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Word Count: 718
The most important line in Hamlet is The plays the thing wherein Ill catch the conscience of the king II ii 617 In the play the issue of a clear conscience forms a key motif When the conscience of the characters appears it does so as a result of some action as in the case of the aforementioned line which follows Hamlets conversation with the player This line is of particular significance because it ties action and its effect on the conscience of the characters The nature of Hamlet is conscience and action plays an important role in creating the development of the plot No where is this development seen clearer than with Hamlet The Princes development comes as a result of the self-evaluation of the actions that have taken place and the ensuing actions that he takes are a clear result of this self-evaluation So in essence the actions cause him to think of his conscience and then act upon these feelings Hamlets several soliloquies are a testament to this method His first soliloquy following a conversation with his recently wed mother and uncle reflect the uneasiness he feels He feels betrayed O most wicked speed to post with such dexterity to incestuous sheets but break my heart for I must hold my tounge I ii 156-159 Hamlets conscience tells him what is wrong-in this case the hasty marriage-but he is ambivalent as to how to approach it before he meets the ghost silence is his method When Hamlet meets his fathers ghost however he feels sure of himself and knows what he must do As a result of the dialogue with the ghost Hamlets conscience makes him feel that revenge is the best method to deal with the problems that face him The consciences of Hamlet and to a lesser extent Claudius affect their decisions in the play However both characters only question themselves after they have been prompted by some
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