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Johann Wolfgang von Goethes Wilhelm Meisters Apprenticeship explores Shakespeares Hamlet through analyses of its characters but most of all through an examination of the main character and his soul Goethe inaccurately defines a persons soul as their underlying nature which one infers remains static regardless of the events that occur during ones lifetime However when one looks at Hamlet throughout the play his central character which is comprised of his emotional and moral nature is certainly not static and is affected a great deal by the events of his life Goethe believes that comprehension of Hamlets character and motivation comes from an analysis of what Hamlet presents as his fundamental persona prior to the beginning of the play This investigation provides the main evidence for what Hamlets soul is Goethe argues that Hamlets soul is unfit to perform his fated action of revenge in the play Goethe correctly emphasizes the necessity of understanding what Hamlets soul is in order to determine whether or not he is fit to perform his revenge however the moment that Goethe expresses his argument based on unproven information that exists only outside of the play it becomes invalid When one analyzes Hamlets character through his words and actions in the play and adds the ability for ones soul to change to Goethes definition one finds a more valid argument that Hamlet is a soul unfit for revenge than Goethe provides The definition of soul that Goethe describes is the core of a person that determines how they act and think To Goethe this central part of a human being is evidently constant throughout a persons lifetime and does not change Goethe expresses these claims through the character of Wilhelm Wilhelm explains to his fellow players that in order to understand a character completely one must determine what his core personality is through an investigation of what his character is like before the play begins I set about every trace of
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