The human condition or the condition of a human being normally encompasses the situation of being human in correlation with one’s circumstances and emotions. The condition varies for each individual and the ‘state of being’ becomes complex with the intensity of the surrounding environment and actions. In other words, society, politics, and economics leave a prominent mark in the formation of a complex human being. With the escalation of the adjacent intricacies, the plight of a person attains gravity, sometimes making him/her question their sanity.
Shakespeare presents Hamlet as a highly complicated character to his audience. The protagonist is haunted by his dead father’s ghost who expects him to avenge the murderer, revenge his foul and most unnatural murder’ (1.5.24). The impact of young Hamlet’s mental reasoning on his actions is narrated through his inability to do away with Claudius even under favorable circumstances. His procrastination could be a consequence of his high moral and ethical integrity as the act of murder deviates from his principles (). The soliloquies are a part of his attempt to discern his moral predicament. The dispute between his individual perspective and the expected deed yields a complex human character of Hamlet.
The protagonist undergoes remarkable changes as the play proceeds. By Act 3 Scene 1, he finds himself caught in the underlying question of “to be or not to be, that is the question’ (3.1:57). This points to the dilemma of human mortality: whether to look forward and confront the struggles or to live in isolation, or take one’s own life. The “rotten” state of Denmark and his own anger, grief, and vengeance denies Hamlet of the worldly pleasures. The playwright with his figurative language depicts the noble act of Hamlet to challenge his condition than ending his life, “Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer / The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,/ Or take arms against a sea of troubles,/ And by opposing, end them. (III.iii.57-59). Shakespeare makes Hamlet use wit to unmask the barbaric act of Claudius, ‘ I’ll have these players /Play something like the murder of my father/ Before my uncle. I’ll observe his looks;/…The play’s the thing/ Wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the king” (2.2:595-606).
As in other Shakespearean characters, the destruction of Hamlet is brought about by his own tragic flaw. His incapability to assassinate Claudius during the initial opportunity paves the way for his internal dilemma. In the course of the play, this extremity imparts a greater power on his life’s subsequent occurrences. Through his mind, the trauma is conveyed to the rest of humanity (). The corruptive regime headed by Claudius promotes the depravity of positive transformation to Hamlet which further propels the darkness and despair inhabiting within him, “The time is out of joint. O cursed spite, That ever I was born to set it right“ (1.5.196-197).
The complexities of the human mind are portrayed through Hamlet’s internal state which is an amalgam of emotions, reasons, suspicion, and perspective towards himself. The inefficiency to take action is the manifestation of his instability and fickleness. This is intensified through his unfaithful surroundings which, in turn, give rise to a very complex inner self. The plot prompts the audience to render their own opinions on the elemental aspects of the human nature. Shakespeare’s character holds a universal appeal through his reasons, thoughts, and emotions which are a reflection of human possibilities and actions.