Hamlet: to be or not to be who one is

Existenz 11:22-30 (2016)
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Abstract: This essay examines the thoughts and actions of the eponymous hero Hamlet of Shakespeare's tragedy from the perspective of existential philosophy. The death of his father, the prompt remarriage of his mother and Ophelia's rejection of his love are interpreted as Jaspersian boundary situations. Burdened with the responsibility to avenge his father's murder, Hamlet faces an existential dilemma of either being a dutiful son or being true to himself. As he loses faith in the goodness of the world and confronts death, Hamlet enters a protracted phase of foundering, suffused with despair and self-loathing. The customary rational way of thinking fails him and his soul becomes shipwrecked. But this is also the beginning of Hamlet's journey toward authentic selfhood and becoming the Existenz that he potentially is. Affirming life with all of its absurdity in a moment of transcendence, he attains a kind of happiness that Camus addresses in The Myth of Sisyphus. Keywords: Hamlet; Jaspers, Karl; Kierkegaard, Søren; Nietzsche, Friedr
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