A lesson from Hamlet

Ermete Zacconi - Hamlet.JPG

After reading the “to be or not to be speech” many times, I have concluded that the most important idea he is trying to get across is that, “conscience does make cowards of us all.” Although I disagree with the act of suicide, this observation made by the melancholy Dane can certainly be interpreted as an explanation to why we don’t do something we clearly should. How many times is there something that is the absolute right thing to do, but when we give our self to mulling it over, our resolve crumbles and we don’t do it. Claudius proclaims, “that, we would do, we should do when would, for this ‘would’ changes…” When you make up your mind, DO IT! For your mind will change, and is as dynamic as the wind. Hamlet suffers greatly from the ignoring of this wisdom. We all remember when he vows to the Ghost, “thy commandment all alone shall live within the book and volume of my brain unmix’d with baser matter.” What was the Ghost’s command? To “revenge his foul and most unnatural murder.” Now we already know Hamlet disobeys his promise of being exclusively focused on the revenge demanded by the Ghost for he begins to show skepticism and delays till it’s too late. When telling Horatio to observe how Claudius reacts to the Mousetrap, the play designed to catch the conscience of the King, Hamlet reveals that he doubts the Ghost, “if his occulted guilt do not itself unkennel in one speech, it is a damned ghost that we have seen.” Perhaps Hamlet realizes that if he kills the King, his own demise is sealed, but that shouldn’t be an issue since Hamlet vowed that the Ghost’s command of revenge was his only concern. Hamlet suffers from his fear of the “undiscover’d country” which indeed [puzzles his will] and dissuades himself from suicide. It wasn’t the fear of an unfulfilled mission of revenge that plagued him, further proof of the mind’s dynamic nature. What Hamlet feared was the mystery of death, and we may learn from Hamlet’s speech that the fear of venturing to anything unfamiliar equally “puzzles the will.” Which adds a compelling significance to Hamlet’s words. For if we can learn something from Hamlet here, even if it is an inferred secondary meaning, why not? If we are to reject both “[suffering] the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,” and relinquishing our own life, then we should make “[taking]arms against a sea of troubles” to compel us, to rather boldly [embrace] the name of ‘action’ with enterprises of great pith and moment that transmute our wretched state from a “sea of troubles” to an ocean of fortune.


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