William Shakespeare 's Hamlet As A Man

1849 WordsMar 9, 20178 Pages
During the Renaissance period, human beings began to question the meaning of the individual in relation to society and God. Thus, some began to concurrently question what it means to be a man. The definition of a man varies from each person, as there are many complex elements that factor into one’s definition. Although achieving a state of manhood is always desired in society, it is not always accomplished because of the given complexions associated with the understanding of manliness. In William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Shakespeare hints at his definition of a man through Hamlet’s struggle to determine the definition of manliness due to the given complexities and complications of society and the individual. Through his reflective comparisons…show more content…
Hamlet also has strong feelings about the duty and purpose of man. When considering his complete failure to avenge his father, he asserts, “Sure he that made us with such large discourse, / Looking before and after, gave us not / That capability and godlike reason / To fust in us unused” (IV.iv.35-38). He firmly believes that God did not create humans with such a power of thought, reason, and capability, just for it to be wasted by doing nothing. He further concludes that a man that does not use all of his powers is “A beast, no more” (IV.iv.34). Hamlet repeats the motif of beasts; he concludes that man who does not use his reason is nothing but a beast. On the other hand, he understands a man is gifted by God to possess “action like an angel, in apprehension how like a god!” (II.ii.267-268). He realizes that God created man in his image and with enormous intellectual potential. Hamlet gradually determines the importance of intellect and reason by noting the effects these qualities have on the behavior of others. Hamlet uses his observations and encounters with Horatio, Rosencrantz, and Guildenstern to understand the importance of loyalty to others. Horatio is the only one who remains unquestioningly devoted to Hamlet. Horatio’s abundance of fidelity, however, emphasizes Rosencrantz and Guildenstern’s lack of loyalty and their eventual betrayal. Rosencrantz and

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