International Journal of Social Science and Humanities
2020, Vol. 2, Issue 2
A study on the underlying philosophies of Hamlet and The Bhagavad-Gita
‘A Study on the Underlying Philosophies of Hamlet and The Bhagavad-Gita’, attempts to trace the philosophical undertones and their subtle differences which are manifested in the two protagonists and reveal their similarities and uniqueness and their guiding principles behind their action. The text tries to decode the thoughts, words and action of Hamlet and Arjuna and present their moral dilemma and resolution as a brave and selfless tragic heroes. A correlation between the intricate features of characters of prince Hamlet and prince Arjuna is traced out to justify that both the princes undergoes a similar level of degeneration as men of inner action in their respective lives until they got rejuvenated as men of action Hamlet the hero is presented as a Christian hero, highly concerned about morality which makes him contemplate deeply on the teachings of the two texts of the Holy Bible: the Old Testament and the New Testament. The hero appears to have failed in imbibing the true spirit of the New Testament which upholds virtues such as peace, love and forgiveness as the corner stone of Christianity. When the play is read from the point of view of the Christian philosophy the conflict in the mind of the hero; whether to suffer patiently or to take up arms against the wrong doers, ensues from his confusion in the inner conscience whether to follow the principle of revenge of the Old Testament or the principle of peace and forgiveness of the New Testament. Hamlet does not express an iota of preference for the saturated principle of the New Testament which upholds forgiveness and forgetfulness of others sins with absolute forbearance as observed in the mellowed character of Prospero in The Tempest. Therefore, Hamlet’s action can be justified or better explained by the principal of Karma yoga taught by the Bhagavad Gita. When analyzed by the philosophy of the Bhagavad Gita, Hamlet fails initially to fulfill his action in the detached way professed by the Bhagavad Gita. The impulsive act of murdering Polonius out of spite for him causes him to bear the sin of Karma. The sacred mission undertaken by Hamlet gets derailed by his rash murder of Polonius, a motiveless murder caused by his anger and lack of self-control which taints his conscience, leads to the death of Polonius and Ophelia, and makes him a victim of Laertes’s revenge (398 words).