Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Hamlet - Is there Indecision? Essay -- GCSE English Literature Coursew

     Ã‚  Ã‚   The Bard of Avon has in the character of Hamlet (in the tragedy of that name) a hero who has been accused of hesitation and indecisiveness. Are such accusations appropriate? L.C. Knights in â€Å"An Approach to Hamlet† explains the modern appeal of the tragedy in terms of the indecisiveness of its hero: Hamlet is a man who in the face of life and of death can make no affirmation, and it may well be that this irresolution – which goes far deeper than irresolution about the performance of a specific act – this fundamental doubt, explains the great appeal of the play in modern times. The point has been made by D.G. James in The Dream of Learning. Shakespeare’s play, he says, â€Å"is an image of modernity, of the soul without clear belief losing its way, and bringing itself and others to great distress and finally to disaster†; it is â€Å"a tragedy not of excessive thought but of defeated thought,† and Hamlet himself is â€Å"a man caught in ethical and metaphysical uncertainties.† Now I am sure that Mr. James is right in emphasizing the element of scepticism in Hamlet’s makeup – the weighing of alternative possibilities in such a way as to make choice between them virtually impossible [. . .] . (64)    Is there a connection between verbal hesitation and hesitation in action and decisions? Lawrence Danson in the essay â€Å"Tragic Alphabet† discusses the hesitation in action by the hero as related to his hesitation in speech:    To speak or act in a world where all speech and action are equivocal seeming is, for Hamlet, both perilous and demeaning, a kind of whoring. The whole vexed question of Hamlet’s delay ought, I believe, to be considered in light of this dilemma. To a man alienated from his society’s most basic symboli... ...ions: Hamlet. Ed. Harold Bloom. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1986. Rpt. from Tragic Form in Shakespeare. N.p.: Princeton University Press, 1972.    Rose, Mark. â€Å"Reforming the Role.† Modern Critical Interpretations: Hamlet. Ed. Harold Bloom. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1986. Rpt. from Homer to Brecht: The European Epic and Dramatic Traditions. Ed. Michael Seidel and Edward Mendelson. N.p.: Yale University Press, 1977.    Shakespeare, William. The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 1995. No line nos.    West, Rebecca. â€Å"A Court and World Infected by the Disease of Corruption.† Readings on Hamlet. Ed. Don Nardo. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1999. Rpt. from The Court and the Castle. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1957.         

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