The Struggle with Procrastination in Hamlet by William Shakespeare Essay

The Struggle with Procrastination in Hamlet by William Shakespeare Essay

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The Struggle with Procrastination in Hamlet by William Shakespeare
In William Shakespeare’s tragic play Hamlet, the main character, Hamlet, struggles with procrastination throughout the play. As Samuel Taylor Coleridge said, "No brilliant intellect can be considered valuable if one withdraws from action." It is this tragic flaw of inaction that eventually brings about Hamlet’s downfall. In the beginning of the play, Hamlet is given explicit instructions by the ghost to kill his uncle/step-father Claudius to avenge his father’s murder; yet, he fails to do so. Hamlet’s inaction and hesitation to kill Claudius is justified in his own mind and to the audience. Hamlet’s initial disbelief in the reliability of the ghost’s claim, Hamlet’s belief in religion, and the fact that Hamlet is trained in thought rather than in action, all lead to Hamlet’s inaction, and ultimately, Hamlet’s downfall.
The ongoing duel between Hamlet’s procrastination and his final action begins with Hamlet’s perception of the ghost. The ghost appears in form, as Horatio describes it, "a figure like your father, armed at point exactly" (1.2.209-210). When Hamlet first meets the ghost, he immediately calls the ghost by his father’s name and follows it to where the ghost beckons him. In response to the ghost’s claim that "the serpent that did sting thy father’s life now wears his crown," Hamlet answers, " O my prophetic soul!" (1.5.46-48), revealing that Hamlet has already contemplated this possibility. The ghost does little to persuade Hamlet of the cause of his father’s death because Hamlet is already convinced of his uncle/step-father’s guilt due to his great distrust and dislike for Claudius. Although at first, Hamlet reacts with an...


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...d by his disbelief in the ghost of his father, his belief in religion, and his education, it still brings about his untimely demise. By over analyzing any possible action he might take, Hamlet often finds a reason impeding him from taking any significant action. Although Samuel Taylor Coleridge claims that Shakespeare wanted us to realize that action is the chief end of existence, Hamlet proves that inaction is truly the chief end of existence. However, because of his indecisiveness, Hamlet is real; one can identify with him. The uncertainty of his life provides no clear path, but rather a rocky and winding road. Many times there is no right answer. He must use his discrimination to choose the best possibility. Hamlet, unfortunately, lacks this innate ability to decide. Instead of deciding, he chooses to make no decision and instead is left with no choice but death.

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