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Hamlet Character Analysis - Essay Example

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In William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the protagonist experiences this paralysis of choice, and it is his defining characteristic.
One of the most obvious choices that Hamlet faces is how to revenge his father’s death. From the beginning of the play, Hamlet struggles with the evidence of his father’s death. The only source of information he has for the murder of his father is the message from his father’s ghost. His father’s ghost commands Hamlet to “Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder” (Shakespeare 1.5.25). This command leads to Hamlet’s paralysis. What at first seems to be a simple decision with only two options is much more complex in Hamlet’s view. He must decide whether to accept this information, even though it comes from a supernatural source, or reject it. If he accepts it, he must decide how and when to kill his uncle, Claudius. If he decides not to accept it, he must corroborate the supernatural testimony with some other more reliable source. Hamlet chooses the latter option, but this choice only opens up more decisions that he must make. He has to decide how to gather evidence, which leads him to stage a play. However, this play renders no information on the guilt of Claudius. Hamlet continues to debate methods of collecting evidence against his uncle, but this obsession with finding evidence and confirming it leads him to make no decision regarding his uncle’s guilt. In the end, this inability to make a decision on Claudius’ guilt leads to Hamlet’s death...

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Summary

The paralysis of choice is a concept much discussed in modern society, but the idea is present in works of literature that predate the modern period by several hundred years. The concept of paralysis of choice is that modern society provides so many alternatives and solutions to choices individuals must make that they become unable to make a decision…
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