The Bard of Avon has in the character of Hamlet (in the tragedy of that name) a hero who has been accused of hesitation and indecisiveness. Are such accusations appropriate?
L.C. Knights in “An Approach to Hamlet” explains the modern appeal of the tragedy in terms of the indecisiveness of its hero:
Hamlet is a man who in the face of life and of death can make no affirmation, and it may well be that this irresolution – which goes far deeper than irresolution about the performance of a specific act – this fundamental doubt, explains the great appeal of the play in modern times. The point has been made by D.G. James in The Dream of Learning. Shakespeare’s play, he says, “is an image of modernity, of the soul without clear belief losing its way, and bringing itself and others to great distress and finally to disaster”; it is “a tragedy not of excessive thought but of defeated thought,” and Hamlet himself is “a man caught in ethical and metaphysical uncertainties.” Now I am sure that Mr. James is right in emphasizing the element of scepticism in Hamlet’s makeup – the weighing of alternative possibilities in such a way as to make choice between them virtually impossible [. . .] . (64)
Is there a connection between verbal hesitation and hesitation in action and decisions? Lawrence Danson in the essay “Tragic Alphabet” discusses the hesitation in action by the hero as related to his hesitation in speech:
To speak or act in a world where all speech and action are equivocal seeming is, for Hamlet, both perilous and demeaning, a kind of whoring.
The whole vexed question of Hamlet’s delay ought, I believe, to be considered in light of this dilemma. To a man alienated from his society’s most basic symboli...
... middle of paper ...
...ions: Hamlet. Ed. Harold Bloom. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1986. Rpt. from Tragic Form in Shakespeare. N.p.: Princeton University Press, 1972.
Rose, Mark. “Reforming the Role.” Modern Critical Interpretations: Hamlet. Ed. Harold Bloom. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1986. Rpt. from Homer to Brecht: The European Epic and Dramatic Traditions. Ed. Michael Seidel and Edward Mendelson. N.p.: Yale University Press, 1977.
Shakespeare, William. The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 1995. http://www.chemicool.com/Shakespeare/hamlet/full.html No line nos.
West, Rebecca. “A Court and World Infected by the Disease of Corruption.” Readings on Hamlet. Ed. Don Nardo. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1999. Rpt. from The Court and the Castle. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1957.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- The Bard of Avon has in the character of Hamlet (in the tragedy of that name) a hero who has been accused of hesitation and indecisiveness. Are such accusations appropriate. L.C. Knights in “An Approach to Hamlet” explains the modern appeal of the tragedy in terms of the indecisiveness of its hero: Hamlet is a man who in the face of life and of death can make no affirmation, and it may well be that this irresolution – which goes far deeper than irresolution about the performance of a specific act – this fundamental doubt, explains the great appeal of the play in modern times.... [tags: GCSE English Literature Coursework]
2977 words (8.5 pages)
- Hamlet – the Hesitation and Indecision Is there a plausible explanation for the hesitation by Hamlet in carrying out the ghost’s request in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Lawrence Danson in the essay “Tragic Alphabet” discusses the hesitation in action by the hero; this is related to his hesitation in speech: To speak or act in a world where all speech and action are equivocal seeming is, for Hamlet, both perilous and demeaning, a kind of whoring. The whole vexed question of Hamlet’s delay ought, I believe, to be considered in light of this dilemma.... [tags: Essays on Shakespeare Hamlet]
1778 words (5.1 pages)
- Hesitation in Hamlet William Shakespeare's Hamlet is tragic because all of the enmity being the product of one man's inability to make decisions. I believe the play is showing the steps of hesitation a person goes through who cannot choose, and the resultant angst. This one man is Prince Hamlet. Throughout the play he comes into situations where he just can't move himself into action. In Act I, Scene 5 Hamlet has an encounter with a ghost who explains that it is Hamlet's deceased father.... [tags: Shakespeare Hamlet]
1329 words (3.8 pages)
- Hamlet's Delay The question of why Hamlet delays in 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. "The spirit that I have seen / May be a devil, and the devil hath power / T' assume a pleasing shape" (2.2.627-629).... [tags: The Tragedy of Hamlet Essays]
684 words (2 pages)
- 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.... [tags: GCSE Coursework Shakespeare Hamlet]
1950 words (5.6 pages)
- The Indecisiveness and Hesitation of Hamlet In the Shakespearean drama Hamlet considerable literary critical comment swirls about the subject of the hero’s hesitation or indecision in the prayer scene. Is it weakness. Is it representative of a mental condition. Are there other incidences of hesitation. Let us explore the subject in this essay and interpret the key scene in light of other scenes, with input from literary critics. David Bevington, in the Introduction to Twentieth Century Interpretations of Hamlet, eliminates some possible reasons for Hamlet’s hesitation in killing Claudius during the prayer scene: Several limits can be placed upon the search for an explan... [tags: GCSE English Literature Coursework]
2387 words (6.8 pages)
- Hamlet's Delay in Relation to the Abuse He Suffered In recent times, a psychoanalytical approach has been taken to explain a person's behavior. Freud argued quite heavily that people have a subconscious drive that determines many of their actions. Hamlet does not differ from this. A psychoanalytical approach will find a reasonable explanation of Hamlet's actions in Shakespeare's Hamlet. His actions are characteristic of one who has been abused. Hamlet's Oedipus complex is more pronounced because of it.... [tags: GCSE English Literature Coursework]
1647 words (4.7 pages)
- Hamlet's Procrastination In William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Hamlet’s tragic flaw is his procrastination. From the first time Hamlet was acted until now, critics have fought over the reason for Hamlet’s procrastination. Some say that the cause is due to Sigmund Freud’s theory that Hamlet has an "Oedipal Complex," which is his love for his mother. Others argue that he just never finds the right time to carry out the revenge of his father’s murder. The Oedipal Complex theory in regard to Hamlet’s situation seems more likely because of the amount of times Hamlet has to kill Claudius but always fins a reason not to kill him.... [tags: GCSE Coursework Shakespeare Hamlet]
831 words (2.4 pages)
- Indecision of Hamlet's Madness Being Real or Feigned in Shakespeare's Hamlet "That unmatched form and feature of blown youth Blasted with ecstasy. Oh woe is me T'have seen what I have seen, see what I see." (Act III, Scene 1, lines 168-170) Ophelia begins to mentally collapse at the beginning of Act III after Hamlet says that he never loved her. This part of William Shakespeare's "Hamlet," when Ophelia goes insane, is one of the most well known scenes. However, those who haven't read the play in its entirety won't necessarily know that one of the most prominent, under-lying themes throughout the play is that of madness.... [tags: Papers]
825 words (2.4 pages)
- Hamlet: Theories Of Hamlet's Delay In Killing Claudius There are several theories about why Hamlet, the main character of Shakespeare's masterpiece, Hamlet, delays in killing his Uncle, King Claudius. As the son of a murdered noble, Hamlet is obligated to avenge the death of his father. However, the act is never performed until the end of the play... quite some time after Hamlet discovered Claudius was his father's killer. Some historians and literary experts would say Hamlet's strong religious bonds prevented him from performing the sinful deed.... [tags: Shakespeare Hamlet Essays]
809 words (2.3 pages)
- Do not go gentle into that Good Night and for Eleanor Boylan talking with God
- Effective Use of Revision in Strange Meeting
- Struggle to Cope with Death in Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night
- Essay on Kinship in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
- Comparing the Search in Plato's Allegory of the Cave and Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio
- Transformation of Milkman in Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon