An individual’s response to conditions of internal and external conflict is effectively explored throughout drama. In Hamlet, Shakespeare delves into the themes of appearance versus reality, lies versus deceit, rejection versus self doubt and tragedy, and In which doing so, challenges the state of humanity In the Elizabethan society.
In order to explore these themes, however, he uses several forms of conflict to emphasis his opinions and expand his Ideas relating to the themes of the play. Internal conflict as well as external conflict in Hamlet is made evident through a succession of dire events which can attack and destroy someone. However perhaps the most captivating form of conflict Shakespeare uses to expand and explore the ideas presented within the text is the conflict between self and the universe.
This is evident in Act 1 Scene 2, where Hamlet’s first soliloquy emphasizes his personal struggles, anxieties, thoughts and fears and the confrontation he has with his mother, Gertrude, in which she mentions that Hamlet’s grief towards his father’s death is ‘ common’, in which he ends up angry at his mother Illustrating his unstable and unbalanced mind. Before being alone and revealing his Inner thoughts and problems, the scene In which Gertrude, Claudia and Hamlet are In the court, In my opinion Is the beginning of Hamlet’s ‘ madness’ and personal struggles.
Grieving his father’s death, we as an audience see Hamlet as a very depressive and confused person who is in extreme grief who physically and mentally feels withdrawn, angry and uncertain. As quoted by Gertrude: “ If it be, Why seems it so particular with thee? “, the word ‘ seems’ triggers Hamlet’s anger and once again shows the strong internal tension and conflict inside of him. He then replies: “ Seems madam?
Nay it is, I know not seems. ‘ Its not alone my inky cloak, good mother, Nor customary suits of solemn black, Nor windy suppuration of forced breath, No, nor the fruitful river In the eye, Nor the dejected heavier of the visage,” Hamlet’s reaction to Gertrude saying that he Is acting/pretending to be grieving Is that he tells her that his actions are honest and he Is not pretending to grieve, and truly Is saddened by his father’s death.
The use of repetition of “ Nor” therefore helps reflect Hamlet’s thoughts in that he is saying why should you accuse me of pretending to grieve for my dead father after I have felt so close to him. As an audience, the costuming that Shakespeare has used el the black clothing that Hamlet is wearing and the stage position Hamlet is in strongly admits that he is in extreme grief and to some extent shows that this incident is leading to Hamlet’s ‘ madness’ therefore it is an effective way communicating with the audience.
After tolerating the scene with Gertrude and Claudia and being told that he would not be going back to Wattenberg to continue his studies, Hamlet is left alone In which it Is the place where he reveals his true thoughts, struggles and fears for the first mime In the form of a soliloquy. Here he first ponders the thought of seclude or ‘ self- slaughter’ as he sees his life has no value to It, nothing Is worth living and Just wants to disappear. “ O God, God. Owe weary, stale, flat and unprofitable seem to me all the view of the world. This is also evidence that illustrates Hamlet’s disillusionment at what he sees as his whole world has now changed. “ O God, God” and later on “ visit her face too roughly- heaven and earth” are examples of biblical allusions Shakespeare has used to represent Just how strong a Christian context Hamlet was n, which as an audience, both present day and Elizabethan, we knew if one ‘ self- slaughtered’, they would be damned for all time and go to hell.
To draw the audience in, Shakespeare has positioned Hamlet in two minds, whether to take revenge on his father’s death or go towards suicide, especially in a Christian context; therefore the audience is now two minds thinking what action Hamlet will take, making this scene an effective concept. Later in the soliloquy, we once again see Hamlet’s unclear and clouded mind and thoughts, in which he uses comparison whilst using allusion between his father and Claudia. So excellent a king, that was to this Hyperfine to a satyr, so loving to my mother that he might not better the winds of heaven… Supports his view of his father and later on shows his disgust for Claudia. He sees his father, Old Hamlet as a God and Claudia as a beast, but the problem is with the challenges and issues externally and internally he has to deal with, he does not understand the difference between the vast differences between the two men, therefore creating more issues amongst his mind and conscience. To reflect his earlier confrontation with his mother, Gertrude, Hamlet then releases is thoughts and feelings not only towards her, but to all women in general. “ Frailty, thy name is woman…
O God, a beast that wants discourse of reason would have mourned longer- married with my uncle” is a very strong reflection from Hamlet in which in my opinion, we see Hamlet’s character starting to develop and change with time. From an audience’s perspective, we see great disgust aimed towards Gertrude, in which Hamlet brands all women as frail, weak and betraying. He also to some extent compares her to a beast, in which he proclaims that even a beast would have earned and grieved longer than Gertrude, emphasizing his disgust at the time and speed she married Claudia as though she was always destined for him.
Internally we now see Hamlet at a cross-road, which adds to the drama and struggles Hamlet has. Before his father’s death, he relied and trusted both his parents. But now as he cannot rely on anyone, he turns to his best friend Horopito for guidance and assistance. “ Why she, even she” shows Hamlet’s disappointment in Gertrude and now feels truly betrayed and has no one to rely on. Shakespeare has deliberately positioned Hamlet, whilst using tone and language features to persuade the audience to take Hamlet’s side.
As an audience in Elizabethan times and now, Shakespeare challenges us to form our own view on Gertrude and Claudia, in which we begin dislike Claudia for what he has said and done to Hamlet. The language Shakespeare has used towards the end of the soliloquy has also effectively positioned the audience to show empathy towards Hamlet and now understand what fears and tensions Hamlet has. Circumstances he is under. “ But break, my heart, for I must hold my tongue” is Just an example in which in his position, as a prince, he is not allowed to say a thing, otherwise there will be trouble.
In turn, this then adds to the internal struggles and conflict inside of Hamlet, which will build up the tension inside of him and creates a strong sense of frustration and incapability of action (can’t speak) to combat this corruption in both himself and Denmark. In conclusion, Shakespeare effectively conveys the understanding of internal conflict and struggles Hamlet deals with in Act 1 . Through costuming, positioning and language features, Shakespeare enables the audience to be drawn into the play, and effectively be part of it.