"What is a man?"
Hamlet is not the only man to ask this question. It has been asked by every man, from pauper to prince to pope, because in being a Man, his nature calls out, nay commands him, to find an answer. In this post, we will look at the answer Shakespeare's gave to this question in the most powerful lesson on masculinity ever given by the bard to The West - Hamlet.
Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet, filmed on gorgeous 70mm, is the best adaptation from stage to screen of Shakespeare's most popular and enduring play.
But why is Hamlet so popular?
Quite simply, it is because the focus is on man.
One man. Hamlet. As he comes to terms with BEING a man.
For the Red Pill awakened western man, this film is a gold mine of knowledge on both masculinity and the feminine and just goes to show that what is being rediscovered in the emerging patriarchal renaissance is not new at all, but was known for a long time by our patriarchal ancestors.
The masculine path toward manhood is not an easy one. Young 21st century men are literrally putting back together what Man once was from scratch. While Red Pill, Game, MGTOW and even the MRA's are all carving their own path up the mountain of truth, there are still too many who spend all their precious time on this earth arguing with the experts at the base camp of tribal manosphere ideology. What is being missed by the majority of manosphere writers today is what is most important about Man.
Man is a spiritual being, not an animal.
Any definition of masculinity and being a Man that does not acknowledge his spiritual/divine origins as primary is going to miss the mark.
What is a Man?
If his chief good and market of his time be but to sleep and feed, a beast, no more.
Sure He that made us with such large discourse, looking before and after, gave us not that capability and godlike reason to fust in us unused.
Hamlet - 4.4.8 Q2 line 26
A beast, no more, is precisely what Darwin's theory of evolution ushered in that began the decent of western Man. Whatever your belief about the origin of Man, there can be no mistake that the theory of evolution, which claims Man to have descended from apes, shook the very core of patriarchal Christianity in The West.
Until Darwin, it was a given that man had a divine origin that separated him from animals.
From the pre-Christian pagan matriarchal/goddess to anno domini Christian Europe, all men were known to have a soul, a divine spark and spirit.
Now, in the feminist and scientific 21st century, man is just an animal, a beast, no more.
While many young men are either pursuing pussy in a hedonist escape of moral abandonment of the now obsolete trad-con patriarchal past, or shunning women entirely for the scientific future of children via the artificial womb of the holy empirical, scientific age, I believe there is a middle path, the true path, toward masculinity and becoming a Man that Shakespeare gave us in Hamlet.
It is my belief that Shakespeare gave us three clear markers on the path of masculinity toward becoming a Man, capital M.
Hamlet is about a young prince whose father is murdered by his uncle. An uncle who then marries his mother and takes the crown of Denmark for himself. The main theme of the play is not Hamlet's revenge, but JUSTICE for his murdered father.
Justice I say, because back then, what would look to us to be revenge would have been justice to our ancestors. The righting of a wrong, by whatever means, was a core pillar of masculinity in the patriarchal past and still is today.
A direct cry for justice, for vengeance, can be found in the most powerful scene of the play; the ghost of Hamlet's father telling young Hamlet of his tortured, netherworld existence. An existence he now suffers because he was murdered and died with a soul not freed of the guilt of his past sins.
With this scene, we are introduced to the first step on Hamlet's masculine path.
If Man, capital M, is ever to return to the world stage, it will only be when he humbles himself to the greatness that is NOT of this earth.
God, karma, spirit or soul, whatever you personally decide to call it, a philosophy of metaphysics, that of the immaterial, is what distinguishes Man from beast.
Only Man can think.
Only Man can reason.
Only Man can choose to deny or embrace his bestial nature or... to walk the middle path, neither God nor animal, but Man, capital M. To deny this aspect of Man, to walk the pure atheist/materialist path, is to walk into the sensual arms of the pagan goddess. Whether it be Game, MGTOW or MRA, most western men, young and old the world over, have completely abandoned any idea of a spiritual nature to man, or are lost in a post Christian West with no solid moorings to return to God with Red Pill knowledge.
Science can teach a man how life works, but not why life exists. The MGTOW community especially is obsessed with the coming scientific revolution of the artificial womb. While not all MGTOW's are convinced the artificial womb is the future, what this whole debate proves about spirit/soul being the first step on the masculine path is this.
If material science has replaced God, what does that make man?
An animal. A beast. A good consumer of manufactured goods. No more.
With science and evolution as the foundation, Man's existence has been reduced to a random chance combination of carbon based proteins that evolved into a conscious entity driven by chemically induced "instincts" called "feelings."
No philosophy of Man, capital M, can come from this.
If men of the feminist 21st century abandon the concept of an immaterial, metaphysical reality to their existence, not to mention a reason for Man being here, then the future holds nothing but slavery ahead for the entire human race.
Science can 'prove' Man is unable to govern himself and thus must be controlled at all times.
God declares Man is a free being of His creation on this earth, given the capacity to choose how to live his life.
Without any concept of God, without spirit and soul, there can be no masculinity, no Man, capital M.
Thus, in acknowledging the existence of a power outside himself, an immaterial reality to his material being, man takes the first step on the path toward manhood and authentic masculinity. A step that leads to the second, that of...
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
Hamlet (1.5.167-8), Hamlet to Horatio
In this line, Shakespeare also implies that pure metaphysical speculation is also not the path to true knowledge. It is a deception of all men who reject God to thus claim, via philosophy, that the greatest and purest knowledge has been found.
Shakespeare is here acknowledging that not even philosophy has all the answers. In this line he is saying to us that when Man acknowledges a greater power other than himself, however he conceives of it, he is ceding his ego to true knowledge - he knows that he does not know. This is the ego trap atheists and philosophers fall into when they reject God. They truly believe they can reason their way, through logic or science, to ALL truth, ALL knowledge, and become like God.
The trouble with the young men of today is that the older generation got soft and greedy in their material indulgence of the 60s, 70,s and 80s and past this on to the younger generation. The boomers, not all but most of them, took the moral lessons of the past and threw them out in the sexual revolution. Their knowledge was now that of money, science and 'love', not God and Man. Their knowledge was that of hedonism and worship of the self, not self-restraint and worship of excellence in Man in God's image.
Once a man can humble himself on the masculine path, to accept that he is not here on this earth by any power that is within him, he can begin the search for true knowledge.
Yes, his material needs must be met.
Man must clothe, feed and house himself.
Man must secure a means to provide for himself and possibly a mate.
But this provision of his material needs never overrides his need for keeping true to the greater purpose of life.
The knowledge of these things are not found in science, in material needs and wants.
These principles of masculine knowledge can only be met with the mind by use of reason.
By coming to a true understanding of himself and his place in the cosmos, Man can live for these masculine principles and see them brought to life in his time on earth, for his children and future generations.
Once true knowledge is acquired, man comes to the third and final step toward authentic masculinity and manhood, a realization that knowledge of the good, the just, the true, the free is not enough.
All the knowledge in the universe is of no use unless a Man is prepared, on what he has learned, to take...
The time is out of joint; O curs'd spite, That ever I was born to set it right!
Hamlet (1.5.188), on realizing the truth of his father's death
Ignorance can be found in all men, but to live in continual ignorance is to not be a Man.
When knowledge comes to a Man, most, like Hamlet, curse their ever being born.
Because as a Man, he is the only one who can know, and thus act, on the truths and conclusions that knowledge always brings.
Knowledge is not just power, but a call to action.
If there was ever a step on the masculine path that is more fraught with fear and doubt, a step that chills every man to the marrow of his bones, it is that of a man who knows he needs to act.
As one, in suffering all, that suffers nothing, A man that fortune's buffets and rewards Hast ta'en with equal thanks: and blest are those Whose blood and judgement are so well commingled That they are not a pipe for fortune's finger To sound what stop she please. Give me that Man That is not passion's slave, and I will wear him In my heart's core, ay, in my heart of heart, As i do thee.
Hamlet (III.ii.63-75), on recognizing he can trust Horatio to help him uncover the truth his uncle murdered his father
Some may argue that action is the very masculine trait Hamlet lacks.
He gets depressed. He mopes. He rants and raves. But he does nothing.
Hamlet does nothing to avenge his father's murder NOT because he is afraid of acting.
Hamlet hesitates to avenge his father because...
He is afraid his knowledge may be false, and that he will act on feminine emotions & passions, not sound & reasoned judgement.
A ghost after all, some demonic spectre, has informed him of his father's murder by his uncle. Yes, his trusted companion Horatio has also seen this ghost, but even still, this is not enough for Hamlet. Hamlet must not just know, but be absolutely sure, that to the best of his ability to discern, his knowledge is 100% correct.
Action, undertaken while under passion's sway, is not masculine.
This is why Hamlet praises Horatio for his calm, detached, and reasoned approach to helping Hamlet uncover the truth of his father's murder. Horatio does not doubt Hamlet, for he has seen the ghost himself, but neither does he go on to shame and emasculate him for not "manning up" and taking up immediate revenge for his father's murder. This is what we see in the character of Ophelia's brother, Laertes.
Laertes is the anti-masculine foil to that of Hamlet, used by Shakespeare to draw the line between true masculinity and false.
When Laertes learns that Ophelia is dead, his desire to take action is immediate. He wants to kill Hamlet and in following his passions, his emotions, he acts without true knowledge and gets ensnared in the King's schemes to do away with Hamlet and get rid of the threat Hamlet poses to his throne.
Laertes is shown throughout the play to be a pawn to other men, not a man of his own. His own father gives him advice on how to be a man, while he himself is a philanderer and enlists spies to both keep tabs on his son and attempt to help elevate his son's status in the eyes of other men when Laertes goes abroad.
While everyone thinks Hamlet has gone insane, he is the only sane man in the entire play outside of his trusted friend, Horatio. Everyone is lying to Hamlet. His uncle. His mother. His "friends" Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. All of them have a means to an end in their dealing with Hamlet and through the entire play, Hamlet lets them know he will have NOTHING to do with their feminine manipulations. Hamlet will chart his own course. He will find the truth out on his own. He will trust to his judgement AND the judgement of a true friend, the only one that cares about Hamlet in any real way.
When blood and judgement, spirt and reason, passion and knowledge, are in perfect balance, a Man, capital M, walks the earth.
This is what the entire play of Hamlet is all about. Shakespeare is showing us how a man becomes a Man, capital M.
A Man... knows this life is but a shadow and fantasy.
A Man... knows that only with true knowledge, can a man act justly in his own interests and in his dealing with others.
A Man... is forever cautious to take action until true knowledge comes to him, to the best of his ability, that makes taking action an an act of reason, of rational conclusion, not of blind passions and emotions.
These are the steps, the doors, the markers toward authentic masculinity and true manhood. Some may find this post on Man, on masculinity, on manhood, to be simplistic. It mentions nothing on the nature of women and our need to beware the female. It mentions nothing about the punishing feminist political oppression men in The West now find themselves living, nay surviving, under. It mentions nothing of how to get better at having sex with hypergamous women that have been let entirely loose of the old patriarchal imposed sexual restraints.
My response to these critics who say nothing of Man can return unless these aspects of his present condition today are remedied is this.
If we have men who rely not on this world and its illusion of material power, but on a power beyond this world...
If we have men who are humble and who focus their entire lives in pursuit of knowledge and truth to pursue justice...
If we have men who are able to act in the world from a purely reasoned and rational mind, with the power of passion and emotion like that of a wild horse, tamed and under his full control...
What could these kind of men accomplish? Who would be able to stop them?
Like I said earlier... you are either climbing to the summit, or arguing with the experts at base camp.
Which path are you on?
Strength & Honor