Dichotomy In Hamlet's Self

1648 Words7 Pages
The Interior and Exterior Self: One Does Not Equal the Other In Hamlet, the court, like all others, is established as a place where people put on false personas in order to appear more likable to whomever they’re interacting with. It’s rare that anyone in that situation would display what they truly think of a person or a situation – for Hamlet, Polonius is the best example of this concept. Hamlet, from the opening of the play, is focused on this dichotomy of falsehood and truth. When the play is observed only from Hamlet’s perspective, it seems as though he is alone in his ability to discern the truth of a situation. Why does no one else still mourn his father? Why does no one else see how evil his mother and uncle are? Why does no one else…show more content…
When Hamlet first encounters it, he doesn’t require much confirmation that the ghost is who it says it is. The ghost tells him that his uncle killed his father and Hamlet believes it, not expressing any disbelief; in fact, he calls it “an honest ghost” without doing anything to investigate if what the ghost said was true or not (1.5, 137). The reason Hamlet trusts the ghost in this way? He and others have always perceived his father as a good man. For Hamlet, this would mean that, because the ghost resembled him, Hamlet trusts him. He even acknowledges that “one may smile...and be a villain” but he does not even begin to consider that the statement could apply to the ghost before him (1.5, 109). In fact, he simply uses what the ghost has told him in order to strengthen his belief in the villainy of his uncle. It doesn’t occur to Hamlet, despite his friends’ various warnings, that the ghost could potentially not be his father. It doesn’t matter to him that, once alone with it, the ghost could “assume some other horrible form,/which might deprive [his] sovereignty of reason” (1.4, 72-3). Hamlet wants to see his father and so he sees him. This, more than his opinion on his mother or uncle, solidifies Hamlet’s tendency to never adjust his opinion of someone. In some cases, he supports this by claiming to know the truth of a situation, but in many cases he feels this way without any proof. Even prior to the ghost’s appearance, he doesn’t like his mother or uncle. Because the ghost told him what he wanted to hear, Hamlet trusts him, and it certainly helped that the ghost resembled his
Open Document