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Hamlet's "Painful Interiority" Stephen Greenblatt argues that Hamlet's "painful interiority, his melancholy insistence that he has something "within"... is clear before the Ghost's revelation."  What evidence do you see of this interior dialogue or exterior expression in 1.4 as Hamlet, Horatio and Marcellus await the Ghosts return?

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malibrarian eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In reading Hamlet's description of the carousing in Claudius' court, initially he does sound confident and disgusted with the way people outside of Denmark view them now that all this drinking and reveling is going on.  But then he grows more pensive and reflective about nature and people and the faults that occur within some people:

"So, oft it chances in particular men,
That for some vicious mole of nature in them,
As in their birth--wherein they are not guilty,
Since nature cannot choose his origin--
By their o'ergrowth of complexion,
Oft breaking down the pales and forts of reason,
Or by some habit that too much o'erleavens
The form of plausive manners, that these men,
Carrying, I say, the stamp of one defect,
Being nature's livery or fortune's star,
His virtues else, be they as pure as grace,
As infinite as man may undergo,
Shall in the general censure take corruption
From that particular fault. The dram of evil
Doth all the noble substance often dout
To his own scandal."

I just don't imagine this all being said in a confident manner. I think by this point in his speech, he is talking more to himself than to Horatio and Company. I think he has grown quite reflective about the state of Denmark and the nature of his uncle as king.

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amy-lepore eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I don't see this...unless Greenblatt is referring to the natural distress one feels with the death of a loved one.  In Act I scene 4, Hamlet is confident and resolute.  His decisions come quickly and acts upon them immediately.  He does not appear weak, fearful, or indecisive as he comes to be seen in later scenes.

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