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Deferred Vengeance

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After facing the ghost of his dead father, Hamlet knows that he must avenge him. Though, through all of his efforts to murder Claudius, he is frequently delayed by his guilty conscience. He habitually second guesses himself and backs down when the moment to kill Claudius arises. Even Hamlet’s deep devotion for his mother, Gertrude, comes into play. He is becomes obsessed with her and the fact that Claudius violated her. All of these distractions affect Hamlet’s ability to make decisions. His indecisiveness alters the course of the plot and makes life more difficult for him.

Hamlet first learns of his father’s death in act one, scene five (1000). He knows that he has to avenge his father when the ghost tells him, “Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder”. Hamlet assures himself that he will follow through with the ghost’s request. But, he must first make sure that the ghost was telling the truth. Hamlet needs to have proof before he can commit a murder. Although the ghost is disturbed with Gertrude's incestuous behavior, he tells Hamlet to keep Gertrude out of the revenge scheme and lead her to heaven. Hamlet agrees to the ghost’s proposal but he is still unable to keep his word to the ghost. He continues to be obsessed with his mother's sexual relationship with Claudius. Hamlet's addiction to Gertrude is so convoluted that the ghost returns in act three, scene four, to remind Hamlet that his main goal is to kill Claudius, not to exploit his mother.

In act two, scene two (1021), Hamlet admits that he is delaying killing Claudius. “O vengeance! Why what an ass am I, this is most brave, that I, the son of a dear father murdered, prompted to my revenge by heaven and hell, must like a whore unpack my heart with words […]”. Hamle...

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...used Hamlet to finally react was after he witnessed his mother die from the poisoned wine. He was infuriated by Claudius’ conniving treachery. He instantly reacted and murdered Claudius. Essentially, Hamlet does not carry out his vengeance because of the murder of his father like he set out to do. Instead, he kills Claudius immediately after seeing his mother die.

In conclusion, Hamlet became the object of revenge himself by Claudius. He also caused the indirect and direct deaths of Polonius, Ophelia, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, Gertrude, Claudius, and Laertes. Although Laertes told Claudius that nothing could stop him from acting out his revenge, he was easily manipulated by Claudius into doing his dirty work for him, and ultimately, his poisoned sword was pointed back at himself. In the end, the unexpected occurred, plans were foiled, and revenge was bittersweet.
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