What advice would offer Hamlet's character that would make his life better?Hamlet's view of only his life

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mstultz72 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Hamlet's life is miserable no matter what he does.  Many people give him advice in the play, but none of it works.  That's the whole point of Hamlet: suffering and death are inevitable.

Hamlet is offered advice by Claudius, Gerturde, Horatio, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, Ophelia, Polonius, and even a ghost and a gravedigger.

  • Hamlet could talk about his problems, like Horatio does.  That's no good.
  • Hamlet could run away to England, like Claudius advises.  That's no good.
  • Hamlet could apologize to Claudius, like Gertrude wants.  That's no good.
  • Hamlet could kill Claudius, like the Ghost wants.  That's no good.
  • Hamlet could seek therapy for his love-sickness, like Polonius wants.  That's no good.
  • Hamlet could commit suicide like Ophelia.  That's no good.
  • Hamlet could seek political revenge, like Fortinbras does.  That's no good.
  • Hamlet could become a spy for the King, like Rosencrantz and Guildenstern do.  That's no good.
  • Hamlet could go back to college to be spied on by his father, like Laertes does.  That's no good.

My best advice would be for Hamlet to join a group of traveling players and re-enact plays in a different country.  Hamlet seems most filled with energy when he is in the theater.  He seems happiest on stage.  "The play's the thing to catch the conscience of a king" and maybe a prince too.

Lori Steinbach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Nicely done, #2.  I'll chime in and give Hamlet my two cents' worth.  My advice to him actually comes from the rather long-winded Polonius who has something to say to everyone about everything, it seems.  As Laertes is about to head back to college, his father catches him and delivers one last lecture.  In it, Polonius tells Laertes "to thine own self be true."  If Hamlet had taken that advice, he'd have been a far happier man. 

There seem to be two truths which Hamlet wavers about, but which would have changed the entire course of the play if he had followed them.  First, it does seem as if Hamlet loves Ophelia.  His indecision and play-acting ensure they will never be together; if he had stayed true to himself, he never would have (figuratively, anyway) sent her away. 

Second, Hamlet's initial instinct or "gut feeling" was correct--Claudius did kill his father.  All his doubt and indecision about this issue was his torment in the play.  It led to others' deaths as well as his own.

If he had been true to himself, he might have been happy.

susan3smith eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I suppose people do get over the murder of a father and their mother's marriage to the very same murderer.  And perhaps a person could confront a ghost who demands revenge, and recover.  And perhpaps a person could withstand his girlfriend breaking up with him and his schoolmates spying on him and a step-father who wants him dead and an accidental killing of his former girlfriend's father and the resulting madness and death of the girl.   But all these together??? Come on, there's no easy advice for these problems.  For Hamlet, "when sorrows come, they come not in single spies but in battalions." 

Perhaps he could sleep for a few hundred years and wake up in the Romantic period where his communion with nature would help him transcend life's sorrows. 

ask996 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would advise Hamlet to go back to the university. That's what he truly wanted to do, but he stayed first because Claudius told him Gertrude didn't want him to leave. Then he stayed to fulfill the desire of the ghost for retribution. Going back to his studies would have provided him some more emotional objectivity through time and distance.