Unsponsored and free, Hamlet longs for a mighty opposite, and discovers he has to be his own. He inaugurates the situation in which each of us has to be our own worst enemy. (Bloom 134).
In Shakespeare's Hamlet, the inability of Hamlet to play out the vengeance cycle before him stands as both, a sign of his characters" spiritual and intellectual superiority to the other characters in the play, and as his moral weakness. By not producing within the play a worthy challenger to Hamlet, Shakespeare turns Hamlet's conflict inward, enabling the playwright to explore the duality of the noble and profane within a single character. In doing this, Shakespeare captures the enigma of moral clarity and purpose in the human experience. .
In the play, unlike for example in Othello, Hamlet stands without a rival such as Iago to challenge him. Superficially Claudius stands as rival and antagonist to Hamlet; in fact, Hamlet himself refers to this rivalry while commenting on his own trickery of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern:.
"Tis dangerous when the baser nature comes.
Between the pass and fell incensed points.
Of mighty opposites.
But as Harold Bloom in his Book Hamlet: Poems Unlimited(61-65); points out, Claudius is no "mighty opposite," [V.ii.62] at every encounter between the King and Hamlet; Claudius comes out the loser in both physical and rhetorical terms. In his book, Bloom sites this typical exchange between Hamlet and the King to illustrate the one sided nature of their conflict. .
KING Now, Hamlet, where's Polonius?.
HAMLET At supper.
KING At supper? Where?.
HAMLET Not where he eats, but where a is eaten.
A certain convocation of politic worms are e"en at .
him. Your worm is your only emperor for diet: we fat .
all creatures else to fat us, and we fat ourselves for .
maggots. Your fat king and your lean beggar is but .
variable service -two dishes, but to one table. That's .
KING Alas, alas.