Theme of Guilt in Hamlet & Fifth Business Essay example

938 WordsJul 28, 20134 Pages
There is one human emotion that can paralyse us, lead us to lie both to ourselves and others, to commit actions that we don’t endure, and to cripple any rational thought processes. It is self perpetuating if allowed to get out of control. Its side effects are anger, aggressiveness, fear or reclusiveness. Its symptoms are irrational behaviour, lying, anguish, and lack of self-esteem. It is the strong emotion that can affect our conscience, like an acid drop it corrodes the soul within and in extreme conditions it demolishes one’s life, it is better known as guilt. Guilt is a reoccurring theme in Robertson Davies’ Fifth Business, and William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, that is demonstrated by various characters including, Dunstable Ramsay, Paul…show more content…
Moreover Paul was forced to feel the guilt at a young age, causing him to become frustrated, and that is when he decides to escape from Deptford and runs away with Le grand Cirque forain des St. Vite (Davies, 148), “‘He was my only teacher till I ran away with a circus.’” (Davies, 265). Equivalently in the play Hamlet, the theme of guilt was developed through Hamlet and his most hateful enemy, King Claudius. Hamlet experiences guilt when he recognizes that he has not yet avenged his father’s death and in Act I Scene ii Hamlet reveals that he is upset and disappointed with himself, as he has not taken any actions to attain revenge from Claudius, the murderer of his father. Hamlet then calls himself, "a peasant slave" and questions, "What's Hecuba to him, or he to Hecuba, That he should weep for her? What would he do, Had he motive and cue for passion That I have?" (Shakespeare, II, ii, 529. 538-541). Furthermore, Hamlet later decides to relief his overwhelming guilt by commanding the actors to re-enact his father’s death through The Murder of Gonzago, (Shakespeare, III, ii, 284), in order to confirm that the ghost was being truthful and Claudius did kill his father, “May be the devil, and the devil hath power T' assume a pleasing shape. Yea, and perhaps Out of my weakness and my melancholy, As he is very potent with such spirits, Abuses me to damn me. I’ll have grounds More relative than this. The play’s the thing Wherein I’ll catch

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