Hamlet has been read by various critics as dramatically presenting a man with a fatal flaw, a misfit in a politically treacherous world, or a weak revenger. In light of this comment and using the soliloquies as starting point examine how an Elizabethan audience might have understood him and how that compares with your reading.
The revenge play that Hamlet falls into includes five typical assumptions. Revenge must be on an individual level against some insult or wrong. Second, the individual may not have recourse to traditional means of punishment, such as courts, because of the power of the person or people against whom revenge will be enacted. Third, the lust for revenge is an internal desire, which can only be satisfied by personally carrying out the revenge. Fourth, the revenger must make the intended victim aware of why the revenge is being carried out. Lastly, revenge is a universal decree that supercedes any particular religious doctrine, including Christianity. The final assumption is the basis for much of the internal conflict which is engulfing Hamlet before he finally enacts his revenge. The reason for this conflict is because of the religious beliefs which are at the heart of Hamlets character.
Since Hamlet acts on behalf of his Protestant religious beliefs, it is essential to examine how this influenced him in his impending conflict with the ghost and his fear of the afterlife. .
Throughout the play it becomes evident that Hamlet has received extensive education in religion. This high esteem which Hamlet holds his religion in is the fundamental basis for the indecision on Hamlets part it also is the basis for his indecision in his own suicide as he contemplates on a number of occasions.
In "Hamlet" soliloquies are used to reveal Hamlet's innermost thoughts reflecting his contemplative character, a convection that an Elizabethan audience would have understood. Hamlet's melancholy is a leading factor throughout the play; his soliloquies give us a more in-depth perception as to what he is thinking.