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Jae-Moon ChungHamlet, a sensitive, idealistic young man, suffers the first shock caused by his mother's hasty and incestuous marriage to his uncle who is utterly contemptible and loathsome in his eyes. He discovers in her marriage her shallowness and her coarse sensuality. It brings Hamlet deep grief, then a sickness of life, then a longing for death -- a nihilistic attitude toward life. Then comes the second shock: the Ghost reveals to Hamlet his mother's adultery and his father's murder by his uncle.The Ghost asks Hamlet to revenge but not to taint his mind, which means that he should not perform private revenge but public revenge. The revenge required of Hamlet is dangerous and difficult to accomplish perfectly. He feels the heavy and weary weight of his duty of revenge, and falls again in his habitual nihilism -- disgust at life and longing for death.Hamlet kills Polonius by mistake and he regards himself as a sinner. He conceives it as his duty to be heaven's scourge and minister, which means that he must act as an agent of public revenge and then fall into damnation for his evil as well.In the last act, Claudius devises a villainous plot to kill Hamlet by poison. But his treasonous plot is disclosed by Gertrude and Laertes. Hamlet kills Claudius, who is under accusation, as an executioner. He at last practices public revenge as heaven's scourge and minister.Hamlet dies not as a proud, idealistic prince who intends to set the rotten Denmark right but as a changed mature one who learns and accepts the limit of man's condition and human judgement. In the graveyard Hamlet mediates on the nihility of man's life and fame. The nihility of life is the truth that Hamlet finally gets at. It is a nihilism which is transcendental and absolutely noble. 정 재 문 (단독연구)군산대학교 영어영문학과전북 군산시 미룡동 산 68jmchung@kunsan.ac.kr