A Broken Man’s View on Man

Hamlet’s father’s death and the circumstances surrounding it have caused Hamlet to lose his belief in people. After ghost Hamlet tells the prince that Claudius murdered his father, Hamlet is noticeably darker and has a different perception on life and mankind. He muses about his own species, “What a piece of work is a man, how noble in reason, how infinite in faculties … and yet to me, what is theis quintessence of dust? Man delights not me; nor woman either” (Shakespeare 50). While this quote is seemingly only a reflection on how Hamlet feels about mankind, it is also a subtle jab at his mother and her recent actions. The word “man” is very often used to describe mankind, or in other words, everyone in the world. However, Hamlet feels as though he must add “woman”. The reader already knows just how much he dislikes his uncle/step-father Claudius, but this tells the reader that he believes his mother has just as much a part in what happened as Claudius. Judging by all of the admirations and good things that Hamlet has to say about mankind, he quite possibly used to revere the species to which he belongs. However, the darkness around his father’s murder has led to his mistrust, and apparent lack of interest, in all people.


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