Hamlet's Search for Identity

An individual's search for identity is determined by fundamental values which enables them to search for meaning, purpose and self-actualisation. Shakespeare's revenge tragedy “Hamlet” conveys complex identity crises which are characterised by competing desires, pressures and alliances. Hamlet experiences a constant struggle to find meaning for his existence amidst the instability of the Danish Kingdom. He is torn between his legal alliance and obligation to his family, particularly his father, his deeply rooted Christian values which defines his morality and his providential duties as the Prince of Denmark to restore natural order. Shakespeare's fabrication of Hamlet's identity struggle is a representation of Shakespeare's England and the flawed value system it possessed. This fundamentally conveys the shifting paradigms from the ruthless and barbaric Medieval values to the Renaissance golden age of peace and prosperity. Hamlet struggles to distinguish between these values as they will subsequently define his actions and overall revenge. Nevertheless, Hamlet's conflicting Renaissance and Medieval values to his sense of duty will fundamentally become intertwined as both past and present values are important to him.

Hamlet's identity crisis is fuelled by a world of conflicting values which defines him as a man with many underlying principles. Hamlet's existential search for identity is the main purpose within the play as it fundamentally dictates his actions. Through the representation of Hamlet, Shakespeare   conveys his perception on the uncertainty of religion within humanity. However, Christianity particularly during the Elizabethan Period, was important as it determined one's beliefs, morals and reign. Hamlet's values as a Christian are challenged with the murdering of his father and hence his morality is questioned as the Great Chain of Being must be restored within Denmark. Hence, it is Hamlet's duty as a son and Prince to restore this balance. This is...
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