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Critical Analytic Essay – Hamlet

In the life of humans, the course of action is directed by the nature of motivation they receive. When the motivation is deep within the surface, people are not aware of its existence. In Hamlet, by William Shakespeare as the text creator, all the characters’ actions are naturally motivated by either the situation that has been presented or a feeling. Some are encouraged to take brave actions, while others are put on a path to do the right thing. In the text Hamlet, the nature of motivation that is essential in driving the course of action of an individual is represented by love, ambition, and revenge. 

A person can be motivated to take action or not based on their love for other individuals. In most instances, people’s decisions at the community level are influenced by sentimental feelings. The course of action as a response to a particular situation will be influenced through the process. More so, the nature of motivation will be directly dictated by the loyalty and respect that humans create for each other. In the text, Hamlet is the protagonist and is motivated to catch the cowardly conscience of the individual who is responsible for killing his father (Shakespeare, 1992). It is because of the deep love and loyalty that Hamlet has already established for his father before his death. However, he is aware that a guilty conscience can make a person do or say things that they did not intend, and in the process, even those who were not a part of the occurrences might be hurt.

Affectionate love and another person’s desire can be a central driving force towards an individual’s motivation since it will affect their action. For instance, the action taken by Hamlet to act as if he is mad is partly because of his love for Ophelia. The character puts on a disposition that can be described as antic. At one point, he even explains that he never truly loved Ophelia (Shakespeare, 1992). Therefore, the fake love was making him take some of the play’s actions that were not within the reader’s expectations. The strategy of confession by Hamlet is because he is aware that Ophelia is being used as a pawn for him to tell the truth. An action taken in the scenario is that if lying, the primary cause is love.

Self-interest is the other nature of motivation that has been presented as an idea in the text Hamlet by William Shakespeare. The factors arise from the idea that individuals in the community, in most instances, make a decision that is biased towards themselves. The same situation is being presented by Hamlet, where revenge is at the core of all the actions he has taken towards all the other characters (Shakespeare, 1992). Even the nature of interaction that he has with other participants is not as effective as it would have been expected because of the thoughtful revenge. The issue of self-interest is presented through revenge since the course of action to be taken by Hamlet will only benefit him. He does not care if other characters close to him, such as Ophelia, will be hurt or negatively impacted by what he is considering doing.

Ambition is the other driving force behind the nature of motivation that makes individuals take action. Humans are dynamic and less static. Therefore, individuals are more accustomed to societal changes and would not prefer to remain fixed or stagnant. There is a strong desire to accomplish set goals and objectives in the process, which can be represented by ambition. Revenge is the main source of the ambition presented by Hamlet in the text. The action taken is not pleasing since the character is suffocated with ambitious acts to the extent of pushing away those who care about him (Shakespeare, 1992). Ambition is a good thing. However, too much is dangerous since a strong desire to yield power that negatively impacts others. An individual who is being controlled by their ambition, in most instances done, thinks while making decisions. Instead, they will realize the negative outcomes, as is the case for Hamlet.

As the play continues, other characters such as Claudius are also presented by Shakespeare as motivated to take action due to self-interest. For instance, Claudius’s persona gain makes him spy on Hamlet and even create a plot that will kill him. The main ambition presented in the scenario is yielding the needed power and making other subjects to the leader (Shakespeare, 1992). The desires of each character in the play Hamlet is a contributing factor as a motivation behind their action. Some result in positive outcomes, while others are negative and not pleasing.

In conclusion, love, ambition, and revenge are the main motivation factors behind the course of action taken by characters in the play Hamlet. William Shakespeare has presented that self-interest can sum up all the contributing factors. In most instances, humans grant themselves priority before starting to think about the needs of others. Based on the discussion above, the motivation being a course of action can be effective and efficient if the needs of others have been put into consideration and there are fewer self-centered people.


Shakespeare, W. (1992). The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. New York: Washington Square Press/ Pocket Books. Print.


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