Hamlet’s Contemplative Nature

Shakespeare Unlimited

Hazlitt remarks that Hamlet is, “Wrapped up in his reflections, and only thinks aloud.” The reason Hamlet speaks is that so we as members of the audience can hear his thoughts. He doesn’t speak chiefly to communicate with other characters but to share his contemplations with us as spectators. Hamlet holds the theatre dear and is eager to share his deepest thoughts. His thinking is his greatest skill, but also his biggest flaw. His cognitive virtuosity is breathtaking and paradoxically inspiring, yet ultimately his fear of hell slowly eats away at his soul. His inquisition of life’s perplexities harrow us to lifeless exhaustion. To think like Hamlet is to get to the core of our existence: “To be or not to be, that is the[only]question.” Hazlitt says, “It is we who are Hamlet.” We are all thinking creatures. Hamlet is literature’s nonpareil of consumate cognition and philosophical repartee. He is…

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