"Hamlet" - Personal Choice or Inescapable Destiny.

Essay by MerunkaCollege, UndergraduateA, October 2005

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Discovering "Hamlet" is learning about a tragedy, story of a murder, moral failure, love and loyalty.

"So shall you hear

of carnal, bloody, and unnatural acts,

Of accidental judgements, casual slaughters,

Of deaths put on by cunning and forced cause;

Fallen on the inventors' head.

All this I can truly deliver."


More than anything else, "Hamlet" is a drama about erroneous choices and indecisiveness that allowed the disastrous climax. In my essay, I am going to examine whether Prince Hamlet was able to influence the coming tragedy or if he was simply a victim of his fate. I believe that there were two main choices which Prince Hamlet took and which predetermined the tragedy - his pretentious madness and the reluctance to kill Claudius at the right moment. I would like to show how these two decisions influenced the final outcome. I believe that if Hamlet had acted more rationally the manslaughters could have been prevented.

Hamlet decided to start acting mad after the meeting with the ghost of his father. Although it is arguable whether or not he was entirely acting all the time, there is no question over the fact that he had initially decided to pretend his madness.

"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,

Here as before, never, so help your mercy,

How strange or odd soe'er I bear myself-

As I perchance hereafter shall think meet

To put an antic disposition on-"


The purpose of his pretending was to slowly reveal his uncle's secret and then attack unexpectedly. What Hamlet probably did not expect are the lethal effects which this game brought. He lost two of his most important potential allies - Ophelia and Gertrude.

Ophelia was driven to suicide by Hamlet's mad treatment. She was the least guilty, and yet...