Essay on Hamlet's evolution of thought through Act III Scene i, Act V Scene i, Act V Scene ii.

Essay by banditboy1560College, UndergraduateA+, May 2006

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In Shakespeare's play "Hamlet", the character of Hamlet is seen in many situations with changing evolutions of thought. The conscience plays a very important part in Shakespeare's Hamlet and gives insight to actions and thought that take place within Act III scene I, which includes perhaps the most famous of all of Shakespeare's soliloquies, Act V scene I, regarding Yorick and the grave yard, and lastly Act V scene II, which involves Claudius's wager on Hamlet.

The conscience is used in the play Hamlet for many important reasons. It is used to bring justice and to reveal failures and shortcomings. The fact that humans even have a conscience proves that they are doing something wrong. By definition, a conscience is the sense of rightness assuming there's a wrong thing to do. The king is brought to justice by his conscience for doing the wrong thing. Hamlet says, "The play's the thing /Wherein I'll catch the conscience of the King" (II, ii).

There is no problem in finding Claudius's guilt, acting on this new found conviction, however, is tricky because Hamlet must justify killing him. His conscience is the battle between wills: God's and Hamlet's. This means Hamlet must consult his conscience before acting, and therein lays his genius. Most men, Claudius included, wait till sin until being accosted by conscience. He says after the mousetrap caught him, "My fault is past. But oh, what form of prayer/Can serve my turn? 'Forgive me my foul murder'?" (III, iii). So Shakespeare is describing here how humans must act, realizing we're all flawed. He is saying that the conscience is the key before acting as justly as possible.

Act III opens with Hamlet's soliloquy in which he metaphorically obsesses with a personal dilemma that ponders within his mind. The scene opens with the...