In action is important in being honorable because

In the play Hamlet by William Shakespeare, the main character Hamlet is angry at his mother and the new king Claudius for marrying so soon after his father’s death. His father was the king before Claudius, and one night his father’s spirit tells Hamlet to get revenge for his death, claiming to have been killed by his uncle Claudius. Throughout the rest of the play, Hamlet slowly seeks to avenge his father’s death. In essence, Hamlet acts dishonorably based on his thoughts and actions throughout the play. He acts dishonorably through his relationship to Ophelia and how he acts towards her. His killing of Polonius is also dishonorable because of the lack of thought he put into it, and because he felt no remorse. His preoccupation with his mother’s sexuality also proves him to be dishonorable as it distracted him from his main purpose, which was to avenge his father. Lastly, his actions in the final scene are dishonorable because he kills Claudius for the wrong reason and many more people died than necessary. In the play, Hamlet implies honor is defined as the balance between thought and action, and as sacrificing for others. He struggles with this throughout the play, as in some situations he thinks too much and in others, he acts too quickly. Hamlet describes it this way as he says thought and reason are what separates us from beasts, “A beast, no more. /Sure he that made us with such large discourse,/ Looking before and after, gave us not /That capability and godlike reason /To fust in us unused”(4.4.35-39). This conveys how Hamlet believes that the only thing that separates us from beasts is our “godlike reason” which is our ability to think and make decisions. The balance between thought and action is important in being honorable because if you think too much, you do not act, and if you act too quickly, you make mistakes. Hamlet also implies honor includes sacrifice for others as he sacrifices a great deal in order to avenge his father’s death, which he considers to be honorable. Overall, Hamlet does not follow his definition of honor. Hamlet acts dishonorably towards Ophelia through his relationship with her and her death. Hamlet acts dishonorably towards Ophelia when he is lured into Polonius’ and Claudius’ trap. After telling Ophelia he never loved her, he states “Get thee to a nunnery. Why wouldst thou be a breeder of sinners?”(3.1.121-122). Hamlet tells her to go to a “nunnery” or a convent where she would be unable to marry, have children, or interact with men. He tells her this as he is still angry at his mother for marrying so soon, and he is angry at women in general because of it. This makes him dishonorable because he is taking his anger out on Ophelia and not thinking before he acts. His dishonorable actions indirectly cause Ophelia’s death. After Hamlet rashly kills Polonius, Ophelia loses everything as her father is dead, her brother is in France, and she is no longer in a relationship with Hamlet. After she loses everything, she goes insane from the confusion and grief, and commits suicide by drowning herself, which could have been avoided if Hamlet had acted honorably. Overall, Ophelia was an innocent death and she could have lived if Hamlet had acted honorably towards her and others. Hamlet’s killing of Polonius is one way he acts dishonorably. Hamlet kills Polonius without thought, as right when he heard someone behind the curtain, he stabbed through it without looking, thinking it was Claudius. This lack of thought connects him to a beast, as he stated that man was separated from beast by reason. A beast always acts dishonorably as it lacks the reason that humans do have. Hamlet did not show any reason when he stabbed through the curtain without thinking. After killing Polonius, Hamlet feels no remorse as he thinks Polonius deserved it. After killing Polonius, Hamlet states to him, “Thou wretched, rash, intruding fool, farewell! /I took thee for thy better. Take thy fortune. /Thou find’st to be too busy is some danger”(3.4.33-35). This conveys how Hamlet mistook him for the king and that he deserved it for being nosy. Hamlet thought he was doing something honorable by killing the king, but because he acted so quickly and without reason, this action is dishonorable. He could have easily checked behind the curtain before blindly stabbing through it. Hamlet thought Polonius deserved it for being so nosy, as he frequently spied on Hamlet and his own children, just like he had done earlier with Hamlet and Ophelia, but that does not justify killing him. Any honorable person would not justify killing someone because they are nosy, as any honorable person values human life. Hamlet’s rash killing of Polonius conveys how dishonorable he is. Hamlet’s preoccupation with his mother’s sexuality further proves that he is dishonorable. Since the beginning of the play when Hamlet was angry at his mother for marrying another man only a month after her most recent husband passed away, he was preoccupied with her sexuality. He was distraught thinking that she was now with this man that he thought as lesser. Hamlet tells her multiple times how he feels about her marriage to Claudius, and she even acknowledges it herself when she states “I doubt it is no other but the main, /His father’s death and our o’erhasty marriage”(2.2.56-57). This conveys how she understands that she remarried quickly and that it could be a reason why Hamlet is acting strangely. After Hamlet kills Polonius he states to his mother that she made a terrible choice marrying Claudius because of how much worse he is than her old husband. He later describes the severity of her mistake as, “Eyes without feeling, feeling without sight /Ears without hands or eyes, smelling sans all /Or but a sickly part of one true sense /Could not so mope”(3.4.78-81). This conveys that Hamlet believes even with weakened senses no one would make this mistake. Him lecturing her about her sexuality after killing Polonius proves how fixated he was on it. He could not let go of her marrying Claudius, and it has distracted him from achieving his goal of killing Claudius, as that is all he can think about. As his fixation on his mother’s sexuality is stopping him from being honorable and avenging his father’s death, it proves that Hamlet is dishonorable. The final scene conveys that Hamlet is dishonorable because he ends up killing Claudius for the wrong reason, and many more people die than necessary. In the end, Hamlet ends up killing Claudius stating “Follow my mother”(5.2.310) after she dies from drinking the poison Claudius had brought out. This conveys that Hamlet kills Claudius to avenge his mother rather than his father, therefore he failed to do what he set out to do since the beginning of the play. He could have mentioned the death of his father before he killed Claudius, but he failed to, which conveys that he was only thinking of his mother when he performed the fatal act. This proves his dishonor as he failed to do the one thing that would have proved his honor over all of his other mistakes such as killing Polonius. His dishonor is further proved by the fact that many more people died than necessary. In the end, if he would have acted more quickly and killed Claudius, his death, along with the death of his mother, Laertes, and possibly Ophelia and Polonius could have been avoided. If Hamlet would have acted honorably and avenged his father’s death sooner, many of those deaths could have been avoided. He did consider killing Claudius early as he stood behind him while he was praying, but Hamlet thought to himself “Now might I do it pat, now is a-praying, /And now I’ll do’t. And so goes to heaven, /And so am I revenged”(3.3.73-75). Claudius was praying, and because of that Hamlet did not want to kill him and send him to heaven. However, sending him to heaven may have been better than having multiple more people die, including himself. This lack of action by Hamlet further proves his dishonor.Overall, Shakespeare portrays mankind generally as having honorable intentions, but not honorably executing them. Hamlet stands as a primary example as he had a noble intention of avenging his father’s death, but through his slow action and inner conflict, his actions became dishonorable.


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