Balance and Imbalance in "Hamlet"

Categories: HamletShakespeare

There is a fine line between balance and imbalance. In the first act of Hamlet, the death of Hamlet’s father sets the tone of the play. Hamlet’s focus becomes distorted, as he is indecisive of his wants. The imbalance between his overall thoughts and decision making are tied together in the play along with deceit, trust, and revenge. These factors all represent a statement in the how Hamlet dealt with the situations that happened to him. The imbalance caused Hamlet to hesitate before he acted upon his thoughts.

Hamlet had a difficult time getting to a place where he could find the his own balance. Hamlet is irrational, emotional, revengeful, and impulsive. He mentally struggled to figure a way to process the occurrences in his life. Although, the matter of if he was indeed insane-was up for question. The tragedies in Hamlet’s life throughout the play caused an affect on his mentality.

In Abstract from Author 1Psychological Department, University of Oslo, reads,“But, he is all this in a human, ‘normal’ way.

There is nothing convincingly pathological or constricted in his character. ‘Un-normal’ is his intelligence and his wit. Hamlet – an intelligent, reflected, resourceful prince in late Renaissance – who has wrestle with a madhouse of political intrigues, family murders and deceitful friends. Hamlet in Shakespeare’s text – a fairly normal person in quite a mad world.”

Hamlet finds himself unsure and contemplating many things, uncertain about there being something in the afterlife, with his “To be, or not to be” soliloquy.

Top Writers
Prof Evander
Verified expert
4.8 (654)
Academic Giant
Verified expert
5 (345)
Doctor Jennifer
Verified expert
5 (893)
hire verified writer

This is an impactful thought because it showed that there is something behind Hamlet’s words. Hamlet battles whether or not he will avenge his father. We see his internal struggle projects his own guilt onto others.

The truth was not easy for Hamlet to find, although, he came across the truth, with that, came many other effects that began to arise. “If circumstances lead me I will find Where truth is hid, though it were hid indeed Within the centre.” (Hamlet, II, ii, 154–6) These century old struggles between one’s mind and soul are the foundation for how Shakespeare elaborated on the human emotions in his tragedies.

Hamlet is conflicted to act civilized.“What would he do Had he the motive and the cue for passion That I have? He would drown the stage with tears, And cleave the general ear with horrid speech, Make mad the guilty and appal the free, Confound the ignorant, and amaze indeed The very faculties of eyes and ears.” (Hamlet, II, ii, 495–50121) When the ghost comes to speak to Hamlet, he is saying to kill his father in cold blood but the internal struggle to do that is also reasoned with his conscious decision to go about it in a much more civilized way.

Hamlet does not act quickly when the situation happens with hearing about his father’s death. In the play, when Hamlet has his encounter with the ghost, Hamlet seems to continue to wait before he acts upon the news he had received. Topchyan A. S.- a Doctor of Philology, Senior Researcher- speaks about why Hamlet acted the way he did. “The fact that Hamlet, after hearing the Ghost’s command, does not revenge his father’s poisoning immediately has various explanations. But one of the most significant reasons for his procrastination, namely, the psychological obstacle to committing murder for someone who is not a killer by nature, has not been given proper emphasis in the sea of literature on the play. The article discusses this aspect of the problem, i. e., the difficulty, if not impossibility, of shedding blood for a normal human being.”

Topchyan A. S. discusses Hamlet’s procrastination from a psychological standpoint, saying,”Hamlet’s procrastination is the psychological obstacle to committing murder for someone who is not a killer by nature. There may be an objection that people had different psychology and that murder was something more usual in Shakespeare’s days, so the matter should not be judged according to today’s standards. But, this does not mean it must have been equally easy for everyone.”

Kenneth Chan- writer of Quintessence of Dust: The Mystical Meaning of Hamlet, writes about the reasoning of the delay of Hamlet’s actions,“Now, by placing Hamlet’s self-criticism for his delay immediately after this recitation, Shakespeare again suggests that Hamlet has good reason to hesitate. In fact, the entire play serves to impress upon us the error of revenge. It demonstrates why revenge is wrong and makes us experience it. Thus, Hamlet is far from being an artistic failure; it is close to being an artistic miracle.”

Hamlet is revengeful but, he also proves to struggle to avenge his father’s death, even though he portrays to do so, he still shows hesitation. “There is a play tonight before the King—One scene of it comes near the circumstance Which I have told thee of my father’s death.” (Hamlet, III, ii, 71–73) Hamlet’s madness played out between his family affairs and with Ophelia, showed not only how Hamlet handled his father’s death but, also his encounters with others.

As act III opens, Hamlet speaks to Ophelia. Later, he describes his own mother and the betrayal he felt his mother put him through by marrying his uncle after his father’s death, “I say we will have no more marriage. These are married already, all but one, shall live” (III, i, 160-161) Hamlet grows angry with his mother and is worried he might do something to act upon his frustration towards her. Hamlet also decides to plot against his uncle as well, showing he is filled with rage against his mother when he ‘pretends’ to go mad, but at what point is it really ‘acting’ anymore?

Hamlet had announced his beings of acting crazy, but coincidentally, really went quite mad shortly after saying so. By claiming to be something after so long, you naturally begin to become it. Hamlet’s behavior towards Ophelia is both self-destructive and emotionally intense, as well as showing bitterness towards Ophelia. Dealing with the events of his father, Hamlet encounters a ghost, that then revealed the truth about his father’s death. Hamlet having found out that his father had been poisoned, Hamlet then proceeds to tell Horatio this news and has asked him to keep a close eye on his uncle.

Hamlet’s madness played out between his family affairs and with Ophelia, showed not only how Hamlet handled his father’s death but, also his encounters with others. Hamlet’s troubled mind and heavy heart show that he may not be insane but, that he is indeed- emotionally drained. The internal conflict between good and bad are the thoughts and the feelings that fuel the passions we then have to decide on if we will act upon them or not. Hamlet lets his mind get the best of him but still continues to show somewhat of self control in not completely losing his perspective of his passions.

Shakespeare exhibits the century old struggle between one’s soul and mind, between passion and logic, between thoughts and feelings, and between good and bad, these all are wagers in Shakespeare’s writings. Shakespeare continues to display these said conflicts throughout his entire play. All of these struggles and conflicts continue of become of some kind of relevancy as time continues, involving all of these internal battles we all deal with, as being human.

Cite this page

Balance and Imbalance in "Hamlet". (2021, Apr 06). Retrieved from

Are You on a Short Deadline? Let a Professional Expert Help You
Let’s chat?  We're online 24/7