Hamlet: From Good To Evil
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Published: Wed, 10 May 2017
The evil inside of one person, in a way, is like a viral disease. It can be inside of one and after a while infect another, and it keeps doing this repeatedly until the last evil person dies without passing to another person who cannot avoid the evil. A great example comes from movies, it is the hero’s job to get rid of evil, and there has always been a movie or play where the hero destroys evil only to become evil himself.
In Hamlet, from William Shakespeare, Prince Hamlet plays the main character and as well the hero of the story. Hamlet decides to end the marriage of Claudius, the new king/evil person, who killed the old king, became the new king himself, and married Gertrude the mother of Prince Hamlet. The readers can see Hamlet’s behavior changing during the play from good to evil. In the beginning, he is a good prince and a well respected young man, and then his father’s ghost, who in my thoughts is an evil ghost, tells him that his uncle murdered him. Hamlet then becomes furious and starts to setup a plan to murder Claudius in cold blood.
Ophelia, the girl that Hamlet is supposed to love, is treated just like any other girl in passing; she is not treated in a loving manor. Hamlet even goes so far as to tell her, “You should not have believed me, for virtue cannot so inoculate our old stock but we shall relish of it. I loved you not” (Hamlet, 116-118). I believe Hamlet is not speaking from his heart but from the madness he was committed to act out. The way he acted at her funeral proves that he did actually love her, he told everyone, “I loved Ophelia; Forty thousand brothers could not with all their quantities of love make up my sum; what wilt thou do for her.” (Hamlet, 270). Hamlet also turns from a normal person into an evil man; this even affects his physical upkeep as he walks around dirty with his clothes disheveled. Another example is that towards the end of the story Hamlet actually gropes his mother, Gertrude, and nearly makes out with her. Disgusting when we think about it, but that is what makes it evil, there are no boundaries; it blinds the victim controlling their thoughts and actions.
The possession of evil can also bring out the thoughtless, mad, and foolish monster in a man and ruin his reputation and life. Prince Hamlet lacks control of his anger even in front of his best friends, as well as Horatio, his best friend of all. (http://www.bookrags.com/essay-2004/2/29/19508/6860) His friends can clearly see that he is losing his mind. It looks as if; even the poor gravedigger from town knows that Hamlet has gone mad. Once Hamlet confronts him, the gravedigger doesn’t recognize Hamlet, and he says,
“Hamlet is mad and sent to England…why, because ‘a was mad. A shall recover his wits there, or if ‘a do not, ’tis no great matter there…Twill not be seen in him there. There the men are as mad as he.” (Hamlet, 150-155) The clown, or gravedigger, was talking about the mental state of Hamlet with Hamlet right in front of him. This goes to show that Hamlet went from a respected royal man to the topic of everyday work talk. (http://www.bookrags.com/essay-2004/2/29/19508/6860)
Prince Hamlet became a bad evil man, and some readers may even think that he went truly crazy, although some believe he didn’t. Hamlet didn’t just kill one man with the intention of justifying his father’s murder. He murdered Laertes, he killed Polonius thinking that Polonius was Claudius, and finally he stabbed Claudius and poured the poisonous drink down his throat, like it was nothing but water, and as Claudius was dying he told him, “Here, thou incestuous, murderous, damned Dane, drink off this potion. Is thy union here? Follow my mother.” (Hamlet, 325-327) At this moment evil was all around, passing from person to another. The scene’s tone shows such fury and anger with the intent of evil. Even if Claudius deserved to die, Hamlet treated him as a useless animal. Hamlet had murdered his uncle without any compassion.
Hamlet didn’t kill Claudius just for his own satisfaction; he did it at the will of his father the ghost. It may appear to so since Hamlet meticulously planned his vengeance to kill Claudius slowly in order to watch him die painfully. That shows that Hamlet just snapped and went crazy. His total sense of ethics and the poise of a prince were gone, vanished, exchanged to evil thoughts of murder and revenge.
Hamlet illustrates how depth and ability in thinking is not healthy for certain situations that he faces, which eventually leads to his downfall. As humans we have the ability to use thought to accomplish good, or we can twist our thoughts and use them just for the purposes of evil. Thinking too much is a deeper aspect of the brain that can result in just as much good as evil. The bad side to this capability is that people end up thinking too much about a decision and never end up actually doing anything. The more people think, the less they do. As a result, thinking too much leads people to doubt, wrong doings, and wrong decisions, sometimes even the loss of control.
One perfect example of too much critical thinking is when Hamlet has the perfect opportunity to kill his uncle, the king, and revenge his father’s death. He almost goes through with it, but then begins to actually think about what he is doing. To close the scene, Hamlet decides that if he murders his uncle while the king is praying for forgiveness, he will automatically send Claudius to heaven and there would be no true revenge in that. Hamlet says, “‘Tis heavy with him: and am I then revenged, to take him in the purging of his soul, when he is fit and season’d for his passage? No!” (Hamlet, 84-87)
Prince Hamlet is well known, at the beginning of the play, to use his intelligence before he does something, but his actions seemed to change his destiny. He blames himself and his madness for his actions. Hamlet has lost his mind. Most of the things are not going his way, making all his decisions, in particular the revenge for his father’s murder very difficult. “He that hath made us with large discourse and the incapability of making godlike reason, made us only contain one part wisdom and three parts coward.” (Hamlet 36-43) He wonders why he is still alive to speak. “Witness this army of such mass and charge, led by a delicate and tender prince, whose spirit, with divine ambition puff’d.” (Hamlet, 47-49)
Hamlet emphasizes how a good and pure spirit becomes destroyed by ambition turning him to evil, the aspiration of becoming renowned and accepted. “My thoughts be bloody or be nothing worth.” (Hamlet, 66) Hamlet has revealed his own crisis. He was basically a good person that let his desire for revenge towards Claudius get the better of him. Hamlet’s character is shown to be one of virtue at the beginning of the play. He is soon sucked into the world of evil and dishonesty since he cannot get the thought of Claudius murdering his father out of his head. His mother marrying Claudius adds insult to injury and he cannot forgive her for what she has done either.
This is where the change in Hamlet really takes place he says “my thoughts be bloody or be nothing worth.” (Hamlet, 66) By saying this he is allowing revenge to set in and take over, resulting in his own death. Some say that a man must become bad and evil in order to deter evil. Hamlet’s way is definitely not the way to solve a problem; it acts as a domino effect and creates more violence. As with most things in the end, goodness always prevails.
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