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09/04/2019

How to answer essay question on Hamlet?

QUESTION
How to answer essay question on Hamlet?
The question is:

‘Choose a play [Hamlet] which features a character with significant flaws. Explain the nature of the character’s flaws and explain how they add to your understanding of the play’s central concerns.’

So obviously given that it’s Hamlet, the major flaw will be procrastination. But how does that add to the play’s central concern?

I’ve used the ‘to be or not to be’ quotation to show procrastination and then linked that with death?

I’m really not sure what other significant flaws Hamlet has or how they help my ‘understanding of the play’s central concerns’

Any help would be appreciated.

ANSWER
Procrastination is not Hamlet’s flaw – it’s his virtue.

Queen Elizabeth was also accused of procrastination – but her procrastination kept England out of several wars, setting the stage for future prosperity and greatness.

Hamlet’s procrastination averted a war with Norway, thereby saving the lives of thousands of his countrymen.

http://www.thyorisons.com/#Nutshell – Hamlet in a Nutshell

The title says it all: “The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark.” Because he is Prince of Denmark he is not free to carve for himself. He is subject to the voice of Denmark – and that voice was sent from Hell to speak of horrors.

Hamlet, like all the other major characters, is untrue to himself. When he is himself, he is like Horatio, a student from Wittenberg. But as he said, “Horatio, or I do forget myself.” He does forget himself. He erases himself and his humanist education (all saws of books, all forms, all pressures past, that youth and observation copied there) from his own brain and there in the book and volume of his brain he writes his father’s commandment (the voice of Denmark, sent from Hell to speak of horrors, to breathe contagion, unfolding the secrets of his prison-house that he was forbid to tell to mortal ears). Hamlet is from himself taken away.

When he is not “from himself taken away,” Hamlet is a rational humanist scholar from Wittenberg. But Hamlet erases that side of himself from the book and volume of his brain and replaces it with the commandment of his warlike father. Thereafter all of Hamlet’s soliloquies are really debates between the warring sides of his divided soul. Hamlet is a valiant soldier of the spirit, fighting a desperate internal battle to defend the sovereignty of his soul.

In the “my thoughts be bloody” soliloquy:

Hamlet the scholar says,
Sure, he that made us with such large discourse,
Looking before and after, gave us not
That capability and god-like reason
To fust in us unused.

But Prince Hamlet, the soldier-son of a warlike king scoffs at “thinking too precisely on the event” and concludes:
My thoughts be bloody, or be nothing worth!

A gravedigger was hired on the very day that Hamlet emerged from his mother’s womb, which was the same day his father put old Fortinbras into the womb of earth (his grave), thus acquiring land “that was and is the question of these wars” and which was Hamlet’s inheritance, figuratively a graveyard, not big enough to cover the dead from the impending war over that same land.

BERNARDO (Act 1, Scene 1, lines 121-124)
I think it be no other but e’en so:
Well may it sort that this portentous figure
Comes armed through our watch; so like the king
THAT was and IS THE QUESTION of these wars.

That is Hamlet’s dilemma – whether “TO BE OR NOT TO BE,” like the Ghost, “so like the king THAT was and IS THE QUESTION of these wars.”

In the end, Hamlet won that battle for the sovereignty of his soul (please see
http://www.thyorisons.com/#Chaste_Treasu… – Chaste Treasure in the Womb of Earth)

Then with his dying words he proved that he was not “so like the king THAT was and IS THE QUESTION of these wars.” Hamlet passed his inheritance of blood-soaked dirt and the voice of Denmark to Fortinbras – without a war, thus saving the lives of thousands of Hamlet’s countrymen.

I wrote an epitaph for Hamlet:

“To be or not to be so like the king,”
For Hamlet THAT was and is the question.
With Denmark’s dying voice Hamlet did bring
The final answer. “NO!” his answer soars
To the heavens, “now END all of these wars!”

For the explanation of that epitaph, based on lines from the play, please see
http://www.thyorisons.com/#Hamlets_Epita… – Epitaph for a Peacemaker