Age old questions resurface when one reads more than the panel of the cereal box on the kitchen table or the "only approved" literature list from one's current affiliation. As the Apostle Paul noted in Romans 7, verses 15-21 … “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand.” (ESV)
«The(se) paradoxes are present in Hamlet, where they have been raised to the power of so many tragic truths: tragic because they point directly to as many appalling contradictions in the nature of things. Appearance contradicts reality, words contradict deeds, behavior contradicts purpose; nothing is what it appears to be, and nothing endures, least of all the high dedication of a passionate moment.
What to ourselves in passion we purpose,
The passion ending, doth the purpose lose. (III.ii.206-7)
… Ironically enough, it is the other King, the one of shreds and patches, who has the final comment on this matter, which involves nothing less than the need so urgently felt by the tragic protagonist throughout the play, for suiting the action to the word, the word to the action.
That we would do,
We should do when we would, for this "would" changes,
And hath abatements and delays as many
As there are tongues, are hands, are accidents;
And then this "should" is like a spendthrift sigh,
That hurts by easing. (IV.vii.118-123)»
Hamlet, William Shakespeare, ed. Cyrus Hoy. W. W. Norton, New York, 1963, xi.