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: &nb...
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In the play, Hamlet, written by William Shakespeare, Hamlet the main character struggles to avenge the death of his father. Fear paralyzes him as he holds off on getting revenge on the new King Claudius, who stole the royal throne by murdering Hamlet’s father. However, it isn’t just fear that makes him hesitant as he reasons the situation. Hamlet hesitates to take action because he struggles with making his own choices, just like his weak-minded mother, Gertrude.
...blivion, or some craven scruple / of thinking too precisely on the event, / a thought which, quartered, hath but one part wisdom / and ever three parts coward,… / Sith I have cause and will and strength and means / to do't." (lines 33-46 p.206). Finally he realizes something about himself. His cowardly reluctance is due to ethical considerations. He is so frustrated with himself he puts all his Christian and moral beliefs aside to avenge his father's death and swears, "from this time forth, / My thoughts be bloody, or be nothing worth!" (lines65-66 p.207). In the end it was to late. Hamlet's delay in action were results of his Christian and moral beliefs and his need to avenge his father's murder. His procrastination became his downfall leading to the tragic death of his mother, Learertes, Claudius, and himself. Hamlet was the fallen hero that waited to long.
Both men plot, and kill, but before acting they take a great deal of time to think about their actions. Hamlet likes to set up and get everything right before acting on his suspicions or ideas. He thinks about how his actions will affect everyone and this is because of the substantial amount of common sense he has. Before killing Claudius, he came up with a plan to take him down and exploit him for killing his father. He knows that he cannot just kill him right away because people will be confused and blame Hamlet, so he plans to crack him first. He puts on a play portraying a young man poisoning his uncle, which riles Claudius because he poisoned Hamlet’s father. By putting on the play Hamlet alerted Claudius about how much he knew which scared Claudius. Hamlet goes on to a more elaborate plan to act “mad” which instills much fear into Claudius because he thinks Hamlet now poses as a threat to him which is what Hamlet wants. Claudius’ reaction to Hamlet’s madness is shown when he...
Hamlet's Delay The question of why Hamlet has delayed taking revenge on Claudius for so long has puzzled readers and audience members alike. Immediately following Hamlet's conversation with the Ghost, he seems determined to fulfill the Ghost's wishes and swears his companions to secrecy about what has occurred. The next appearance of Hamlet in the play reveals that he has not yet revenged his father's murder. In Scene two, act two, Hamlet gives a possible reason for his hesitation.
Hamlet, while not a man of many actions, is a man of many words. Though like many others, Hamlet gets caught up in the moment; saying or committing himself without fully understanding the consequences or what is going to be entailed. When he is with his father’s ghost, Hamlet promises, “Haste me to know’t, that I with wings as swift. As meditation of the thought of love/May sweep to my revenge.”(1.5.35-37) Hamlet did not keep his word to his father, his actions were not swift nor where they an act of revenge. Hamlet does not strike in an act of revenge, but in an act of anger and self preservation after the murder of his mother. He is hesitant at an opportune time, while the King was praying, for the reason that when committing himself to the act of revenge Hamlet did not fully understand what was being asked of him. That he would not only have to take the life of another man, but commit treason by slaughtering the King.
At this instant in the play, the audience perceives Hamlet in his most dismal hour. Although Hamlet often times refers back to the question of why he was chosen to lead this life, Hamlet, wishing to vanish from existence, never brings himself to such rashness. Although the depth of his misery is patently agonizing, Hamlet’s sorrow associated with the loss of his father may not be as deep-seated as Shakespeare initially depicts it to be. On numerous occasions, Shakespeare portrays Hamlet in a state of self-loathing in respect to the task his father’s spirit assigned to him. Although Hamlet is inarguably still grieving the loss of his father, a considerable portion of his grief then stems from his own reluctance to act. Although, undeniably, the centralization of his actions are around the vengeance of his father’s death, through the murder of Claudius, Hamlet’s hesitancy to act furthermore portrays his grief within himself. Despite being given numerous opportunities to execute his sole task,
Hamlet is a man of words not actions. His delay to react after finding out Claudious is behind his fathers murder is hesitated due to his desire to validate the information from Old Hamlets ghost to see if what he had told him was really the truth: “I’ll have these players play something like the murder of my father before mine uncle... The play’s the thing where in ill catch the conscious of the king.” (p.31) Hamlet believed the play will expose Claudius’ guilt through the actor’s emotions and talent on stage. Hamlet’s plan turned out perfectly causing Claudius to react suspiciously towards this act because of his guilt. Claudius’ reaction gave Hamlet the proof that he needed to point fingers at Claudius for the murder of his father. Hamlet can now seek revenge on his uncle and cause him to suffer the way Hamlet has been ever since this tragic event with his father. Although with this proof Hamlet still holds off the killing of the killing of Claudius and decides to confront his mother about it instead of taking action. In act 3 scene 4, while Hamlet is speaking to his mother he he...
In speaking to the ghost of his father, Hamlet says, “And thy commandment all alone shall live / Within the book and volume of my brain, / … / Now to my word,” (I.v.26). Hamlet is voicing his allegiance to his father’s ghost and the command that he has given him to seek revenge. His need for vengeance motivates all of his actions throughout the text. Hamlet pretends to be going mad to distract the King from his act of revenge that he is plotting. Rosencrantz, sent by the king, speaks of Hamlet and his madness; “He does confess he feels himself distracted, / But from what cause he will by no means speak,” (III.i.51). Hamlet is doing this to distract the king, the queen, and Polonius from his plans that he is scheming. Since the moment that Hamlet learned of his father’s death, he has been constantly preparing for the actions that he is going to take. This act of revenge relates to the politics of Denmark because murdering the king, whether for revenge or not, will cause chaos throughout the nation, just as Claudius’s murder of his brother did. Hamlet does not care what happens to Claudius because he was born to make the murder of his father right by seeking revenge; “O cursed spite, / That ever I was born to set it right!” (I.v.28). Hamlet understands that he must make things right, so he has to seek revenge on the king. Hamlet knows that murdering the king will
One of Aristotle’s Five Rules for Tragedy state that the main character should possess a tragic flaw, something in his character which causes his downfall. In William Shakespeare’s tragic play, The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, the main character’s tragic flaw is procrastination. There are four major quotes in the play that supports the argument that Hamlet’s tragic flaw is procrastination.
When despairing over his mother’s sudden marriage, Hamlet says “But break, my heart, -for I must hold my tongue” (1.2.161), and decides to remain silent rather than to leave his mother due to her corrupted actions and betrayal. Instead of confronting the problem, Hamlet decides to ignore his feeling of disloyalty from his mother and seeks revenge on Claudius instead. Hamlet also ponders with the idea of “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,” (3.1.63-65).Hamlet questions the thoughts of life and death, but he decides to reject killing himself and instead reconciles to his thoughts once again. Rather than to immediately seek revenge for his father after he decides to continue living, Hamlet continues to follow his belief that “enterprises of great pith and moment,/With this regard their currents turn awry” (3.1.93-94). In this quote, Hamlet explains his ideal that ideas that get carried out quickly become misdirected. At the beginning of the soliloquy it seems as if Hamlet is going to take action, but, he convinces himself at the end to continue to strategically plan his motives. His constant planning results in his own death due to his inability to face his own
Once Hamlet has learned of his father’s death, he is faced with a difficult question: should he succumb to the social influence of avenging his father’s death? The Ghost tells Hamlet to “revenge his foul and most unnatural murder” (1.5.31) upon which Hamlet swears to “remember” (1.5.118). Hamlet’s immediate response to this command of avenging his father’s death is reluctance. Hamlet displays his reluctance by deciding to test the validity of what the Ghost has told him by setting up a “play something like the murder of (his) father’s” (2.2.624) for Claudius. Hamlet will then “observe his looks” (2.2.625) and “if he do blench” (2.2.626) Hamlet will know that he must avenge his father’s death. In the course of Hamlet avenging his father’s death, he is very hesitant, “thinking too precisely on the event” (4.4.43). “Now might I do it…and he goes to heaven…No” (3.3.77-79) and Hamlet decides to kill Claudius while “he is drunk asleep, or in his rage, or in th’ incestuous pleasure of his bed” (3.3.94-95). As seen here, Hamlet’s contradicting thought that Claudius “goes to heaven” (3.3.79) influences him to change his plans for revenge. Hamlet eventually realizes that he must avenge his father’s death and states “from this time forth my thoughts be bloody or be nothing worth” (4.4.69). From this, Hamlet has succumbed to the social influence and has vowed to avenge his father’s death.
He describes man as “in action how like an angel”(II.ii.284). Then he shows that this image of angelic man is inaccessible to him, even repellent, saying “and yet to me, what is this quintessence of dust?”(II.ii.290) In the middle of the play Hamlet lectures the traveling players about how best to act, however Hamlet does not act for scenes to come. He only acts when he stabs Polonius who, while exasperating, is innocent. Hamlet tells Horatio “There is a special providence in the fall of a sparrow. If it be now, 'tis not to come. If it be not to come, it will be now”(V.ii.204-205) This quote does not seem like a man who is about to avenge his father’s death. When Hamlet does act it is at the last possible moment. Killing Claudius only because he has learned that Claudius was planning to kill him, and the realization of the death of Gertrude, and Laertes. He stabs Claudius with the poison sword and forces him to drink from the poison cup. Killing him “twice”. He also insults Claudius, calling him “thou incestuous, murderous, damned Dane,”(V.ii.325) which in Elizabethan terms is quite the insult. However taking action does not resolve or integrate Hamlet’s character. As he dies, Hamlet charges Horatio with telling his story, as though only in death will Horatio be able to make a coherent narrative out of all of his delay and wavering and
Hamlet’s fatal flaw of hesitation is the reason why he did not carry out a plan to seek revenge for his father’s death, but the love that he felt for his mother enabled him to act when she died. Throughout the five acts of the play, Hamlet made several excuses as to why he could not kill Claudius. One of those many excuses was that he could not kill Claudius at the end of Act 3, Scene 3, when he was praying, as he would be sent to heaven:” Now might I do it pat. Now he is a-praying. And now I’ll do ’t. And so he goes to heaven. And so am I revenged.—That would be scanned. A villain kills my father, and, for that, I, his sole son, do this same villain send to heaven.” Hamlet’s hesitation, therefore, demonstrates that he did not love his father as he could have enacted his revenge, but chose to wait until his mother was in danger, proving that his revenge was solely in defense of her. In addition to this, Hamlet overthinks everything, which is another one of his downfalls. Yet, when Gertrude is poisoned, he throws caution to the wind and acts without thinking. After she collapses and he realizes that she has been poisoned by Claudius, he forces him to drink, which then kills him. Hamlet’s immediate action in defense of Gertrude attests to the fact that his revenge was purely in defense of his
Hamlet seems incapable of deliberate action, and is only hurried into extremities on the spur of the occasion, when he has no time to reflect, as in the scene where he kills Polonius, and again, where he alters the letters which Rosencraus and Guildenstern are taking with them to England, purporting his death. At other times, when he is most bound to act, he remains puzzled, undecided, and skeptical, until the occasion is lost, and he finds some pretence to relapse into indolence and thoughtfulness again. For this reason he refuses to kill the King when he is at his prayers, and by a refinement in malice, which is in truth only an excuse for his own want of resolution, defers his revenge to a more fatal opportunity, when he will be engaged in some act "that has no relish of salvation in it."
Hamlet’s tragic flaw was shown to him in a dream by the ghost of his father. His father tells him that he was murdered by his uncle, Claudius. In this scene, the tragic flaw was transferred and manifested itself in Hamlet’s actions. His obsession with revenge and death is all he can think about. He needs to act quickly and decisively but finds himself procrastinating about what to do. In Act III, Hamlet holds the knife over the head of his uncle, Claudius, but cannot strike the fatal blow. Instead, he writes a play about the same scenario to study the reaction of Claudius as to a clue of his guilt. After he decides Claudius is guilty of murdering his father, he still relents from taking his revenge. He says, “Haste me to know ‘t, that I, with wings as swift As meditation or the thought of love May sweep to my revenge.