Hamlet's fatal flaw is his inability to act. Unlike his father, Hamlet lets his intelligence rather than his heroism govern him. When he has a chance to kill Claudius, and take vengeance for his father's murder, he hesitates, reckoning that if he kills the man while he is at prayer, Claudius would have asked for pardon from the Lord and been forgiven of his sins, therefore allowing him to enter Heaven. Hamlet decides to wait for a better opening. His flaw of being hesitant in the end leads to his own death, and also the deaths of Gertrude, Ophelia, Laertes, and Claudius.
William Shakespeare's Hamlet Hamlet play a very important role in this play. Basically the whole play revolves around him. In this play Hamlet is faced with the obligation to kill Claudius because Claudius has killed his father. Some people see Hamlet as a tragic hero with a clear and sacred obligation to kill Claudius but since he is scared to kill him and has many other things going on in his life, he is unable to kill Claudius right away. Throughout the entire play Hamlet procrastinates on killing Claudius.
Even though he ended up killing Claudius, he would have never killed himself. Suicide did cross his mind, but he was too afraid of what may come after he killed himself. He wanted to respect and honor his father’s throne, and knew that Claudius was untrustworthy to the throne. Also, when he poisoned the queen, Hamlet was furious and killed Claudius almost in a way that would make him suffer a bit. William Shakespeare did use a lot of dramatic irony and metaphorical use to make this play more interesting.
Hamlet decides not to because Claudius was repenting. If he killed him Hamlet would send him to heaven and would not be damned like Hamlet's father. That is another internal struggle to delay killing Claudius. Hamlet has thought everything through before he acts. Hamlet makes sure that the things he does will not fail and that he has to do it right the first time through.
Finally, he's able to excuse his own role in Polonius' death, ending with both his and Laertes' demise. Hamlet's concentration on reasoning and rationalizing is what delays his ability to act immediately and leads to fatal endings for both him and the people around him. While Hamlet did agreed to achieve the satisfaction his father desired, a major setback he has is wanting it not to be morally complicated. If he truly believed he was justified in avenging his father's death, he would have acted and not have concered himself with the optics of appearing heroic . During the prayer scene, Hamlet instantly draws his sword when he sees the King alone.
With no guards around, Claudius is alone and he is unaware that Hamlet is lurking in the shadows. The scene is set for Hamlet to take vengeance for his father’s unsettled spirit. However, Hamlet does not kill him, because Claudius is repenting for his sins, allowing him to go to heaven when he is to die. As one’s religion often dictated the afterlife of one’s soul, King Hamlet is doomed to an eternity in purgatory. Hamlet does not feel it is fair for Claudius to go to heaven, while his father is at unrest, so he decides instead to kill Claudius while he is doing something sinful.
This attitude of wanting to die, keeps Hamlet isolated from everyone else, because Hamlet does not want to be around everything. Hamlets self responsibilities continue when he hears of how his father died. Hamlet said immediately after hearing from the dead king: “Haste me to know’t; that I, with wings as swift as meditation or thoughts of love, May sweep to my revenge.” (1.5 29-31) This revenge to Claudius is Hamlets revenge, as he says not revenge for his father. This causes isolation because Hamlet now is against the new king, while everyone else supports Claudius, so Hamlet finds himself alone. Hamlet finds that his father’s death is now his utter responsibility.
This is shown by Hamlet’s refusal to commit murder thus preventing Hamlet from committing suicide at a time when he felt like doing so to avenge his father’s death because both murder and suicide are considered sins (Cahn 97). " To be, or not to be, that is the question:/ Whether’ tis nobler in the mind to suffer/ The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune/ or to take arms a sea of troubles…", (Act III, I.) Hamlet is questioning if it is worth living in such misery or not as everyday he is burdened with trying to avenge his father’s death. At this stage Hamlet is suicidal and risks himself being estranged from his religious principals as he begins to think of suicide. If Hamlet were to kill Claudius, he would be violating a central religious principle against murdering another human being.
Hamlets moral fortitude and his sense of honour do not allow him to finish the task when he knows Claudius will go to heaven. Hamlet whispers to himself, “Why this is hire and salary, not revenge” (3.3.79), proving his belief that if he kills King Claudius, the task will not be valid as he will go to heaven. Delaying the step-patricide and ensuring King Claudius’s position in hell is another senseless detour in Hamlet’s given quest, and furthering the depth of procrastination that has plagued Hamlet from the first scene of the play. Hamlet is aware of his procrastination as evidenced by his numerous soliloquies on the subject. The protagonist’s religious morality is so strong that even having seen the ghost of Old King Hamlet twice, and with plans to finalize the guilt of King Claudius, part of Hamlet’s mind will not accept reality of the situation.
Hamlet cannot experience any true emotions and so he does not know what he truly feels towards Ophelia. In the end Hamlet has to make the ultimate sacrifice to maintain his appearance as a good and noble prince- his life. He avenges his father’s death and returns everything to how it once was. However Hamlet does not do this because he knows it is what should be done or because he truly feels compelled to do it by his passion or his reason, but because it is what would be expected and what others would do. Hamlet cannot feel and therefore has to put on an act during the entire play.