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Hamlet Essay

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Just like water and oil, a want for responsibility and inability to act do not combine positively. The character Hamlet in Shakespeare’s play Hamlet learns this reality; however it is much too late. The ghost of Hamlet’s father speaks to Hamlet and gives him the task of avenging his murder. This requires Hamlet to kill the current king, Claudius, who is also his uncle. Hamlet chooses to accept this task and yet he is slow to act. He attempts to maintain a middle ground by neither relinquishing what he believes he must do nor acting. It is this middle ground that in the end leads to Hamlet’s demise. Many different factors play into why Hamlet maintains this middle ground, including his want for everything to be perfect, his sense of responsibility to avenge his father’s death and his procrastination.
Hamlet believes that in order for him to act, everything must be perfect. In part, this belief impedes him from killing Claudius. When given the perfect opportunity to kill Claudius, Hamlet instead of acting, lets the opportunity pass by saying that the timing wasn’t right. Hamlet believed that because Claudius was in prayer the timing was not right. The line “Why this is hire and salary, not revenge!” shows that he feared by killing Claudius while he was in prayer he would send Claudius to heaven, and would not have revenged his father’s death. This act shows that Hamlet is unable to act, a trait greatly contrasted by the character Fortinbras. Fortinbras is another prince in a similar situation to Hamlet’s. Instead of waiting for the timing to be perfect though, Fortinbras simply acts. He realizes the commitment he has made to revenge his father’s death and wastes no time. When Fortinbras finds out that he is unable to attack Denmer...

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...he loses his own life.
Throughout Hamlet the idea of people having to either act or give up their commitment is very strong. Unfortunately for Hamlet, he does not understand this concept until it is much too late. Instead, Hamlet procrastinates and maintains a middle ground between these two concepts. He is unable to either act or give up the idea of killing Claudius altogether. His desire to kill Claudius is caused by his sense that he is required to complete this task; even that it is his purpose in life. He is also unable to make the commitment. This is caused by his desire for the timing of his action to be perfect. This desire causes him not to act when he is given the perfect opportunity to kill Claudius. His procrastination and inability to make the decision to either act or give up ultimately cost Hamlet his life when the decision is brutally made for him.