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"To be or not to be..."

"A difficult or even impossible choice--a dilemma--is a natural conflict for an individual person....Conflict Is Directly Related to Doubt, Tension, and Interest."
~Writing About Literature by Roberts, page 94

As cliche as this has become, I think Hamlet's "To be or not to be" speech is on of the best examples of this in the play. This speech is entirely about Hamlet's inner turmoil about whether to go through with the revenge or not--for we discussed in class that Hamlet knew going through with the revenge would result in death, and also that he was not one to act without thinking. At this point, he is simply putting voice to the conflict that has been there since he first learned the truth from his father's ghost. His true decision is not made until he kills Claudius in the final scene.

This conflict definitely helps to "determine the plot" (Roberts 94). If Hamlet didn't have this conflict, he would have either dismissed the idea of revenge immediately or killed Claudius immediately. Both of these ideas would create alternate plot lines. The first idea would eliminate the entire story. The second idea probably would have resulted in a story about Hamlet covering his tracks. This inner conflict that Hamlet has is what allows the play to revolve around Hamlet avenging his father.


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I did not expect to have reveleations about the novels we read for class. But through writing my thoughts on just one quote and commenting on others' blogs. I managed to have several epiphanies. Two in particular, one on Hamlet's... [Read More]

Comments (2)

Diana Geleskie:

Oh, plot. The possible plotlines of Hamlet are so intriguing.

If the plot of Hamlet didn't include this dilemma I think the main thing it would have affected would have been the portrayal of Hamlet's character as opposed to the main action of the play.

Yes,he knew the revenge would result in death!You could argue then that he was committing suicide, but then again, isn't suicide killing yourself to end your pain. Isn't it sort of a coward's way out? Hamlet will be correcting an injustice, which is in no way cowardly. It is a very noble thing.

Hamlet knowing he will face death in order to right a wrong reminds me of another literary character who does something simiilar: In The Deathly Hollows, Harry Potter knows he is going to die, but he also knows that he will be doing what is right. Did anyone call Harry suicidal?

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on September 19, 2007 11:45 AM.

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