Essay The Thought Process of Shakespeare's Hamlet

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The Thought Process of Shakespeare's Hamlet "If Hamlet from himself be ta'en away, And when he's not himself does wrong Laertes, Then Hamlet does it not, Hamlet denies it. Who does it then? His madness. If't be so, Hamlet is of the faction that is wrong'd; His madness is poor Hamlet's enemy." (V.ii.230-235) Hamlet's self-description in his apology to Laertes, delivered in the appropriately distanced and divided third-person, explicitly fingers the greatest antagonist of the play‹consciousness. The obligatory cultural baggage that comes along with Hamlet heeds little attention to the incestuous Claudius while focusing entirely on the gloomy Dane's legendary melancholia and his resulting revenge delays. As Laurence…show more content…
The chief definition of "thought" revolves around the basic concept of the mental process: "The action or process of thinking; mental action or activity in general, esp. that of the intellect; exercise of the mental faculty; formation and arrangement of ideas in the mind" (OED, 1a). A further subset of definitions can be catalogued into a Manichean vision of positives and negatives and which equally apply to Hamlet's central consideration of consciousness as a blessing or a curse. There is a stress on thought's potentiality which fits with Hamlet's obsession with the infinitude of man: "Conception, imagination, fancy" (OED, 4c). But following this comes the negative view of thought as quasi-action, a direct link to Hamlet's stall tactics: "The entertaining of some project in the mind; the idea or notion of doing something, as contemplated or entertained in the mind; hence, intention, purpose, design; esp. an imperfect or half-formed intention; with negative expressed or implied = not the least intention or notion of doing something" (OED, 4d). Similarly, the past neutral sense of "Remembrance, Œmind'" (OED, 5e) is countered by the negative anticipatory connotation of: "Anxiety or distress of mind; solicitude; grief, sorrow, trouble, care, vexation" (OED, 5a). This current of duality is important to keep in mind as we explore its

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