In the play Hamlet, what are Hamlet's external conflict and internal conflict?

In Hamlet, Hamlet's external and internal conflicts are embodied in his uncle, Claudius. Hamlet's external conflict with Claudius merges with Hamlet's inner conflict when Hamlet vows to avenge Claudius's murder of his father. Hamlet's external and internal conflicts with Claudius drive the play forward until Hamlet resolves both levels of conflict by killing Claudius at the end of the play.

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When Hamlet first appears in act 1, scene 2 of Shakespeare's Hamlet, he's obviously troubled, but it's not until his rambling soliloquy midway through the scene that the audience is made aware of what is truly troubling him.

Hamlet makes it clear in the earlier part of the scene that he's grieving his father's death. Hamlet's uncle, Claudius (now king), and his mother, Gertrude (now married to Claudius), aren't happy with the extent to which Hamlet is displaying his grief, but Hamlet pretty much ignores them about that.

Claudius and Gertrude ask Hamlet to stay in Denmark rather than return to school in Wittenberg—Claudius wants to keep an eye on Hamlet, and Gertrude simply misses him—and Hamlet acquiesces to their request without objection.

What's clear, too, is that Hamlet doesn't like his uncle, although the nature of the conflict isn't made clear until Hamlet's soliloquy.

In his soliloquy, Hamlet starts with the usual questioning of his existence—essentially, "why was I born, and maybe I...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 1259 words.)

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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on June 3, 2020
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