, leading into his confrontation with the elderly seer and planting the first seeds of doubt. Going from his assuredness in addressing the people prior, we now have insight to the depths of his pride at even the slightest hint that all is not well with his identity, progressing him in having to turn his search inwardly and preparing
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