Yanli Jin Mrs.

Gaudion 11/08/2011 Hamlet’s downfall—egocentricity and revenge In Williams Shakespeare’s’ tragic play, Hamlet, the main character Hamlet appears to be a noble prince, who is thoughtful and a devout Christian. His grace, wit, and strength have won him a good reputation among his people. However, throughout the whole play, Hamlet dwells on his own misery often without considering the situations of others in his life, and causing them to suffer. He takes the lives of blameless people without repentance, and insults his mother without putting himself in her situation. Hamlet is selfish by taking revenge on others causing many unnecessary deaths. The first three killings of Polonius, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are all attributed to Hamlet. As a normal person, he should at least feel guilty and be responsible for his behaviors; however, Hamlet never shows any regret for his evil actions, nor any concern for those lives he took. For example, Hamlet doesn’t feel sorry for Polonius’ death; instead, he accredits the death on Polonius himself, saying “Thou wretched, rash, intruding fool, farewell. I took thee for thy better. Take thy fortune”(III.IV). Hamlet leaves little time for himself to grieve over this loss and the mistake he had made. On the contrary, he turns to his mother, bringing up her quick marriage to Claudius right after he accidently kills Polonius. The same situation happens to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Hamlet replaced the sealed letter carried by the unsuspecting Rosencrantz and Guildenstern (which called for Hamlet’s execution), with one calling for the execution of the

because he thinks that they have betrayed him and catered to Claudius. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern have no choice when Claudius asks them to spy on Hamlet. Hamlet could avoid the unnecessary deaths by cutting those sentences in the letter. Throughout the entire play. If they knew the facts. the outcome might have been much different. he chooses to put them into a very dangerous situation and shows no remorse for doing it. “Their defeat does by their own insinuation grow”(V. especially in Act Three. She too is a victim. who has been cheated by Claudius. Moreover. However. they don’t know the truth that it was Claudius who killed the old Hamlet. His rage towards Gertrude shocks her several times throughout the play. Regarding the relationship with his mother. Nevertheless.bearers of the letter (Rosencrantz and Guildenstern themselves). they would have stood by Hamlet’s side. regardless of the damages his actions may cause to others. where Hamlet compares Claudius to his father and says harsh remarks regarding Gertrude’s remarriage. which is illustrated by the Ghost’s words. and treats her rudely without thinking about . Gertrude doesn’t even have inkling that it is Claudius who killed his brother. Hamlet is tough on her. She is the kind of woman who has been well protected by the old Hamlet. It seems that the only things Hamlet cares about are his own problems. He acts with perfect assurance. Scene Four. II). Claudius is the king of the country and everybody needs to listen to the king. He tells Horatio that he has no sympathy for Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. which mention the execution. However. Hamlet judges his mother as evil subconsciously. If Hamlet had told her the truth. saying. Hamlet has never placed himself in their situation to consider their circumstances.

In this play. it is Hamlet’s actions which directly or indirectly determine the fates of most of the characters. Gertrude might not have betrayed Hamlet and would have rethought her remarriage. When he focuses too much on the revenge. . Hamlet convinces himself that it is the right thing to do to take revenge. and show his love and care for her. the blame should not be placed entirely on Hamlet’s shoulders. However. If Hamlet were mature enough to control his selfishness. It is often hard for a young man to control his thoughts and behaviors. Gertrude needs someone whom she can rely on and help her recover from the trauma she has endured. It is Claudius who gives her hope of life. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Hamlet. he unconsciously exposes his egocentricity and draws more attention to his emotionally fueled actions. the conclusion of this play Hamlet may have had a different outcome. but he doesn’t realize how deeply he has hurt his mother. and hateful attitude towards his mother. William . Selfishness is part of human nature and Hamlet is a pitiful creature who has faced far more than he could endure. The unnecessary slaughters of Polonius.her circumstances. 2003. If Hamlet could somehow consider his mother’s feeling more. well demonstrate Hamlet’s egotistical nature. Works Cited Shakespeare. As a woman who has just lost her beloved husband and sole support. By putting blame on his mother’s second marriage. New York: Spark Publishing.

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