Posted at 10.13.2018
Hamlet, protagonist of Shakespeare's tragedy of the same name, is one of the most ambiguous and enigmatic individuals of the annals of literature. He's a thinker, and extremely philosophical, meditative and suspicious, indeed, he is always pondering about question with no answer. His monologues are incredibly contemporary, because they're about psychological problems that remain unresolved. His identity is strongly affected by idea and, particularly, by Greek idea. We can recognize that Hamlet was thinking about Greek culture by his numerous references to Greek mythology, and by the main subject areas of his soliloquies: the issues between right and incorrect, thought and action, life and death, and the importance of the mind and thoughts of an individual. They all refer to important philosophical principles of Greek philosophy, such as relativism, skepticism and humanism, that happen to be rooted in ancient greek language philosophers' thoughts and studies.
About the personal references to Greek mythology, we can watch citations about many individuals belonging to misconceptions. "Hyperion", "Satyr", "Niobe", "Hercules" (Work I, Landscape II, 140-153), where Hyperion is a Titan or a byname of Helios, God of the sun; a Satyr is a lecherous creature, half-man and half-goat; Niobe was the Queen of Thebes, who wept on her behalf dead children even when she was turned to rock; and Hercules is a mythical Greek hero, notorious for his power. "Nemean lion" (Act I, Picture IV, 83), that was a vicious monster who resided at Nemea. "Priam", "Hecuba" (Act II, World II, 422-459), where Priam was the Ruler of Troy during the Trojan War, and Hecuba was his wife. From this evaluation, we can observe that not only was he thinking about Greek mythology, but also on Greek books, indeed, he probably read Homeric poems, Iliad as well as the Odyssey.
Another research that Greek idea influenced Hamlet is that he often identifies Relativism. For example, when he says to Rosencrantz: "there is certainly nothing either good or bad, but thinking helps it be so" (Work II, Arena II, 240), he is discussing the Sophist theory that the reality or justification of moral judgments is not overall, but in accordance with the moral standard of some person or group of individuals1. Another example is the most iconic monologue of the tragedy: "To be, or never to be: that is the question: / Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to go through / The slings and arrows of outrageous lot of money, / Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, / And by opposing end them?". Hamlet is attempting whether is more commendable to get rid of himself or even to continue living though the problems he is facing. We can think about this as a kind of moral relativism because, from Hamlet's perspective, even something collectively thought as so morally inappropriate like suicide can become correct, noble. According to Protagoras, a pre-sophist philosopher, "The individual is the way of measuring all things, of these that are, that they are, and of those that aren't, they are not. " By this, Protagoras obviously meant that each specific person is the measure of how things are to that person: things are or aren't, to me, matching as they may actually me to be or not be.
Briefly mentioned, moral relativism is the view that moral judgments, values about right and wrong, good and bad, not only fluctuate greatly across time and contexts, but that their correctness is dependent on or relative to individual or cultural perspectives and frameworks. 2
We can also consider the same monologue as an example of skepticism, because Hamlet is fond of pointing out questions that cannot be solved because they concern supernatural and metaphysical things. Hamlet's monologue "What a good article is a guy! / How commendable in reason! how infinite in faculty! in form and moving how / express and excellent! in action how as an angel! / in apprehension how just like a god! the wonder of the / world!" is an evidence of another philosophical pattern: Humanism. Whether or not the word "Humanism" was invented by Latins (Humanitas), we can watch Humanist thoughts in Sophist philosophers, Socrates and Plato. For the reason that period, indeed, the main topic of the philosophical speculation changed from transcendental matters, like Gods or the foundation of the universe, to the human being. They became considering human head and encounters, and related matters such as ethic and ideas.
To understand Hamlet's tragedy deeply, first we must understand its historic, religious and philosophical framework. From your philosophical viewpoint, I found proof many philosophical tendencies' affects, to both Hamlet's identity and Shakespeare, but I could state that the majority of them are related to the main Greek philosophical fads.