Self-Preservation In Dostoyevsky's Hamlet

1698 Words7 Pages

“The instinct of self-preservation and the urge to self-destruction are equally strong in man.” (Fyodor Dostoyevsky, 1) The words of Dostoyevsky discuss the juxtaposition between self-preservation and self-destruction, two opposing forces. As with any animals, humans have an intense desire to survive, achieve and succeed; in some cases, individuals will put these desires above all moral judgement. Shakespeare’s writing mirrors many elements of the basic human experience; his play Hamlet accurately depicts the theme of self-preservation. It is evident in the play that multiple characters pursue self-interest at the cost of others as well as themselves. The desire for self-preservation is most clearly illustrated through the character of Claudius; he shows the most need for self-preservation by letting his desire for power overcome his judgement. Vaulting ambition sometimes leads people to commit heinous deeds against human nature.

Claudius demonstrates a deep desire for self-preservation right from the beginning of the play based on the fact that he was able to kill his own brother to achieve all his life goals. Claudius’ desire for power is his main …show more content…

There are multiple incidents throughout the play in which Claudius’ selfishness and self-preserving nature is reflected; however, the most apparent ones are the multiple attempts to murder his nephew, Hamlet. If Claudius had been less concerned with gaining power in Denmark, he would not have been motivated to kill his brother and could have pursued an increase in personal power through more morally correct actions. Claudius’ instinct for self-preservation was so strong that it led to his self-destruction. In the Elizabethan view and also the modern day view, the audience would be outraged if such a character like Claudius would be allowed to live considering all of the destructive outcomes he caused throughout the

More about Self-Preservation In Dostoyevsky's Hamlet

Open Document