In his play “Hamlet”, William Shakespeare raises many vital issues such a life and death, honesty and dishonesty, faithfulness and betrayal. In Act 3, Scene 1, the author relays the dialogue between Hamlet and Ophelia. It is when Hamlet says his famous words: “To be or not to be: that is the question..." This extract can also be analyzed from the point of view of the conscious and rationality. Is rationality the same as the conscious?
Hamlet is portrayed here in extreme doubt, deciding whether or not he should avenge his father's murder and he also reasons about life and death issues, while pretending to be crazy. Is his monologue the fruit of him being self-conscious or is it the result of rational thinking? Consciousness can be characterized as being aware of self, external objects. It is also can be called as executing control of the mind. Rationality is the expression of reasoning and is also the means to achieve goals or solve problems.
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Hamlet is presented in his monologue as if bordering on the edge between the conscious and the unconscious. He expresses his feelings and thoughts and uses the type of speech that can be called figurative. He uses expressions like “to grunt and sweat under a weary life”, “thus conscience does make cowards of us all" and others to show his state of mind. He is in extreme distress, balancing between utter agitation and acute self-awareness. Meanwhile, his words express clear rational thinking since he is able to convey his idea to the listeners and leave the desired impression. Do the conscious and rationality cross here? They certainly do. Hamlet is extremely aware of himself and his circumstances and, at the same time, he never loses control over his mind even though it may sound that he does. With that, he expresses clear thinking that shows his desires and doubts.
Obviously, the conscious and rationality are not the same but they may coincide and often do. It happens in various situations since the fact of self-awareness naturally develops into reasoning as in the case with Hamlet.
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