THE EMBASSY OF DEATH: AN ESSAY ON HAMLET
In this ﬁrst section I shall indicate the nature of Hamlet’s mental suﬀering. It will then be clear that many of the scenes and incidents which have proved diﬃcult in the past may be considered as expressions of that unique mental or spiritual experience of the hero which is at the heart of the play. In thus isolating this element for analysis I shall attempt to simplify at least one theme-and that the most important one-in a play baﬄing and diﬃcult in its totality. My purpose will therefore be ﬁrst limited strictly to a discussion, not of the play as a whole, nor even of Hamlet’s mind as a whole, but of this central reality of pain, which, though it be necessarily related, either as eﬀect or cause, to the events of the plot and to the other persons, is itself ultimate, and should be the primary object of our search.