"Hamlet" by Shakespeare and the ultimate measure of a man from MLK

Essay by MercidiHigh School, 11th grade May 2007

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“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands in times of challenge and controversy.” This powerful quote by Martin Luther King, Jr. is by far a very accurate statement that I believe to be true. A man cannot be judged his worth based on what he does during serene times, but rather he must be judged based on his actions during times of hardship. The literary work that proves this true is the play ‘Hamlet’ by William Shakespeare. In the play, the main character, Hamlet is often found in conflicts and predicaments that he necessarily cannot solve.

One of Hamlet’s main dilemmas is that he is forced into getting revenge on his uncle for killing his father, marrying his mother, and ultimately becoming king. However, due to Hamlets inability to turn his action into thoughts, this revenge was severely delayed.

This inability is a result of his conflict between his physical and inner self, the former being thoughtful and contemplative, while the latter is rash and impulsive. The clash between his personalities often results in the accomplishment of nothing. Although this uncertainty is the main theme of the play, it also portrays Hamlet as a man incapable of making decisions in times of need.

Another thing that judges Hamlets measure as a man is his madness. Whether his madness is deliberate or actual is questionable. Hamlet believes that his madness is just a façade to deter the others of his real intentions. Somewhere in the middle of the play, the readers are confused of whether Hamlet is truly crazy or just acting. It is understandable for a person to take risks to get things done, but there are also times where it is too much and has the opposite...