There is one human emotion that can paralyse us, lead us to lie both to ourselves and others, to commit actions that we dont endure, and to cripple any rational thought processes. It is self perpetuating if allowed to get out of control. Guilt like a disease of the mind, has the power to consume one’s sanity, govern one’s emotions and demolish one’s life. Hamlet, by William Shakespeare, is the story about how a teenage prince named Hamlet, deals with the fact that his slut of a mother, Gertrude, married his murderous uncle Claudius, all while trying to make sense of a world where he rightly killed his trifling girlfriend Ophelias father Polonius, and her feeble-minded brother Laertes. Fifth Business by Robert Davies is the life story of Dunstan Ramsay, a retired school teacher whose life has been guided by the conviction that there are saints in the contemporary time period, and that his childhood neighbor is one such person. Fifteen Million Merits from the show Black Mirroy by Charlie Brooker is about a world where people’s lives consist of riding exercise bikes to gain credits, Bing tries to help a woman named Abi get on to a singing competition show. Guilt is a reoccurring theme in Robertson Davies Fifth Business, William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, and Black Mirror Fifteen Million Merits that is shown by different characters including, Dunstable Ramsay, Paul Dempster, Hamlet and Claudius and by Ami, Bing,and the judges. In the play Hamlet by William Shakespeare, novel Fifth Business by Robertson Davies, and Black Mirror episode Fifteen Million Merits guilt dominates the lives of multiple characters by negatively impacting their lives. This unfortunate fact can be seen through how guilt arises from a flaw in the character’s personality, induces a burden on the life of a loved one, and leads to a horrible life.
Firstly, through all 3 things it is shown that guilt is inescapable and destroys our conscience, our life, and the lives of others. In the novel Fifth Business guilt shapes Dunstans whole life. He felt guilty for something he hadn’t even done. Dunstan felt so guilty because of the snowball incident and always felt the need to be with Mary Dempster and help her. Dunstan felt responsible for Mrs. Dempster’s premature labor since the snowball that hit her was intended for him. This guilt progresses throughout the story. Furthermore, most of what he does appears to have some sort of impact on the life of Mrs. Dempster, who in the long run goes crazy and spends most of her life in the mental hospital and eventually dies. On the other hand, Dunstan starts to think about his own hardships as punishments for what he has done. He believes that somehow or another that the loss of his leg in the war is a punishment for his role in the unlucky accident involving Mrs. Dempster. It is only until when Liesl makes him realize that everything he has done has been for Mrs.Dempster. Dunstan takes responsibility for his guilt, I fear to go to sleep and prayed till I sweated that God would forgive me for mountainous crime, (Davies, 22). This quote shows how guilty he felt and how he punished himself for it his whole life. This shows how guilt cannot be escaped. Whereas, in the novel Hamlet by shakespeare guilt is a major them but portrayed differently. Guilt can affect people in many ways. In Robertson Davies book Fifth Business, the main character Dunstan Ramsays life is shaped by his guilt for an accident that was not really his fault. Dunstans guilt affects him in ways where he sometimes does not feel guilt where he should, or is sometimes completely consumed by his guilt. Many things shape Dunstans life throughout the novel guilt being the most impacting one. The guilt felt by Dunstan adjusted the way he lives his entire dedication for Mary Dempster. Dunstan’s guilt is the aftereffect of his religious childhood. This blame is caused by Percy Boyd Staunton when he tosses the snowball that hits Mrs Dempster, bringing about her madness and Paul’s premature birth. Dunstan willingly volunteers to be the carrier of the guilt and feels in charge of the Dempster’s pain . As a result of this weight of guilt, he does everything in his life for Mrs. Dempster. Dunstan handles the Dempster’s task and thinks a lot about Mary and her child, Paul. By understanding Mrs Dempster, it no longer becomes an ethical commitment to think about her yet a high feeling of responsibility that he put on himself through his gatherings with Mrs Dempster. Dunstan’s getaway out of Deptford through the military, may have enabled him to briefly abandon his guilt, yet Dunstan’s blame still remains. He sees the essence of Mary Dempster amid his season of pain in war, through the statue of the Impeccable Origination, demonstrating the guilt that despite everything he keeps beyond a reasonable doubt. In the wake of coming back to Deptford, Dunstan invests in the consideration of Mrs Dempster once more, “I visited Mrs. Dempster forty Saturdays every year and at Easter, Christmas and on her birthday in addition,” (Davies 182). Evidently, his blame still waits. This quote is evidence of how Dunstan satisfies his responsibility by thinking about Mrs Dempster until her death. Upon Mary’s death, Dunstan feels a slight, yet not finish, wind down of his guilt. In this manner guilt might be a fatal venom to your inner voice in the event that you forces excessively, however it might likewise be an absence of good judgment and basic leadership on the off chance that you attempt to avoid it.
Secondly, in the play Hamlet guilt is shown though numerous characters. Hamlet feels guilty on the grounds that he has not effectively taken revenge for his father’s death. In act II scene ii Hamlet uncovers the way that he is angry with himself since he has not made a move. Hamlet calls himself, “a peasant slave” and questions, “What’s Hecuba to him, or he to Hecuba, That he should weep for her? What would he do, Had he motive and cue for passion That I have?” (529, 538-541). He is unbelievably annoyed with himself. Toward the end of the scene he thinks of an plan to use the play, The Mouse Trap, to “catch the conscious of the King” (II, ii, 586). He decides that he will use the ruler’s response to the scene in the play that is similar to how Claudius killed King Hamlet to see if Claudius is guilty. After, Hamlet uses the guilt to think of an plan and see whether the ghost is telling the truth. Claudius shows his guilt in act three scene three. In his soliloquy, while praying, Claudius admits to his wrongdoing, but he doesn’t have what it takes to come forward and ask for forgiveness because he is greedy. When he starts to pray, he says, “O, my offence is rank, it smells to Heaven; It hath the primal eldest curse upon’t, A brother’s murder!” (III, iii, 39-41). He confesses to killing his brother, and he appears to have guilt over the murder. He later in his prayer says , “O, what form of prayer Can serve my turn? ‘Forgive me my foul murder?’ That cannot be; since I am still possess’d Of those effects for which I did the murder –My crown, mine own ambition, and my queen” (III, iii, 55-58). Claudius is sad, however he isn’t sufficiently remorseful for what he had done to give back what he had acquired the crown, queen, power, and more. The king is guilty, but his greed overcomes his guilt. In act III scene iv Hamlet stands up to his mom, the ruler, and she expressing her guilt in marrying Claudius too quickly. At first the Queen tells Hamlet, “Hamlet, thou hast thy father much offended” (father meaning Claudius). Hamlet replies, “Mother, you have my father much offended” (meaning King Hamlet) (III.iv. 9-10). After accidentally killing Polonius, who he thinks is Claudius snooping behind the curtain, Hamlet yells at his mother and shows her a picture of his late father to make her feel guilty. After, getting annoyed with Hamlet’s words, Gertrude states, “O Hamlet, speak no more! Thou tern’st mine eyes into my very soul, And there I see such black and grained spots” (III, iv. 95-97). This quote is evidence about the way that Hamlet’s words have come to Gertrude and that she feels guilty for wedding Claudius so rapidly. Claudius is the one who commits the first act, the murder of King Hamlet, and for the most part he seems to be okay with keeping his sin to himself. He shows his guilt when he is separated from everyone else and asking, yet he isn’t willing to impart his wrong doing to any other individual. He needs to keep Hamlet close, so he can look out for him. He misleads Gertrude and she starts to feel some guilt for marrying Claudius so rapidly and harming her child, however she doesn’t appear to realize that Claudius is in charge of killing her husband. Hamlet seems to want to avenge his father’s death, but he feels guilty for not doing anything, and he seems to be looking for the perfect opportunity to get revenge.