Essay Preview: Hamlet Essay
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Protagonists are not always the true saviors. William Shakespeare’s Hamlet illustrates this conflicting reality, as it brings into question whether Hamlet would have actually made a superior king in contrast to Claudius. It is absolutely true that Claudius committed a sin for murdering Hamlet’s father. Yet after observing Hamlet, is it worth pondering whether Claudius, the antagonist, had in fact saved Denmark from the ruins that Hamlet would have brought upon his people were he placed in Claudius’s position. Although it is debatable whether Claudius made an admirable monarch or not, it is evident that Hamlet would not make an adequate monarch, for he lacks the three essential elements of an effective leader: initiative, a clear sense of direction, and responsibility.
First and foremost, Hamlet lacks the most fundamental element of an effective monarch; the ability to take an initiative. For instance, in the beginning of the play, Hamlet, upset with life, states, “O God! God! / How weary, stale, flat and unprofitable / Seem to me all the uses of this world! / Fie on’t! ah fie! ‘Tis an unweeded garden / That grows to seed: things rank and gross in nature / Possess it merely.” (I.ii.10 – 11) Hamlet’s appeal to a higher figure, as depicted by the phrase “O God! God!”, hints at traces of disparity in Hamlet. Yet instead of taking action and attempting to fix the issue at hand, he simply appeals to God to take away his woes, illustrating his lack of an initiative. In addition, Hamlet’s use of the metaphor “unweeded garden” further stresses his inability. The “garden” component of the metaphor emphasizes the fact that Hamlet’s life was once prosperous. Such highlights the capability for Hamlet to take his life into his own hands again. Furthermore, the word choice “unweeded”, in contrast to perhaps “destroyed” or “perished”, depicts that Hamlet’s “garden” has the potential to be patched up again. Thus, the fact that Hamlet’s life remains “unweeded” points way to Hamlet’s fault in not taking action to resolve any issues. Instead of actively seeking ways to seize purpose in his life, he sits around waiting for God to simply place his purpose into his lap. Lacking the ability to take initiative on his own “garden”, Hamlet would most definitely fail to take action for the well-being of his subjects were he the monarch, and thus would not make an effective sovereign.
Secondly, Hamlet lacks a clear sense of direction when executing his plans, another necessary component of an effective monarch. For instance, as Hamlet attempts to murder Claudius whilst Claudius prays, he states, “And am I then revenged, / To take him in the purging of his soul, / When he is fit and season’d for his passage? / No. / Up, sword, and know thou a more horrid hent.” (III.iii.71) It is essential to note that Hamlet’s father’s command was clear and simple: to “Revenge his most foul and most unnatural murder.” (I.v.23) No where does he state that Hamlet must make sure that Claudius ends up in hell or purgatory; he simply requests Hamlet to murder Claudius. Yet Hamlet is unable to follow his father’s clear command. Instead of simply murdering Claudius, Hamlet selfishly places his own wants in the execution process. In addition, the nuance of Hamlet stating that he must wait for another time to murder Claudius simply augments to his lack of clear sense of direction. There is no clear evidence that illustrates that Hamlet has set a definitive plan for the execution. All he is able to muster up are a number of vague schemes that simply entail that Hamlet will murder Claudius when he commits some act of evil. In contrast to Claudius’s elaborate plan of murdering Hamlet, Hamlet’s scheme is murky. And as it turns out, Hamlet is unable to murder Claudius until the end of the play, proving his lack of clear sense of direction. Lacking a clear sense of direction on an action point that was simply planned out for him, Hamlet would without question fail at executing his own individual plans with a clear sense of direction, let alone the hundreds of essential plans that are required for monarchs to execute when running a nation.
Lastly, Hamlet lacks the most significant element of an effective monarch; responsibility. For instance, in the moments before his sword fight with Laertes, Hamlet states, “Was’t Hamlet wrong’d Laertes? Never Hamlet. / If Hamlet from himself be ta’en away, / And when he’s not himself does wrong Laertes, / Then Hamlet does it not, Hamlet denies it. / Who does it then? His madness.” (V.ii.116) Hamlet, refusing to take responsibility for his