Role of Ethics in the Life of Hamlet in William Shakespeare’s Play ‘Hamlet’

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Sunita Soni


William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet is considered a revenge tragedy. The central character in William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet is ‘Hamlet’. In the play the Ghost of his father is seen by the Hamlet. Hamlet is not frightened but he is astonished to see his father’s ghost. Hamlet believes that all is not well. He doubts some foul play. The Ghost discloses the secret of his father’s murder. Hamlet came to know how his father was murdered by his uncle Claudius. Claudius had murdered his father by pouring poison into his ears while he was sleeping. Claudius had declared that king had died by the bite of a serpent. The Ghost urged Hamlet that he must avenge his father's murder. Then revenge became a sacred duty after the Ghost's revelation. It disturbs his peace of mind. Hamlet comes to know the real facts of his father's death. He is a sensitive and an idealistic young man. It is often said

that Hamlet is not a  man of action. He seems to have gone mad. The play depicts the mental suffering and torture which Hamlet endures.  It is often said that there are some defects in a tragic Hero's character that leads to the final disaster in the Shakespearean tragedy.  Hamlet resolves to avenge the murder of his father. He goes on waiting till it occurs to him that he should verify the truth of  what the ghost has told him. So he arranges a play within the play. he does not proceed to take his revenge until he has made sure that his uncle Claudius is guilty. He gets an excellent opportunity to murder his uncle but he spare him on the ground that the king is praying to God and if he killed him, at this point, he would go to heaven. This postponement of a his revenge, constitutes a serious flaw in his character. Actually it is not a flaw in his character it is due to the ethics of Hamlet. Some critics say that it was a weakness in his character.  But this is not true. Hamlet was a man of ethics. The ethics does not allow him to murder the enemy when he is saying his prayer. There was moral repulsion to the action. And Hamlet did the same. Hamlet wanted to verify the facts, this was also true. Hamlet was a man of ethics. He was the son of a great king of Denmark. He was not an ordinary person. Ethics played a significant role in the life of Hamlet although he had to suffer a tragic end.

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