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Complexities of Human Nature in the Play Hamlet


Complex human beings are people with complex and imaginative personalities and intelligent, curious individuals who think far. People with complex personalities are associated with creativity, adapt well to the environment, and thrive through adversity. They see opportunities where most people feel defeated, and they are big thinkers.

Hamlet uses “pilot thumb” as a metaphor for the direction as he says,” Here I have a pilot thumb,/wreck’d as homeward as he did come.’ He tries to return to his home in Ithaca as he hopes to unite with his wife and witch Cleopatra. As a pilot, he has a pilot thumb, but the journey is unsafe, and he has lost his way. The metaphor of wreck’d adds complexity to the character of Hamlet because before this; we had not known his concern about his thumb; this is confirmed as Horatio says, “lool. my Lord, it is the thumb comes!.”The metaphor pilot thumb also strengthens the theme of Hamlet; as it is said, a good thumb is hard to find.


Shakespeare examines the practice of revenge by having two different approaches to it. Hamlet and Laertes are bent on avenging their father’s death as Hamlet rethinks his approach. Laertes is so determined to kill Hamlet that he kills his father, Polonius. The revenge theme feeds into the religious element of the play as Hamlet is conflicted by his Christian version of killing someone and his duty to avenge his father’s death which is not a consideration to Laertes as he acts on it immediately.


Religion has an impact on the actions of the character. Hamlet’s character shows his religious thinking on the subject of suicide. He declined to kill Claudius when he was praying, for he feared sending him to heaven while is supposed to go to hell. Hamlet also believes ‘that destiny shapes our ends.’Hamlet displays the theme of religion by dealing with a corrupt court, and the people in the court are involved in plotting and cunning against each other. Hamlet deals with it by waiting for them to fall into their trap haul’d by their petards’ as he puts it. He only had to wait like Christ as he puts it; the readiness is all around him, the corruption collapses itself, and the court is purified. He sacrificed to achieve that and left a scene of renewal and hope.


In Act III Scene I, Hamlet says, “Whether ’tis nobler in mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of trouble, and by opposing end them?”In this quote, Hamlet compares his troubles with the sea as vast like a sea.

“Who would fardels bear, grunt and sweat under a weary life, But that the dread of something after death, The undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveller returns.” In this metaphor, Hamlet sees death as something unknown.


Hamlet uses similies on several occasions, for instance, “A little month, or ere those shoes were old with which she follow’d my poor father’s body, Like Niobe, all tears.”This quotation compares Queen Gertrude to Niobe from Greek mythology; she wiped bitterly after her children were killed by the gods, unlike Queen Gertrude, who did not show emotions on her husband’s death.

Claudia also simulates, “his beards were as white as snow.”Claudius talks about Hamlet’s father, who he murdered, comparing his white beard with snow.


In conclusion, William Shakespeare displays human nature to be self-involved and vengeful as Hamlet thinks about revenge after he discovers that Claudius is behind his father’s death. As human beings, we tend so quick to make haste decisions out of anger without considering the consequences and molar value. Also, greed is part of human nature. Claudia murdered his brother to claim the Queen and the crown; he sacrificed a noble king for his happiness and satisfaction. However, most humans, in one way or another, will be driven by greed, knowingly or not.


Knights, L. C. (1966). Some Shakespearean Themes: And An Approach to’Hamlet’. Stanford University Press.

Alwan, D. (2020). THE THEME OF RELIGION IN HAMLET DATES ON MY FINGERS. Journal of Tikrit university for humanities-مجلة جامعة تكريت للعلوم الانسانية, 27(8), 93-83.‎

Jafari, Z., & Nia, H. O. “Something Is Rotten” in Translations of Hamlet: A Comparative Study of Transference of Sickness Imagery in Two Translations of Hamlet.


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