The Importance Of Nobility In Hamlet

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Nobility is a trait that many men seem to desire. It is not necessarily genetic nor can one purchase it like other traits, such as clothing, but rather earns or demonstrates nobility. What makes one noble is not easily determined, despite being the desire of many individuals. Whether it is nobler, more honorable, and more admirable to live on one’s knees or to die on one’s feet has been a source of debate for centuries. In his tragic play Hamlet, William Shakespeare proves that it is nobler for one to die for what he believes in than to live in inaction. Laertes was noble because he died for his cause, avenging his father’s death and defending his father’s honor, but he would not have been had he not sought revenge. Towards the end of the play, Laertes returns from France upon hearing that his father died, but he misses the funeral because of its haste. Furious, Laertes leads a mob into the Castle, Elsinore and, upon finding King Claudius, questions “How came he dead? I’ll not be juggled with” before proclaiming “Let come…show more content…
Even the dying Hamlet says to Horatio “But I do prophesy the election lights/ On Fortinbras, He has my dying voice” towards the end of the play (Shakespeare, V, ii, 353-354). Hamlet is correct in thinking that Fortinbras would become King and the argument that Hamlet thought this way was due to Fortinbras being noble is certainly understandable. Upon watching Fortinbras march to Poland to fight, over land Hamlet sees as worthless, Hamlet remarks upon what greatness is. But it is not the fact that Fortinbras lives that, according to Hamlet’s definition, makes him great, but being able to “greatly find quarrel in a straw/ When honor’s at the stake” (Shakespeare, IV, iv, 47-56). Fortinbras, according to Hamlet, and by proxy Shakespeare, was great because he was willing to die over the abstract idea of honor than the control of useful and fertile

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