Hamlet: Nature of Truth Essay

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Hamlet:  Nature of Truth

Hamlet            To some, truth is something that is absolute and unchanging. To others, truth is volatile and inconstant. In the 16th and 17th century, the foundations of civilization itself had been shaken. Many of the ideas which were thought to be absolutely true had been plunged into the depths of uncertainty. The cosmological, geographical, and religious revolutions called into question the nature of truth itself. It is no wonder, then, that some of the great writers at the time included within their works a treatise on the ways in which truth is constructed. Because of the major ideological revolutions that shaped his world Shakespeare used
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Because there is no way to prove these issues beyond any doubt, it is the members of the audience who have to decide for themselves which side of the issue they believe. Shakespeare represents the volatile world of ideas on stage, arguing that, like the audience in the theater, all of us have little choice but to determine our viewpoint on the widely different ideas of the world, based upon our current knowledge. While our beliefs may not be without inaccuracy, we cannot afford to remain indecisive.

Shakespeare concentrated a similar idea on a much larger audience, forcing an entire theater audience to decide things for themselves. Hamlet is an extremely ambiguous play, and as Dr. Evans said, that is one of the reasons why it has been written about so much. The theatrical effect of the ambiguity is startling. A good play rarely has characters and events that are black and white, crystal clear. Instead, a good play is generally a play with shades of gray, where even the hero is not totally good. For example, with the ghost, we are left with a complete mystery. We begin not knowing whether the ghost is good or evil, and at the end of the play we still do not know, since the many deaths that were a result of Hamlet's acting on the ghost's will call into question the ghost's goodness. In doing so, Shakespeare gives us an example of precisely what he wants the audience to do, to find their own truth. Because Hamlet is unsure whether the

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