Conflict In Hamlet Essay

External and Internal Conflict in Hamlet Essay

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Individual reactions to situations of external or internal conflict are reflected in much of literature. In the play Hamlet by William Shakespeare, the character of Hamlet must deal with both external and internal conflict. He faces the death of his father, the knowledge that his uncle Claudius is his father's murderer and the knowledge that he must take revenge. Hamlet's responses to these external conflicts and his own internal views proclaim his nature and character.

Hamlet is very distraught and grief stricken for the death of his father, the King of Denmark. As well, he is upset with his mother's quick marriage to his uncle Claudius, who is now King. Hamlet is emotional and melancholy, and he considers suicide because he wonders…show more content…

His reactions to these external events and forces show Hamlet's true character.

Throughout the play, Hamlet is dealing with conflict within himself. When Hamlet finds that he must take revenge on Claudius, he is unsure whether there is any point in having to kill, to take another human life, and whether he would be able to handle this. Hamlet fights inside himself. Is this right? Is this his duty? He considers suicide again, "To be or not to be, that is the question." Hamlet shows his philosophical nature, and talks himself out of the idea of suicide, fearing the unknown beyond. He is thoughtful and intelligent and not first a man of action.

Hamlet soon resolves to take action. He sets up a play to trap Claudius so he can find out if the ghost was telling the truth. This is his intelligence and craft. He will not impulsively commit murder because of the word of a ghost who seemed to be his dead father. When he meets with his mother later, he is very angry and emotional and kills Polonius believing it was Claudius. Hamlet shows himself to be a man of action before thought in this case. He is rather cold that he is not terribly sorry about this accidental death but does show genuine concern for his mother which leads him to fits of intense emotion.

Hamlet then finds himself on a ship to England, sailing to his death. Claudius becomes aware of Hamlet's knowledge of him, and Hamlet is a threat to him. Hamlet manages to escape with the pirates and

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Internal and External Conflict in Hamlet

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In the play Hamlet by William Shakespeare conflict plays a very significant role. The play’s main protagonist, Hamlet, possesses both internal and external conflict due to the fact that he is fighting his inner conscience and suppressing his inner emotions, and he is seeking revenge on and conflicting with many other characters in the play. These internal and external conflicts this character is experiencing affect those around him. They also shape the events that occur in the drama and contribute to the overall outcome.

Hamlet experiences a tremendous amount of internal conflict throughout the play. He is constantly debating whether or not he should face his troubles. This sense of uncertainty comes from a lack of self confidence, and a loss of hope. However, Hamlet is a strong willed, intelligent and calculative young man, and in his anger he is reminded that he needs to do something about the problems he is faced with. One of the main conflicts Hamlet experiences is person vs. conscience. Hamlet fights his conscious feelings of hurt, confusion and agony and instead bottles them up.

Hamlet battles the feeling to take action against the play’s main antagonist King Claudius because he lacks the confidence to do so without knowing that is was really Claudius who committed his father’s murder. He needs reassurance. This is why Hamlet chooses to have Claudius watch a play which reflects the murder of Hamlet’s father. His indecisiveness is proved when Hamlet says “To be, or not to be, that is the question: Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles And by opposing end them”. Act 3 Scene 1 lines 56-60, William Shakespeare) This quote proves Hamlet’s inner conflict between himself and his conscience. The fact that Hamlet is extremely indecisive causes him to spend a lot of time over thinking the situation instead of acting on impulse. This is one of his main faults within himself that he is subconsciously aware of. This characteristic about Hamlet is what leads to his frustration and downfall. He fights his gut feelings and suppresses his emotions until he misses his chances which he then hates himself for doing.

These feelings of uncertainty stem from another inner conflict he is experiencing which has to do with how angry he really feels about his father’s death, and how his mother marries the man who Hamlet believes to have killed him. As a result of all of these inner conflicts, Hamlet shuts out the people who love him, and shuts out all feelings of love. An example of this is how Hamlet treats Ophelia. Hamlet really adores Ophelia, but the internal conflict he is experiencing has left him feeling lost and frustrated causing him to take out his anger on her.

The external conflicts Hamlet experiences are a direct result of the conflict he feels within himself. Many external conflicts occur in this play. However, the main conflict is between Hamlet and Claudius. Hamlets anger towards Claudius is being driven by his intense emotions and anxiety in the event of losing his father. Hamlet believes Claudius has taken everything from him, and he is on a mission to get revenge. Claudius is being driven by two things, his naturally cynical and greedy nature, and his thirst for power. These are what drive him to great lengths to ensure Hamlet never gets his way.

Hamlet on the other hand, is the exact opposite of Claudius in every other aspect except one. Hamlet, like Claudius possesses the ability to be cold and calculative. Both characters can think up schemes quite easily with great accuracy. The difference between Hamlet and Claudius however is that Claudius acts on impulse where as Hamlet over thinks the situation and hesitates to make his moves. Hamlet’s conflict with Claudius is ultimately driven by his inner struggle which can only be resolved through revenge on King Claudius.

James Batchelor writes “He is hence blinded from reason, and part of his growth as a character is based on his ultimate resolution and fulfillment of these internal struggles. Thus he is finally able to resolve his external conflict with Claudius by avenging his father’s death” (Batchelor, James. “Internal and External Conflict in Hamlet. ” Glyph. Web. 28 Jan. 2013. ) This quotes from author James Batchelor proves that Hamlet is experiencing an external conflict with Claudius which is a direct result of the internal conflict he is experiencing within himself.

The fight he is undergoing with Claudius also creates quarrels with other characters, such as Laertes and society in general. Everyone around Hamlet is constantly questioning and trying to prove that he is mad, when in fact he is one of the only characters who can see things for how they really are. It is clear that the character of Hamlet possesses both inner and outer conflict in this Shakespearean play because he is fighting his inner conscience, suppressing his inner emotions, and conflicting with many other characters.

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The outer conflict Hamlet experiences is mainly between Claudius and himself, but this quarrel between them is also reason for the fights between Hamlet and other characters such as Laertes and society in general. Overall, all conflict in this play is a result of Hamlet’s own inner struggle. As a result, this inner struggle causes him to take out his frustrations on the people he loves, like his mother and Ophelia. Without the conflict in this drama the play would have no meaning. The inner and outer struggle Hamlet possesses is what makes this play an exciting work of art.

Author: Brandon Johnson

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Internal and External Conflict in Hamlet

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