Hamlet, Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Essay

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All people are subject to the truths that they choose to which they adhere. They have their own convictions, habits, and ideals that influence the ways they act and speak. The standards of their truths are also heavily influenced by their upbringing. There are certain truths that all men live by throughout their lives and oftentimes, these will differ between the person such as Hamlet and his emphasis on vengeful justice, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern with their lack of central truths, or even the true Biblical standard by which man is meant to live on.

All people have a specific viewpoint on what is right, and in Hamlet’s mind that moral code is justice and vengeance. In the analysis of the interaction between Hamlet and his mother, Kumamoto notes, “The Closet scene (3.4) climaxes Hamlet and Gertrude at their parting thresholds of abjection precisely because Gertrude seems to continue defeating Hamlet’s tenuous custody of the symbolic self” (Kumamoto 55). The author here is alluding to the pivotal scene in which Hamlet confronts his mother in her own chambers about the events that have taken place and her actions in all of it. In the scene, Hamlet is consumed with anger towards her as he sees her as a traitor and adulterer. The abidance to vengeance and righting the wrongs done to others is what motivates Hamlet into his fury. An optimal example of Hamlet’s climactic vengeance is, “Here, thou incestuous, murderous, damned Dane, Drink off this potion. Is thy union here? Follow my mother” (5.2.356-358). In the final opportunity to kill his uncle, Hamlet’s rage clearly clouds the meaning of justice behind the killing of Claudius. He allows himself to see the revenge as only positive and does not consider forgiveness as an alternative option. Hamlet allows himself to be taken over by the truths he chooses to live by rather than using reason to understand the wrongdoing he is indulging in.

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A different way of believing in truth is the same as Rosencrantz and Guildenstern as they do not live by any set purpose but instead take on life as it comes. “Death followed by eternity… the worst of both worlds. It is a terrible thought” (Stoppard 65). An overarching theme for Guildenstern in this play is his uncertainty. He contemplates the struggles in understanding life and death as his truths are solely based on logic and what he sees. “In Guildenstern’s talk, ‘probability’ is the technocratic jargon for post-Beckettian ‘reality,’ the ‘real’ can be defined only as of the probable and for whom the probable has been mysteriously suspended” (Freeman 22). The writer here takes note of the mindset and worldview that Guildenstern and Rosencrantz take. He displays the sort of definition of explaining how these two characters think according to their world views.

No matter what meaning man should strive to find, God has set the foundation for the moral code and the ethics by which they are to run the race set before them. A popular paradigm for a refutation to Hamlet’s so-called justice is, “Do not say, ‘I’ll pay you back for this wrong!’ Wait for the LORD, and he will avenge you” (NIV Proverbs 20:22). The LORD repeatedly reminds believers that revenge and true justice belongs to him and him only. It is the job of his followers to forgive and cease all worries. In Hamlet’s case, as a Christian, he should have been more aware of this passage and how it relates to his story of revenge and deceit. Solomon has a fantastic answer to the problem that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern face which is, “The conclusion… is: fear God and keep His commandments because this applies to every person” (NASB Ecclesiastes 12:13 ). Especially in the more recent times, many have agreed to the logic of Ros and Guil and how they do not tether themselves to any particular conviction or truth. The Bible on the other hand has a set outline of what man ought to do and how he ought to live.

The truths that Hamlet, Rosencrantz, and Guildenstern live by are the standards by which they act and live, but it is evident that the Bible sets the correct standard by which all ought to live.

Works Cited

  1. “BibleGateway.” Proverbs 20:22 NIV – – Bible Gateway, www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs%2B20%3A22&version=NIV.
  2. Freeman, John. “Holding up the Mirror to Mind’s Nature: Reading Rosencrantz `Beyond Absurdity’.” Modern Language Review, vol. 91, no. 1, Jan. 1996, pp. 20–39. EBSCOhost, doi:10.2307/3733994.
  3. Kumamoto, Chikako D. “Gertrude, Ophelia, Ghost: Hamlet’s Revenge and the Abject.” Journal of the Wooden O Symposium, vol. 6, Jan. 2006, pp. 48–64. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=25772685.
  4. MacArthur, John. The MacArthur Study Bible. Thomas Nelson, 2013.
  5. Shakespeare, William, and Barbara A. Mowat. The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, 2012.
  6. Stoppard, Tom, and Henry Popkin. Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead. Grove Press, 2018.


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