The essence of hamlet

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 12th grade February 2008

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Even after nearly five centuries since Hamlet was first published, scholars continue to attempt a newer, fresher perspective of this enigmatic and fascinating play. The prominence of this play is such that academic disciplines of many diverse types contribute to the plethora of interpretations based on the perspective of their various disciplines. However, whatever new interpretation of Hamlet may be published, one of the topics of discourse that never seems to wane in interest is Hamlet's interpretation of the self. Sometimes, Hamlet's behaviors were such that psychology attempted to ascertain the truth of Hamlet's inner thoughts through its methods of psychoanalysis. Indeed, Freud's concept of the super-ego can be useful in explaining some of Hamlet's thoughts and behaviors. Others wanted to explain Hamlet's interpretation of the self through historical contexts, through the occurrences and popular schools of thought during Shakespeare's era. It can seem a tremendously difficult task, but given the vast amount of resources, it is quite possible that the Hamlet aficionado can gain a thorough understanding of how Hamlet interpreted the self.

One way to categorize Hamlet's interpretation of the self is by first considering Hamlet's interpretation of man in general. Then we consider Hamlet's interpretation of himself, his analysis of his own behaviors and his inner thoughts. Through these two methods, we notice Hamlet's apparent resignation of his soul to fate once all of his doubts are resolved. It seems that Hamlet's obvious priority in terms of the self is not the physical body; instead, he is concerned about the well-being of his soul.

Throughout the play, Hamlet makes it clear that he is not impressed with humans. This is especially apparent the moment he opens his mouth for his first soliloquy. Hamlet is appalled at the lack of time elapsed between his father's funeral and the...