Hamlet’s ethics

Published

Book Section

© Oxford University Press 2018. All rights reserved. “Hamlet’s Ethics” argues that the critical question of delay in Hamlet has blinded readers to the play’s exploration of questions of agency and vision. The so-called indecision of Hamlet at the point of action is framed in the play, but in such a way as to expose and altogether overturn the prototype of revenge. What does it mean to be the author of one’s own acts, and what does one become in doing them? What are the ends of action? Hamlet opens out these questions of what we become by virtue of our acts. In so doing this tragedy offers us an object lesson in ethics, but not as a question of either obligation or choice, but as a question of the vision by which the world comes into focus for us at all.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Beckwith, S

Published Date

  • January 1, 2017

Book Title

  • Shakespeare's Hamlet: Philosophical Perspectives

Start / End Page

  • 222 - 246

International Standard Book Number 13 (ISBN-13)

  • 9780190698522

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1093/oso/9780190698515.003.0009

Citation Source

  • Scopus