Hamlet personal choice or inescapable destiny essay

Bradley, an English literary critic, published Shakespearean Tragedy. That is, he states that all Shakespearean tragedies involve a character whose actions and deeds ultimately lead to a catastrophe, being their death. The appearance of King Hamlet, in the form of a Ghost, began the obsession Hamlet struggles with.

Hamlet personal choice or inescapable destiny essay

Frequently coupled with Christian connotations, these concepts feature prominently in such diverse works as The Merchant of VeniceRomeo and JulietAntony and CleopatraKing Learand many others. In some cases, Shakespeare borrowed his concepts of fate and fortune from the antique writings of Plutarch, Seneca, and Ptolemy, in which pre-Christian cosmological ideas decree the power of the stars to dictate the fates of mortals.

Later interpretations of fortune also appear in Shakespeare's plays, including notions associated with medieval morality and Renaissance iconography.

In the medieval view, belief in fortune, especially in the sense of pursuing worldly wealth, suggested the forfeiture of redemption in exchange for the capricious and fleeting rewards of material existence.

In the Renaissance, this concept was often found in emblematic imagery, which typically depicted the pagan goddess Fortune allegorically as a harlot.

Other iconic representations of Fortune showed her as a beguiling woman presiding over a spinning circle or wheel on which one's fortunes would rise and fall in conjunction with the unpredictable forces of chance, accident, and occasion.

The concepts of fate and fortune have also been interpreted as one's inexorable destiny, quite simply as the end result of divine providence, or more problematically in the context of human free will.

In Shakespearean drama, the mysterious forces of fate and fortune are given broad play. Whether in regard to comedy, tragedy, or history, scholars discern Shakespeare's characteristically paradoxical engagement with and dramatization of these powerful abstractions.

Critics suggest that Shakespeare's depiction of fortune in the comedies relies in large part on medieval and Renaissance perceptions of this obscure force.

Fortune is generally a deceiver in the comic plays, set to test the virtue of those seeking favor or gain, and stands in contrast with the providential designs of God.

Hamlet personal choice or inescapable destiny essay

Focusing his analysis on Twelfth NightB. He argues that fortune—or more specifically an individual's ability to endure the calamities of fortune—informs a continuum of moral worth in the play. With her equanimity and stoicism in the face of harsh fortunes, Viola sets the standard. She makes no effort to change or deny that which she knows to be inevitable.

To a lesser degree Olivia also remains resigned to her fate, particularly her unrequited love for Cesario. Sebastian, in contrast, at first curses his ill luck, but later yields to grace and accepts that faith in God will guide his fortunes favorably.

Lastly, Malvolio pretends to be stoical in the face of fortune, assuming it will inevitably and deservedly work in his favor. He believes that good luck is precisely what he deserves and will get, but when fortune treats him unfavorably, he vows revenge.

Perhaps more than any other Shakespearean comedy The Merchant of Venice relies on the vicissitudes of fortune to drive its plot. In the hazardous mercantile world of the play, the search for ever greater financial rewards invites increased risks and reversals far beyond the control of mortals.

In his study of the drama, Raymond B.

"Hamlet" - Personal Choice or Inescapable Destiny. | Proposal Essay Topics

Waddington examines how a trio of inscrutable forces—fortune, justice, and Cupid—dictate the fates of the characters. In Waddington's view, the play suggests that one should deny the pursuit of fortune in favor of a Christian acceptance of providence.

Thus, in the play's lottery scene, as caskets are chosen in order to win the hand of Portia, Shakespeare draws a line between those who believe in good fortune as the recompense of merit, and those who, like Bassanio, rely on faith in God to determine their reward.

According to Waddington's scheme, generosity, mercy, and above all faith invite justice; similarly, sacrifice and trust in providence define true love—like that of Portia and Bassanio—while belief in the randomness of Cupid's blind arrows merely breeds base physical attraction.

Kozikowski discusses the lottery for Portia as an allegorical interlude concerned with love and fortune. Kozikowski argues that Shakespeare first presents Portia as a conventional personification of Fortune, ambivalent toward those who desire her.

She dupes and deceives the men who would wed her for false reasons, such as advancement, wealth, or pleasure. By making her suitors choose between a gold, silver, or lead casket she exposes Morocco's pride and Aragon's drive for wealth.


However Bassanio, whose feelings for Portia are real, selflessly chooses love over fortune and succeeds in his suit through virtue.

The status of fate and fortune as determining factors in Shakespearean tragedy has drawn the attention of numerous scholars eager to understand the patterns of tragic causality in such works as MacbethHamletKing Lear, Romeo and Juliet, and Timon of Athens.

Behind the bleak, near nihilistic worldview depicted in these dramas, critics have discerned a carefully crafted balance among destiny, chance, choice, and providential will. Surveying the interaction of fortune and occasion in Shakespearean tragedy, Frederick Kiefer focuses on three tragic Shakespearean figures: He notes that Richard II's medieval notions of fate make him the victim of inescapable fortune, while his antagonist, Henry Bolingbroke, forcefully determines his own future.

William Shakespeare

Brutus, like Bolingbroke, relies on his sense of occasion and opportunity, but ultimately fails in his efforts to mold the world because he lacks the ability to effectively adapt to change.

In a final example, Hamlet, who like Richard II holds a conventional view of fortune at the opening of the play, experiences a major shift in sensibility, allowing him to sublimate his personal feelings of victimization into a resolute faith in divine will."Hamlet" - Personal Choice or Inescapable Destiny.

Essay by Merunka, College, Undergraduate, A, October download word file, 4 pages download word file, 4 pages 3 votes5/5(3). HAMLET ESSAY Question- To what extent has your personal response to Hamlet been shaped by the enduring power of Shakespeare's characterization of Hamlet.

Shakespeare's revenge tragedy Hamlet of the Renaissance period is an exemplification of human impotence, exploring how one's conscience is constrained through deceit, . Get free homework help on William Shakespeare's Hamlet: play summary, scene summary and analysis and original text, quotes, essays, character analysis, and filmography courtesy of CliffsNotes.

William Shakespeare's Hamlet follows the young prince Hamlet home to Denmark to attend his father's funeral. "Hamlet" - Personal Choice or Inescapable Destiny. Essay by Merunka, College, Undergraduate, A, October download word file, 4 pages download word file, 4 pages 3 votes5/5(3).

themselves, rich in strange symbols and beckoning with great images, but the choice went to Hamlet because he led the mind on a truly inductive quest through a familiar landscape - and one which has the merit of its literary setting. Behind the bleak, near nihilistic worldview depicted in these dramas, critics have discerned a carefully crafted balance among destiny, chance, choice, and providential will.

Hamlet’s Character as His Destiny? - Sample Essays