What idea does shakespeare develop regarding the individual in the midst of conflict? What does he suggest? I am so confused.

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Doug Stuva eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Concerning Shakespeare's Hamlet, you can think of characters dealing with conflict in order to analyze what ideas are revealed concerning a person in the midst of conflict.

First, Hamlet is in the midst of conflict for the entire play.  Some say that Hamlet is a moral and incorruptible person in conflict with a world that is immoral and corruptible.  He reacts with melancholy, despair, anger, thought, reason, and finally action. 

Others in the play are involved in conflicts, too.  How does Laertes handle conflict after his father is killed?  How does Ophelia deal with conflict after Hamlet rejects her?  How does she handle the difference between what her father orders her to do, concerning Hamlet, and what she would like to do?  How does Fortinbras handle conflict?  Claudius?  Gertrude?

If you make notes on the ways these characters handle conflict, you will be able to analyze what the play reveals about characters in conflict, and organize your thoughts on the subject.  For instance, Laertes unthinkingly forces his way into the king's presence and goes after the king.  The king, of course, is not responsible for Polonius's death.  Laertes then allows himself to be manipulated by Claudius into committing treachery.  His method of handling conflict is very much opposite of Hamlet's.  Outlining the different methods of handling conflict shown by the different characters, will help you get a handle on the issue. 

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