Hamlet’s actions leave him no choice but to take revenge against King Claudius. In Act 1 Scene 5 Lines 117-119, Hamlet says “I have sworn ‘t”, vowing to the ghost of his father that revenge will be sought against his father’s killer, Claudius. Throughout most of the play, Hamlet is reluctant to kill Claudius, but this vow forces him to continue to take some sort of action to further his vengeance. This is shown in Act 3 Scene 3, when the King is praying. While praying, the King is defenceless and could have been easily slain, but Hamlet stalls and finds an excuse to not kill the King. However, must continue continue down the path of vengeance. He tries to find excuses out of killing Claudius, but when Hamlet confirms that Claudius is the murderer in Act 3 Scene 2 Lines 12-13, stating that he’ll “bet [Horatio] a thousand bucks the ghost was right” about the identity of the murderer, he can no longer leave Claudius alive. Even though Hamlet continues to hesitate until Act 4 Scene 4 when he sees ...
... things he has earned from the deed, “My crown, mine own ambition and my queen” (III.iii. ) Hamlet then justifies not killing Claudius for he doesn’t want to kill him after repenting for he would go to heaven. This then shows again how religion plays a major role in the play. Again, Hamlet justifies his hesitations to take Claudius’ life at the beginning of the play because he is uncertain of the reliability of the ghosts’ claims of the murder. However, Hamlet explains to the ghost that a quick revenge is to come: “Haste me to know‘t, that I, with wings as swift / As meditation or the thoughts of love / May sweep my revenge.” (I. v. 30-32) It is very possible these words are said due to shock and disbelief that the ghost confirmed Hamlet’s suspicion of murder. Yet, even after these words Hamlet fails to act, stating they need more evidence before he should act out.
Shakespeare purposely makes Hamlet out to be a procrastinator for one very important reason, if Hamlet would have quickly pursued this revenge, Gertrude, Polonius, Ophelia, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, Laertes, and of course Hamlet himself would have survived and the play would not have become a tragedy. There are many reasons for Hamlet's long delay. Some reasons which include not being unable to commit the murder are Hamlet's fear of what would happen if he did kill Claudius, his concience bothering him for taking the life of his uncle, his disbelief in the ghost, and because of his facination with death. The most important reason that him back from committing the murder is if Hamlet were to carry out what the Ghost told him and carried out immediate revenge, how would Hamlet be able to convince the people that he justifiably executed an act of revenge.
Shakespeare’s Hamlet revolves around the title character’s undeniable obligation to immediately avenge his father’s death by killing Claudius. Yet much time elapses before Hamlet finally does slay his evil uncle, leading to a fundamental question: what causes the hero to delay before eventually managing to salvage some retribution? The answer is that Hamlet’s reoccuring state of impractical contemplation renders him incapable of any decisive action that could have brought quick revenge.
Hamlet’s Procrastination and Cowardice In William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, Hamlet is a loyal prince who vows to avenge his father’s murder. When Hamlet discovers the painful truth about his father’s death, he is left with feelings of hatred and resentment in his heart towards the murderer, Claudius. Although Hamlet is a very noble and sophisticated man, he struggles with the issue of avenging his father’s death. He swears his revenge will be quick, however, this is not the case. Since Hamlet is more into philosophizing than action, he thinks about his intention to kill Claudius. The more he thinks about his intention, the less he is able to execute it. The tragic flaw that Hamlet possesses is his inability to act. He vows that he is going to kill Claudius but backs out of it several times before the deed is actually done. Hamlet’s first sign of procrastination and lack of action begins to show through his character at the very beginning of the play. The ghost informs him about Claudius’ evil doings. Hamlet is prompt by replying: “Haste me to know’t; that I, with wings as swift As meditation or the thoughts of love, May sweep to my revenge.'; (Shakespeare, p. 67) This passage shows how Hamlet decides to avenge his father’s death. In fact, he declares that he will be committed to nothing else but the revenge against Claudius:
The situations where Hamlet unexpectedly acts were not relevant to his task, such as the murder of Polonius. During the play rehearsal, Hamlet is shocked by the emotion poured out by the actor over Hecuba, whom doesn’t even exist. Hamlet, whose father was murdered, does not have as near the passion that actor had. Hamlet criticizes himself, saying, “A dull and muddy-mettled rascal, peak/ Like John-a-dreams, unpregnant of my cause,/ And can say nothing” (Shakespeare 2.2 578-580). Hamlet calls himself a coward for not doing anything to avenge his father, but rather just staying depressed and weep all day. According to Bradley, “Hamlet was restrained by conscience or a mural scruple; he could not satisfy himself that it was right to avenge his father” (Bradley 4). Hamlet is aware of his constant delays, but still cannot ready himself to kill Claudius because of the excuses he continuously makes up. After criticizing himself, Hamlet sets up a plan that only prolongs his chance of killing Claudius. Hamlet says, “The play’s the thing/ Wherin I’ll catch the conscience of the King” (Shakespeare 2.2 616-617). Hamlet creates a play that reenacts a specific scene, which resembles Claudius murdering his father. Hamlet wants to see Claudius’s reaction to the scene, and confirm his guilty reaction. According to Eliot, “The delay in revenge is unexplained on grounds of necessity or expediency;
Hamlet does not take the opportunity to slay Claudius as he prays because he believes it will save his soul. His contemplative nature takes over regarding the ghost’s revelation and he decides to devise a play to pique Claudius’ conscience and make sure he is really guilty.
Hamlet What is perceived, as Hamlet's delay in avenging his father has been some thing that has been under scrutiny for a long time. Especially in the last two hundred years there has been a lot of thought that has been given to the topic but the first person to raise the issue and in an indirect manner was Shakespeare. He was the person who assigned Hamlet lines in which he unbraids himself for not having yet acted. There have been a number of thematic contributions the idea of delay makes to the play and many believe that it is that delay which is the lifeblood of the play. Had it not been there the play would never have been such a marvel. It was anything but Hamlet’s ability to come to a decision because he was not someone who was indecisive about anything. He may have had problems in his youth and he was a bit slow and cautious but that is not to suggest that he was afraid or a bad decision maker as it could be seen when he said, “What an ass am I!” (II, iii, 125-129) People and the readers alike expect or at least expected that Hamlet should have went for the revenge right awa...
King Claudius by the end of this very significant scene is on his knees giving a in-genuine confession about being a sinning murderer. The King will later show more contrition in response to the players simulated murder of King Hamlet. This confession enhances the drama of the play by increasing the display of both internal and external struggles of the characters as just one of several dynamics present in the play. The moral validity and interpretations of the Protestant church to declare that asking for sin to be forgive is the only determinant on for getting into heaven or not, which Shakespeare critiques by having Claudius give a self-motived confession.
Hamlet has numerous opportunities to kill Claudius, yet he always waits for a better time, a perfect one. After first hearing of the crime from his father's ghost, Hamlet immediately sets out to take action. Then he becomes doubtful, fearing his father’s ghost “May be the devil, and the devil hath power/ T' assume a pleasing shape; yea, and perhaps/ Out of my weakness and my melancholy/ As he is very potent with such spirits/ Abuses me to damn me”(2.2.627-632). Hamlet then schemes to determine Claudius's guilt by enacting the Mousetrap, a play that delineates Claudius’s murder of the former king. His play succeeds and confirms Claudius’s guilt as his uncle disrupts and flees the play. Hamlet then catches Claudius alone in his chamber, and he goes to kill his uncle. However, when he draws his sword, Hamlet again hesitates, thinking “ Now he is praying/ And now I’ll do’t/ And so he goes to heaven”( 3.3.77-83). Hamlet is eager to damn Claudius’s soul, but he convinces himself that killing Claudius during his prayer will guarantee his uncle’s admission to heaven, thus, denying Hamlet his revenge. Consequently, he forgoes another opportunity to kill this villain, craving a more perfect time. Hamlet always resolves to wait and kill Claudius at another time, forever debating between his impulse and his ideas, “paralyzed by
Admonished by the ghost of his poisoned father, troubled by the stench of a kingdom in decline, outraged by his queen mother's incestuous liaison, why did Hamlet wait so long to act decisively? Theories abound. Hamlet had an Oedipus complex. Hamlet was mad rather than merely pretending to be. Hamlet was an intellectual pansy. Hamlet was an existentialist. Etc. T. S. Eliot went so far as to say that the play itself was flawed, Hamlet's Problem actually the author's own, insoluble. I believe that the Problem is actually ours. Perhaps the real issue is not Hamlet's hesitation, but our unwillingness to understand it.
.... The key characteristics revealed throughout this speech are those of devotion and responsibility. Hamlet’s dedication to his father is so strong that he says he will completely wipe his mind of “all trivial fond records, all saws of books, all forms, all pressures past that youth and observation copied there,” clearing everything he has ever heard, read, seen, or experienced throughout his entire life so that he could devote his mind solely to keeping his father’s commands. Fueled with a newfound sense of responsibility, he vows to keep his promise to revenge his father’s death, making his “smiling, damned villain” of an uncle pay for his crime. Later in the play, Hamlet’s piety and loyalty to his father is further emphasized when he points out that he did not want this duty to avenge his father’s death, but knows that if he does not take on this task, no one will.
One of the most revealing scenes about Hamlet’s anger can be found where Claudius is praying to absolve his sins. Hamlet, with his sword drawn, declares that Claudius should die in a state of sing, not under prayer. His father was killed before being able to ask for forgiveness and now Hamlet shall do the same to Claudius.
Hamlet is seeking revenge for the death of his father and believes he has found the perfect time to stab Claudius. However as Hamlet is spying on his stepfather and about to pull out his sword, he sees him “praying”. Hamlet then decides that if he kills Claudius in this moment the new king may be forgiven for his horrible actions and go to heaven. However, this is only “what seems” to be going on, and rather than asking for forgiveness Claudius is giving a fake prayer. Claudius even says, “A brother’s murder. Pray can I not,/ Though inclination be as sharp as will,/ My stronger guilt defeats my strong intent” (3.3.38). This simple contrast between reality and appearance keep Hamlet from successfully carrying out his mission. However, William Empson wonders if there is another reason for Hamlets delay of action or is he simply acting. Empson says, “wonder why he delays, just as he himself wonders. No other device could raise so sharply the question of ‘what is theatrical behavior?’” Although Hamlet does not know the truth, as an audience we pity him because we can see both sides of this event. We are able to hear this distinct contrast between reality, or in this case a prayer, and fantasy when Claudius says, “O, what form of prayer/ Can serve my turn?” (3.3.51) Surprisingly, Claudius does not want forgiveness because he
dispatch’d.';(1) The meaning of the ghost’s quote is that he is telling Hamlet that Claudius killed