Shakespeare's Philosophical Views As Interpreted Through The Character Of Hamlet

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  • Publicado : 2 de febrero de 2013
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In Shakespeare’s Hamlet .Prince of Denmark, one can clearly observe philosophical ideas of the period expressedthrough the main character, Hamlet.
The fact is, that Hamlet continuously reflects on the nature of human beings ,and in these reflections we find the ideas of writers and philosophers of the time ,such as, Picco della Mirandola and Montaigne. For example , when Hamlet says “What a piece of work is man! How noble in reason …The beauty of the world the paragon of animals”, though he isobviously being ironic, he is expressing Mirandola’s ideas about the superiority of human beings over other creatures so popular in that century. This optimistic view about human beings is used with ironysince Hamlet’s bleak view of life, which can be seen in his repetitive reference to the sinful nature of humankind , coincides more with Montaigne’s more negative views on humanity.
However, Shakespearegoes even further, Montaigne’s ideas are sometimes transformed in Hamlet’s mind. For example, Montaigne’s magnificient description of the universe is contrasted with the pettiness of human beings.For Hamlet, such “goodly frame”( referring to the universe) is nothing but “a foul and pestilent congregation of vapours. What he has discovered- his father’s murder and his mother’s sexual alliancewith the murderer is what has , comprehensively enough, made him see the world as ‘contageous’ and ‘contaminated’ even more taking into account that it is ruled by the ‘canker of our nature’- the newKing his uncle Claudius.
On the other hand, Picco della Mirandola’s view of humans having both divine and earthly qualities and that their actions could turn them into gods or beasts , can also be seenin the play. Hamlet’s description of his father and his uncle exemplify the two different views , while he describes his father as a god who ruled an orderly world , he depicts his uncle- the...