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Patrick Judge Per 5 Journal Response, Hamlet Act 4 In the first half of the speech, Hamlet once again

analyzes mans place in the world, particularly when it comes to the balance of thought and action. If man doesnt think, or merely thinks without acting, he is simply a beast and no more than one. It is mans duty to take full advantage of the large discourse infused in humans by God the Creator. Essentially, Hamlet is frustrated by his lack of action, for man must do more with his time than merely sleep and feedthe action of thinking (or lamenting, as Hamlet is wont to do) is not enough to transcend the bestial state. Hamlet then references the army of Fortinbras, as they march by with full conviction to fight over a piece of land that has no profit but the name. The conflict is pointless, yet they take up arms, even for an eggshell. The notes on the side do an appreciated job of translating the line Rightly to be great / Is not to stir without great argument / But greatly to find quarrel in a straw / When honors at the stake: according to the book, i.e., to be truly great, one should not fight except when the argument is itself great, unless honor is at risk. Hamlet sees the fault of Fortinbrass actionthe conflict is over a meaningless piece of land without any great significance, thus there is no proper justification for their action. Hamlet, meanwhile, has all the proper justification needed to murder Claudius, yet he is still bound only to thought. O from this time forth / My thoughts be bloody or be nothing worth represents Hamlet deciding to finally translate his thought into action. My thoughts be bloodyi.e., my thoughts become real, flesh and blood action or be nothing worth. Whether or not Hamlet does act on the promise at the end of the soliloquy is currently up in the air, though Id imagine that given the play is nearing its end, Hamlet finally does do something. Ultimately, the dilemma Hamlet poses in his soliloquys across the last three acts (II-IV) are one and the sameHamlets own frustration with himself as he continually delays his vengeance against Claudius for his fathers death. In Act II (O what a rogue and peasant slave am I), Hamlet compares his inaction against a players portrayal of Pyrrhus seeking revenge for his fathers death. Hamlet curses himself a dull and muddy-mettled rascal, peak / Like John-a-dreams, unpregnant of [his] cause, / And can say nothing, for he has just witnessed the player portray passionate emotion and raging revenge all for nothing! / For Hecuba! Hamlet is bound by his own inaction. The Hamlet of Act III faces the same dilemma of inaction, just slightly broadened in contexthere he raises the ultimate question of To be or not to be, to act or to carry through a life devoid of existential purpose. Here, after much broad discussion that could potentially be in contemplation of suicide, Hamlet arrives at a justification for his inaction: Thus conscience does make cowards of us all, / And thus the native hue of resolution / Is sicklied oer with the pale cast of thought / . . . / And lose the name of action. The capacity for thought and reason is a curse to Hamlet, for this capacity restrains Hamlet from taking action as the currents of his motive and passion turn awry with time and deliberation. Finally, the Hamlet of Act IV expands on the very same dilemma, this time juxtaposing the meaningless march of Fortinbras (action without thought) against his own meaningless revenge plot against Claudius (thought without action). This parallels especially close to the O what a rogue and peasant slave am I soliloquy, which pit Hamlet (motivation without action) against the player (action without motivation). Yet it is the same frustrated Hamlet of acts before in Act IVthe only real evidence of growth is his own personal call to action at the end. Were it not for that assertion, Hamlet is static, still failing to act on his desires, still lamenting.

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