Is Hamlet A Coward Analysis

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Hamlet, one of the world’s most popular revenge tragedies, is a play written between 1599 and 1601 by renown playwright William Shakespeare. It tells a story of the royal family of Denmark plagued by corruption and schism. Prince Hamlet, the protagonist, embarks on a journey of incessant brooding and contemplation on whether to avenge his father’s death. In Hamlet’s soliloquy, at the end of Act 2, Scene 2, he asks himself, ‘Am I a coward?’ (II.ii.523) after failing to carry out revenge. Through the analysis of the soliloquy and the rest of the play, a reasonable conclusion can be made as to why Hamlet might consider himself a coward. The main reasons he might consider himself a coward are his inability to act and his excessive contemplation and …show more content…

However, in the eyes of a modern audience, Hamlet would not be considered a coward because of our deeper, more enlightened understanding of the underpinning reasons for his hesitation through our values and beliefs. Hamlet perceives himself as a coward for many reasons however after in-depth analysis, it is concluded that his self-accusation is incorrect. Hamlet considers himself a coward due to his hamartia; his constant scrutiny and contemplation of the idea of killing Claudius, his uncle causing him not to take action. In Act 2 Scene 2, Shakespeare uses a soliloquy to let the audience have an insight into what Hamlet is thinking, to create sympathy for him and to bring about the development of Anagnorisis within the play. After watching a player acting the role of Hecuba crying on stage while performing the story of Pyrrhus, he wonders at the player’s ability to weep for a fictional character and asks himself, ‘Am I coward?’ (II.ii.523). He considers the raw emotions the actors show for imagined torments of a fictional character and compares them with his own emotions towards his inner-conflict. He asks, ‘What is Hecuba to him or he to Hecuba?’ (II.ii.511) questioning

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