Essay by forest2087High School, 12th grade May 2006

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Fate vs. Free Will

In the play of "Hamlet", by William Shakespeare the main character Hamlet draws a great fascination and mystery. Is he a victim of fate or the master of his own destiny? Throughout the play, he showed a variety of characteristics, which contradict each other. He can go from calm, logical, sensitive and trusting to insane, drastic, paranoid and skeptical in a matter of moments. Although he successfully killed Claudius, and achieved revenge for his father by putting on an "antic disposition", he lost all his loved ones. Therefore he is a victim of the fate. In his mother-Gertrude's chamber, he unintentionally killed the Lord of Chamberlain, father of Laertes - Polonius, who was hiding behind the arras spying on Hamlet and Gertrude's conversation. This causes him to be exile to England, because King Claudius had felt the threat of him and wants to kill him; and later on Hamlet fought with Laertes, because Laertes has to fight him for the honor of his father.

Hamlet had a chance of killing Claudius during Claudius' prayer, but he didn't, because he thought that heaven would have had the mercy to forgive Claudius. Thus Claudius would have gone to heaven if Hamlet had murdered him. Hence would not have been true revenge. Therefore he did not do it. If he had killed Claudius, he would have seal the deal of revenge for his father, he would be the master of his own destiny; but he did not. Near the end of the play, Hamlet accepts the challenge from Laertes, who was persuaded by Claudius to put poison on the sword tip and to Claudius himself, put poison in Hamlet's drink. Although Hamlet wins the fight and successfully kills Claudius, the wound caused by the poisoned sword tip from Laertes...