About Me Essay Titles For Hamlet

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Yes, in Hamlet's own estimation of himself he is a coward. It's not that he is a coward in the strictest sense of the word, however. It is not that he lacks courage and is "lily livered." No, he sees himself as a coward in that what he has to do takes him so long for he thinks too much and too deeply on it; he thinks and plans rather than acts. Maybe that's what all cowards do, but Hamlet thinks to a fault, and he knows it.

In three soliloquies, Hamlet chastises himself and calls himself a coward for pondering rather than acting:

First, in Act 2 , Scene 2, from the "O, what a rogue and peasant I am" soliloquy:

A dull and muddy-mettled rascal, peak

Like John-a-dreams, unpregnant of my cause,

And can say nothing! No, not for a king,

Upon whose property and most dear life

A damn'd defeat was made. Am I a coward?

Who calls me villain? breaks my pate across?

Plucks off my beard and blows it in my face?

Tweaks me by the nose? gives me the lie i' the throat,

As deep as to the lungs?

Next, from the "To be or not to be" soliloquy of Act 3, Scene 1:

Thus conscience does make cowards of us all,

And thus the native hue of resolution

Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,

And enterprises of great pitch and moment

With this regard their currents turn awry

And lose the name of action.

And finally, in Act 4, Scene 4, he is once more tortured by the thought that he may be a coward in the "How all occasions do inform against me" soliloquy:

Now, whether it be

Bestial oblivion, or some craven scruple

Of thinking too precisely on the event—

A thought which, quarter'd, hath but one part wisdom

And ever three parts coward—I do not know

Why yet I live to say 'This thing's to do,'

Sith I have cause, and will, and strength, and means

To do't.

So, is Hamlet a coward? Maybe a bit. Certainly he thinks he might well be. But it's more to the point to believe that he loves his life, regrets that the need to revenge his father's murder has befallen him, and knows that he is ill prepared, temperamentally, to do the deed. For he is a man of thought and not of action... he is a schoolboy-prince who has to force himself into a situation and a frame of mind to finally risk his life to do what he knows must be done.

It depends on what direction you're going with the delay. If you focus on Hamlet's intellect and how his philosophical pondering delays carrying out his revenge, your title could play on this. For instance, for the audience to get the development of Hamlet's character and his thought process, it was necessary for Hamlet to have a relatively large number of soliloquies. So, maybe go with something like “Too Many Soliloquies.”

Hamlet considers existence (“to be...

It depends on what direction you're going with the delay. If you focus on Hamlet's intellect and how his philosophical pondering delays carrying out his revenge, your title could play on this. For instance, for the audience to get the development of Hamlet's character and his thought process, it was necessary for Hamlet to have a relatively large number of soliloquies. So, maybe go with something like “Too Many Soliloquies.”

Hamlet considers existence (“to be or not to be”) in an unjust world, and he considers the moral, strategic, and dramatic implications of how he will carry out the assassination. So, he considers and reconsiders how to "perform the act" (killing the king). He delays “acting.” This is one of the fascinating aspects of this play and one of the reasons it has been studied so much. So, “to act or not to act or . . . how should I perform this action” is another “play” on this idea of delaying action. There are just so many puns you could use that deal with Hamlet's delay: play, act, perform, plot. “Lights, camera . . . hold on let's think about this some more” is a pun more appropriate for a film adaptation, but Hamlet is really "setting the stage" and then delaying the action. 

Whichever direction (another pun of theater jargon) you go, Hamlet's development is eventually self-induced: a purposeful, albeit delayed construction. Hamlet does begin grief-stricken, but then develops his madness out of grief and strategy. He writes himself and literally rewrites some of the play within a play, so we have to wait while he's sort of writing some of the larger play as he goes along. And with the play within the play, Hamlet is purposefully increasing the drama. In other words, when Hamlet talks to the players, he asks to "rewrite" some of the play. He's rewriting lines!

In Act 3, Scene 2, Hamlet is telling the player how to act in order to appear "natural."

Be not too tame, neither; but let your own discretion be your tutor. Suit the action to the word, the word to the action, with this special observance: that you o'erstep not the modesty of nature. For anything so overdone is from the purpose of playing, (III.iii.15-19).

This is something to think about in terms of his delay. Although it is the play within the play, this is like the director or Shakespeare himself interrupting a live performance in order to tell the players to "act natural." This is the advice Hamlet gives to the players and it is something he struggles with himself: how to act, to be and to do. 

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