In the play, Hamlet, by William Shakespeare, the character of Hamlet is dealing with both external and internal conflicts. He is faced with the death of his father, his discovery that his Uncle Claudius murdered his father, and the internal struggle of how to take revenge. Hamlet is dealing with these internal and external conflicts, which not only drive the plot of the play, but also shape its main character into a relatable person filled with the agonies of life.
Shakespeare presents a drama that takes place inside the mind of our protagonist. War is being fought within Hamlet himself. His constant thoughts of having to avenge his father’s death, that “Foul and most unnatural murder” troubles him greatly (I.V.26). Seeking revenge on Claudius and fighting his inner conscience and controlling his emotions, affects all the characters in the play. Hamlet knows that if he kills Claudius, then his nobility and popularity will be vitiated. If Hamlet does not kill Claudius, and Hamlet’s internal conflict will be branded as a coward.’The Time is out of joint; O cursed spite that ever I was born to set it right’ (I.v. 193-194). Hamlet becomes overwhelmed with despair to avenge his father.
Hamlet constantly argues his conscious, confusion and agony. Instead of talking to someone about his problems, he bottles them; Feeling to take action on Claudius who committed his father’s murder, needs reassurance. Hamlet throws on a play, knowing how knowledgeable he is, he feels the need to see Claudius’s reaction. This play reflects the murder of Hamlet’s father, this is the indecisiveness that’s proved when Hamlet speaks; “To be or not to be – that is the question: Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles and, by opposing, end them” (III.i. 285). This quote proves inner conflict. This shows how being indecisive causes him to spend a while thinking about his actions. It is during this soliloquy that Hamlet is contemplating on taking his life, he is led to questions of his existence, Leading him to create more conflicts within himself, on behalf of what he has done to create the problems occuring within the play. This conflict begins to consume him. This characteristic is at fault, he is being subconsciously aware of frustration and the outcome of his downfall.
The feeling of uncertainty stem from conflict and experiences affects Hamlet’s anger and the loss of his father and the fact of his mother remarrying soon after, “the food was cold.” Her fast remarriage has Hamlet feeling betrayed. All feelings begin to consume him. Not only are Hamlet’s feelings betrayed but as well as his mother’s. Gertrude’s weakness and her vulnerability appear in her character. Gertrude does show love to her son, even though miscommunication occurs at times. Illusion and reality play a significant role when Hamlet has to tell the difference between an illusion or physical aspect. Hamlet’s sanity is brought to question over him seeing his father’s ghost in Gertrude’s bedroom. She responds with, “Alas, how is’t with you That you do bend your eye on vacancy And with that corporal air do you hold discourse” (III.iv.120-122). This is to be believed that Hamlet is faced with his internal conflict. Gertrude then embodies with an ugly response of her betrayal. “O shame, where is thy blush? Rebellious hell, If thou canst mutine in a matron’s bones, to flaming youth let virtue be as wax and melt in her own fire” (III. iv. 82-86).
As Shakespeare wants to give the audience a show, he uses Ophelia. From all these events happening in Hamlet’s life, he begins to no longer feel love, nor give love. Coming a tremendous journey playing insane, we see in Hamlet how badly he treats Ophelia. Ophelia symbolizes the motif of love and tragedy. She loses Hamlet and undergoes the internal conflict of unjust. “Tis brief, my lord.’ Hamlet: ‘As a woman’s love’ (III.iv). This causes Ophelia to panic and worry. After losing her father she questions worth living and that the men she loves will soon be dead. Downfall arrives and then questioning and sanity play with Ophelia as she is brought to her taking her own life . This is rejection, and the aspects of Shakespeare manges to explore self doubt. The emotional breakthrough of Ophelia’s death causes Hamlet to lose more mentality more than ever, the idea of losing someone you love devastates him and proceeds to continue his revenge. This revolves around the fact that Hamlet is dealing with external conflict.
Intense emotion is driven by external conflicts between Claudius and Hamlet. There is a mission driven within Hamlet, and that would be revenge. We see Claudius has anger and anxiety about being revealed to the public. Claudius’s greedy nature are eating itself away, like an infected wound eating away at the flesh and bone. Jealousy plays a huge role in Claudius, it is articulated through his actions as killing King Hamlet. Claudius expresses himself through praying for forgiveness from the lord for the murder he committed. This does not stop him from upholding his position as king of Denmark. The divergence arises when Hamlet learns of how his father was murdered. The ideas of reality, jealousy, lies, and deceit. “Murder most foul, as in the best it is” (I.iv.).
Laerte’s fatal duel with Hamlet shows an external conflict when Laertes slyly tries to kill Hamlet with a master plan. Ironically Hamlet strikes first and second killing Laertes, Laertes then confesses Claudius’s guilt for his mother’s death and Hamlet kills Claudius.
In the playwritght, the reader being able to comprehend the nature of all the character’s conflicts both internally and externally. Exploring ideas is used through conflict in Shakespeare’s playwright. Whether it be Hamlet taking his own life, or taking another’s, the difficulty associated with the outcome of lies and deceit bring tragedy. Shakespeare’s aim to the readers the complexity of humans and moral decisions are not easily made throughout the play.