Anonymous
Anonymous asked in Education & ReferenceQuotations · 1 decade ago

What does Hamlet mean when he says, “Conscience does make cowards of us all”?

I don't understand this can anyone shed some light?

12 Answers

Relevance
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Hamlet cannot take drastic action against Claudius, the King who killed his father (Hamlet Sr.) and married his mother (Gertrude) because he is plagued by doubt. (What if I'm wrong? What if I'm hallucinating the ghost? etc.) His conscience is preventing him from doing the bold, brave thing that must be done -- it is making him a coward.

  • gong
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Thus Conscience Does Make Cowards

  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    Hamlet is talking about the act of suicide. He is saying that we are prevented from taking our own lives because of the fear that the afterlife might be worse than whatever miseries life is offering us. Why does Hamlet use the word "conscience" to describe the thing that prevents us from ending our lives, when he really seems to be talking about simple self-interested fear, rather than some moral sensibility? I think that "conscience" in Early Modern English could refer to either "inner thoughts or knowledge" (apparently its sole Middle English meaning) or to a specifically moral faculty. So here Hamlet means"conscience" in the former, more general sense. At the same time, Shakespeare was perhaps playing on the ambiguity to allude to Hamlet s hesitancy about taking revenge on Claudius.

  • 1 decade ago

    Conscience is a feeling that we are doing something wrong or bad. So when you want to do something, if your conscience tells you it is wrong, you will be torn about doing it. You may still want to do it, but you won't because you believe it is wrong. I'm not sure I agree with the application of cowardice in this instance, but it's Shakespeare's way of saying that there is something that will keep us from doing something that may not be the best thing to do.

  • How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
  • Josh
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    If we had no conscience, we would all be doing dare-devil things, but since we have a conscience, we are all cowards.

  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    For the best answers, search on this site https://shorturl.im/W3rud

    Possibly, he felt he had conquered everything but his anxiety; dreams are only bad if they make you anxious, otherwise they are just dreams, neither good nor bad. To be 'bounded in a nutshell' is to know of the micro life, 'king of infinite space' is to know of the macro existence in time and space but to be unable to sleep soundly or be free from anxiety, makes all other knowledge, pointless.

  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    Oh yes I have, haven't we all? Part of being human is making mistakes and saying things you don't really mean! I have done both yes when meaning no and no when meaning yes! Everything is alright in the end and These mistakes help us learn!

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Thinking about the act of revenge causes doubt.

    Fear of the death/unknown (undiscovered country) prevents us from suicide.

    Our conscience tells us we would rather deal with the problems we have, than act and create worse problems.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    It means the good in us prevents us from doing evil and to atheists it means we are cowards and to the religious it means we are righteous. Whatever, floats your boat.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Inhibits us from doing certain things.

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.