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La. Mac. Come on ; gentle my lord,
Mac. O, full of fcorpions is my mind, dear wife!
La. Mar. What's to be done ?
Mac. Be innocent of the knowledge,
Macbeth, instigated by his terrors, adds one act of cruelty to another; and thus, instead of vanquishing his fears, he augments them. His agony increases, and renders him still more barbarous and diftrustful.
There's not a thane of them, but in his house I keep a servant fee'd.
The castle of Macduff I will surprize, &c. He, at length, meets with the punishment due to his enormous cruelty.
Macduf. Hail, king! for fo thou art. Behold,
Thus, by considering the rise and progress of a ruling passion, and the fatal consequences of its indulgence, we have fhown, how a beneficent mind may become inhuman : And how those who are naturally of an amiable temper, if they suffer themselves to be corrupted, will become more ferocious and more unhappy than men of a constitution originally hard and unfeeling. The formation of our characters depends considerably upon ourfelves; for we may improve, or vitiate, every principle we receive from nature,
N analyzing the mind of Hamlet, I
fhall accompany him in his different situations. I shall observe the various principles of action that govern him in various circumstances; and sum up the whole with a general view of his character.
In his first appearance, he discovers grief, aversion, and indignation. These emotions are in themselves indifferent : they are neither objects of censure nor of applause : They are of a secondary nature, and arise from Come antecedent paflion or affection. To judge, therefore, of their propriety, we must examine their motives, and the temper or state of mind that produces them. For we may grieve for the loss of a vitious gratification; no less than for those that are virtuous: And we may conceive averfion at worthy characters, no less than at their opposites. But the grief of Hamlet is for the death of a father : He entertains aversion against an incestuous uncle, and indignation at the ingratitude and guilt of a mother. Grief is paffive : If its object be irretrievably loft, it is attended with no defires, and rouses no active principle. After the first emotions, it disposes us to filence, solitude, and inaction. If it is blended with other pas. fions, its operations will pass unnoticed, loft in the violence of other emotions, though even these it may have originally excited, and may secretly stimulate. Ac. cordingly, though forrow be manifest in the features and demeanour of Hamlet, F 2
aversion and indignation are the feelinga he expresses. Aversion not only implies diflike and disapprobation of certain qualities, but also an apprehenfion of fuffering by their communion; and, confequently, a desire of avoiding them. As it arises on the view of groveling and fordid qualities, we treat the character they belong to with contempt, rather than with indignation. They influence the imagination ; we tựrn from them with disgust and loathing, as if they were capable of tainting us by their contagion ; and, if those that possess them discover any expectation of our regarding them, we are offended at their pretensions. Claudius, endeavouring to caress and flatter Hamlet, of whose virtues and abilities he is afraid, thinks of honouring him by a claim of consanguinity, and is replied to with symptoms of aversion and deep contempt. Yet Hamlet delivers himself ambiguously, 5