Forgiveness In Hamlet

Powerful Essays
Throughout centuries famous literature have been known to share common themes in order to teach a moral lesson to audiences across time. Two pieces of famous literature that showcase this well are William Shakespeare 's work The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark and August Wilson’s successful play Fences. Shakespeare’s play is set decades before Fences but the two still share similar themes, one of the most significant being the fruits of sin and forgiveness. In The Tragedy of Hamlet, Claudius murdered his brother, King Hamlet, in order to become king and marry the queen, Gertrude. In Fences, Troy Maxson commits adultery by cheating on his wife, Rose, and is left with a child to raise on his own after the pregnancy. In both plays large male…show more content…
In The Tragedy of Hamlet, Claudius shows this remorse when he claims, “Pray can I not. / Though inclination be as sharp as will, / My stronger guilt defeats my strong intent, / And, like a man to double business bound, / I stand in pause where I shall first begin, / And both neglect.” (III.iii.2375-2380). In this moment Claudius shows his feelings of remorse and regret for committing his sin. Having a sense of guilt is often tied into understanding that an action was wrong and is meant to keep someone from going through the same decision making process as before. This is an important step to asking for and receiving forgiveness in order for the person giving forgiveness to feel secure in their decision and restoring their trust. This again is something that Troy does not display in Fences. Throughout the months following months after Troy told Rose about the pregnancy he continues to make excuses like, “A man’s got to do what’s right for him. I ain’t sorry for nothing I done. It felt right in my heart” (Wilson 79). Statements like these show that Troy did not have remorse for his actions and in fact felt that they were justified by his feelings. Without feeling that he never did anything wrong, because what he did was right for himself, Rose is put in a difficult place. Without Troy feeling remorse there is no biological…show more content…
In the play Fences, Troy comes forward to Rose about his affair, although it is a little to late. After Troy speaks to his friend Bono he comes clean to Rose and tells her, “I’m gonna be a daddy. I’m gonna be somebody’s daddy” (Wilson 66). Although Troy does not display a lot of characteristics of an apology deserving man, he does admit his fault to Rose and remains open with her from that point forward. This is another quality that is very necessary in order to receive forgiveness because without openly admitting to those who were harmed by the situation the sinner continues to live in secrecy. Claudius on the other hand, chooses to not apologise to his wife, Gertrude, or nephew, Hamlet, instead he confesses his sin by praying in act III scene iii. By not admitting to his sin to either his wife or nephew Claudius did not allow for the opportunity for any harms to be repaired. This speaks to his cowardly character and his inability to take full responsibility for his actions. Because he never came forward to either Gertrude or Hamlet he was never able to be forgiven and ultimately died before any amends could be
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