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In Shakespear’s Hamlet, the reader gets to know what has been called the
“two Hamlets in the play,” the first who is considered to be the
sensitive intellectual who is able to express himself through poetry and who
comes across as being dedicated to truth. The other, barbaric side of Hamlet who
treats Ophelia so cruelly with no empathy, slays Polonius and speaks of dragging
his guts into another room, and who sends Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to their
deaths without any remorse. However, most interpreters of Hamlet see him as a
“tragic hero” with a clear and sacred obligation to kill Claudius but
due to his being a victim of great external difficulties, is unable to do so
right away. 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 Shakespeare would not have achieved
tragedy in this play. There are many explanations for Hamlet’s long delay, some
of which include the physical act of being unable to commit the murder and what
held him back, the fear of what would happen, the moral dilemma of taking the
life of his uncle, his disbelief in the ghost, and his fascination with death.

The most important reason being that which physically held him back from
committing the act. If Hamlet were to carry out what the Ghost told him and
carried out immediate revenge, how would Hamlet have been able to convince the
people that he justifiably executed an act of revenge. Another reason Hamlet
procrastinates is that his psychological feelings confuse his ability to
“confront his destiny.” Hamlet’s dilemma has little to do with what
decisions he should take, but rather whether he will be able to make any
decisions at all. Perhaps due to his excessive melancholy Hamlet became morally
weakened and therefor lost his desire for revenge. As Hamlet states “my
weakness and my melancholy”(II.ii.630) and his “wild and whirling
words”(I.v.133) his mood shifts from deep depression to elation, which
might explain his indecisiveness throughout the play. Hamlet is a man of talk.

He is imply unable to carry out actions which he wants to. In his own words,
“. . .the native hue of resolution Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of
thought.”(III.i.84-85) Here it becomes clear that when Hamlet thinks he has
finally made a decision, thinking about it causes him to change his mind or
simply put it off. The one time Hamlet has the opportunity to kill Claudius and
achieve his revenge is when Claudius is confessing his sins. Here, Hamlet does
not kill him because if Claudius were to die right then, he would have gone to
heaven. Something which Hamlet does not want to see happen. Of course, there are
also moral roadblocks which prevent Hamlet from immediately acting upon the
Ghost’s orders. According to Goethe’s interpretation of Hamlet, he is
“lovely, pure, and moral nature, without the strength of nerve which forms
a hero.” However, Goethe’s compatriot, Schleger sees Hamlet having “no
firm belief either in himself or in anything else, in the resolutions which he
so often embraces and always leaves unexecuted, his weakness is too apparent.

His far fetched scruples are often mere pretexts to cover his want of
determination. . ..” Hamlet becomes the “creature of mere
mediation” because of his overbalanced cognition. Hamlet always finds a way
out of what he was about to do because he ends up thinking about it for too
long. This leads him being known as a character whom is full of purpose, but
lacks the quality required to accomplish that purpose. Most of these issues are
simply due to Hamlet’s over analyzation of morals. When Hamlet sees how promptly
Pyrrhus acted towards the death of his father in scene II, he promptly denounces
himself as a coward and cries out for vengeance: Bloody, bawdy villain!
Remorseless, treacherous, lecherous, kindless villain! O,
vengeance!(II.ii.608-610) it is at this point where Hamlet reveals his plan to
“catch the conscience of the King.” Again, however, even though he
vows to sweep to his revenge, weeks pass and he has not even made an attempt.

Perhaps it is because of Hamlet’s disbelief in the honesty of the Ghost which
causes such hesitation in Hamlet’s actions. Hamlet is called upon to execute
private vengeance, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, even though this is
contrary to all Christian teachings. Hamlet therefor, gets erratic because he