Hesitation in William Shakespeare's Hamlet
In Shakespeare?s Hamlet, a ghost tells Hamlet that his uncle, Claudius, is responsible for the death of his father. Hamlet is driven to reveal the truth of his father?s death and seeks to avenge his murder to achieve justice. In his quest to right the wrongdoing, Hamlet delays acting toward justice for many reasons. The main factor for Hamlet?s hesitation is attributed to his self-discipline. He lacks of ability to act on his emotions. Hamlet is an intelligent, moral, and reserved character. He restrains himself to act rationally and not on emotion. This hesitation is a tragic flaw for Hamlet, but in order to resolve the truth, it is necessary. Hamlet has doubts about the validity of the …show more content…
I?ll have these players Play something like the murder of my father Before mine uncle: I?ll observe his looks; I?ll tent him to the quick: if he but blench, I know my course. The spirit that I have seen May be the devil; and the devil hath power To 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. I?ll have grounds More relative than this. The play?s the thing Wherein I?ll catch the conscience of the king.? (Act II. Scene 2, 543-559)
Hamlet views Claudius? reaction to the play. Claudius? response is indicative of a guilty person, verifying Hamlet?s suspicion. Hamlet can now act out his vengeance on Claudius, since he has proven Claudius? guilt and has grounds for carrying out justice. Hamlet is now ready to take action against Claudius. Likewise, in flushing him out, Hamlet has tipped Claudius off to his knowledge of the murder, and he knows Claudius will take action against him if he doesn?t seize the moment.
He is provided the opportunity as he follows Claudius up, away from the play. However, once again he hesitates because he finds
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In Shakespeare's Hamlet, the main character continually delays acting out his duty of avenging his father's murder. This essay will discuss how Hamlet's nature and morals (which are intensified by difficult events) prevent him from carrying out the task.
Hamlet realizes how slow and hesitant he is to kill Claudius following the actor’s performance. He proclaims O, what a rogue and peasant slave am I:/ Is it not monstrous that this player here,/ But in a fiction, in a dream of passion,/ Could force his soul so to his own conceit/ That from her working all his visage wann’d,/ Tears in his eyes, distraction in ‘s aspect,/ A broken voice, and his whole function suiting/ With forms to his conceit?/and all for nothing!” (2.2.53-60)
Throughout the play, Hamlet’s character is characterized both by periods of extreme caution and moments of impulsivity. One of the best examples of Hamlet’s heed can be found in Act 2, Scene 2 where he decides to have his theatre troupe perform his play, The Mousetrap. With this, Hamlet hopes that he will be able to “catch the conscience of the King,” by monitoring Claudius during the performance, that heavily mimics his murder of his brother, for signs of stress and guilt. While Hamlet was fully capable of bypassing this step by simply adhering to what he believes is the ghost of his father, Hamlet’s decision to unearth some sort of evidence that supports his father’s accusations is just one example of his cautious ways and need for certainty before action. However, such displays of caution find themselves juxtaposed with Hamlet’s bouts of impulsivity. One of the most telling illustrations of Hamlet’s rashness can be found in Act One, Scene Five, where he first conversing with the ghost of his father. Here, when the Ghost asks Hamlet to “revenge his foul and most unnatural murder,” Hamlet immediately agrees. In fact, within the next few lines Hamlet pledges he will “sweep to my revenge” with “wings as swift as meditation or the thoughts of love”. The fact that Hamlet coins this commitment to avenge his father’s murder without making much of any consideration of the possible repercussions of such an undertaking is one of the best representations of Hamlet’s impulsivity. This rash action, marked by a lack of extended over-analysis and internal debate, contrasts with the excessive caution Hamlet exhibits at many other points throughout the play. Ultimately, the interplay between Hamlet’s caution and impulsivity is one of the most notable juxtapositions of the play and serves to strongly steer the development, not only of
As the play goes on, Hamlet encounters his father's ghost. Upon discovering that his father's death wasn't natural, he says with much feeling that "Haste me to know't, that I with wings as swift/ As meditation, or the thoughts of love,/ May sweep to my revenge" (1.5.29-31). The ghost tells him that he was murdered by Claudius. His motives were his love for Gertrude, without her knowledge or consent. Hamlet is furious and seething with rage with the news of his father's murder. Knowing the truth makes Hamlet's subconscious realize that killing Claudius would be similar to killing himself. This is so because Hamlet recognizes that Claudius' actions of murdering his brother and marrying Hamlet's mother, mimicked Hamlet's inner unconscious desires. Hamlet's unconscious fantasies have always been closely related to Claudius' conduct. All of Hamlet's once hidden feelings seem to surface in spite of all of the "repressing forces," when he cries out, "Oh my prophetic soul!/ My uncle!" (1.5.40-41). From here, Hamlet's consciousness must deal with the frightful truth (Jones).
In Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet, Hamlet, a studious young man and Prince of Denmark, struggles to face the death of his father and the task to kill his father’s murderer, Claudius. He was once known as a charming, smart young man before his father’s death. However, Hamlet experiences depression and anger at the world, causing him to look outwardly on society but failing to look inwardly on himself. The death of his father and the task for vengeance leads him to question whether or not he should follow through in killing Claudius. He becomes a man of thought rather than a man of action. In addition, the delay of King Claudius’ murder leads the readers to believe that he wishes not to kill him; he
Further evidence of Hamlet's tragic flaw can be found in act III, scene 3. At this point, Hamlet is sure of Claudius' guilt, and has even declared that "Now could I drink hot blood and do such bitter business as the day Would quake to look on." (p. 99 lines 406-408) He comes to find King Claudius alone, and recognizes it as an opportunity to act, but almost immediately talks himself out of action on the bases that the King is praying, and will therefore go to heaven. He decides yet again to delay avenging his father's murder, this time until he can kill the King while he is in a vile condition, such as "When he is drunk asleep; or in his rage; Or in the incestuous pleasure of his bed." (p. 103 lines 89-90) Hamlet has failed to act for so long that the Ghost soon comes back to remind him of his duty.
In William Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet, the playwright introduces the compelling, complex, and complicated character of the Prince of Denmark, Hamlet. In the events of the play, Hamlet swears revenge against his uncle for the foul murder of his father, the king. However, despite his intense catalyst, Hamlet reveals to be continuously torn between his motive of revenge and conflicted conscience, generating an inability to carry out his desired actions. While Hamlet possesses the passion and intellect to murder his uncle, Claudius, his actual inclination to act upon the murder directly opposes that of his powerfully emotional contemplations (S.T. Coleridge). Hamlet’s overzealous thoughts become unrealistic compared to his actual endeavors throughout the play.
How does the use of comic relief best contrast the tragedy of Hamlet? In great works of literature a comic relief is used as contrast to a serious scene to intensify the overall tragic nature of the play or to relieve tension. As illustrated in Shakespeare’s tragedy Hamlet, intense scenes are joined with character’s banter and vacuous actions as to add a comic relief. In Hamlet, Polonius acts as a comic relief by his dull and windy personality, Hamlet uses his intelligence and his negativity toward the king and queen to create humor, while on the other hand Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are a comic relief by their senseless actions and naïve natures. Polonius, Hamlet, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are all used as a comic relief to
Claudius is paranoid by the death of Polonius and tries to find the body but cannot. Claudius asks Hamlet where he has taken Polonius and After some sarcastic and funny replies, Hamlet says that he took Polonius “up the stairs into the lobby.” The king guards to find the him and Claudius tells Hamlet that he is leaving to go to England, Hamlet says he dosent want to leave anymore and leaves Claudius to think about how he will get rid of hamlet. He wrote letters asking the English king, to kill Hamlet.
This, in turn, exploits Hamlet’s similar flaw of ego and furthers the conflict, but what’s more, it illustrates Claudius’ sheer audacity and lack of repentance. He continues to try to cover up the sin and appease Hamlet into complacency rather than confess and ask for forgiveness. In a mark of pure arrogance, Claudius tells Hamlet to “throw to earth / This unprevailing woe and think of us / As of a father”, conceitedly requesting that Hamlet merely forget the murder and replace his father with the murderer himself (I, ii, 110-112). Similarly, instead of directly confronting Hamlet about his mental condition, the king more or less hires Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to spy on the prince, again cementing his smug mindset. The king does not believe he can be caught or, rather, that Hamlet is competent enough to figure out his plan and foil him. Claudius, too, thinks only of himself after Hamlet’s inadvertent killing of Polonius, pondering “how shall this bloody deed be answered? / It will be laid to us” instead of considering the ramifications of the murder with respect to Hamlet (4.1.17-18). The other two paper-thin traps the king hatches only reinforce his failure to see beyond the apparent; his attempt to deport Hamlet to England and have him killed reeks of treachery and, luckily, Hamlet realizes the king’s subterfuge, crushing the plot and flipping it back on him. Claudius remains steadfast in his efforts to remove Hamlet, going so far as to set up a
In this long passage Hamlet explains a lot to us. He begins the quote with sorrow for his indecisiveness when he says he is like a whore unpacking his heart, meaning that he is talking and feeling pitiful instead of acting. Hamlet then tells us that the reason he hasn't killed the king yet is because he isn't sure if the vision is his real father or the devil trying to damn him. Then finally
In Hamlet, Shakespeare uses various characters to demonstrate the concept of passion versus reason. He uses his story to show the readers that passion and reason can both exist, but it is necessary to find a balance between the two. As evident in Prince Hamlet’s life, an overabundance of passion can be harmful to oneself and to others. Throughout the play, he faces an internal battle: he must choose between rationality and sentiment. This task becomes especially hard, however, when the ghost of Hamlet’s father comes back from the grave to share the horrible story of his murder. The late King has been poisoned and replaced by his own brother, Claudius, and, driven by sorrow and agony, Prince Hamlet decides to get revenge. Hamlet’s plan is to kill Claudius. This idea seems extreme. However, it is reasonable that the Prince would act irrationally as a coping strategy. In times of loss, especially after the loss of a parent, it is normal to experience overwhelming thoughts and sometimes “emotional issues” arise (“Adult Death of a Parent).
In Shakespeare's Hamlet, a ghost tells Hamlet that his uncle, Claudius, is responsible for the death of his father. Hamlet is driven to reveal the truth of his father's death and seeks to avenge his murder to achieve justice. In his quest to right the wrongdoing, Hamlet delays acting toward justice for many reasons. The main factor for Hamlet's hesitation is attributed to his self-discipline. He lacks of ability to act on his emotions. Hamlet is an intelligent, moral, and reserved character. He restrains himself to act rationally and not on emotion. This hesitation is a tragic flaw for Hamlet, but in order to resolve the truth, it is necessary.
With Hamlet’s tragic flaw being his inability to act, he is plagued throughout the play by his immense intelligence and philosophical nature, which causes him to overanalyze each situation, rendering him unable to carry out any action in response. This is evident in the play by the frequent delay of acting out his father’s revenge due to the uncertainty of the evidence pertaining to his uncle’s crime. Hamlet’s inability to act creates a discourse between hamlet and his consciousness, generating an abundance of stress, which causes him to become increasingly frustrated as the play progresses. This frustration leads to him at moments in the play to behave in a rash and impulsive way or acting in an inappropriate manner, contradicting his methodical and reserved disposition. It is the consequences of these “inappropriate” actions that resurfaces at the plays end, to haunt the character, as Hamlet’s inability to act while using his renowned logic and intelligence ultimately leads to his eventual demise at the plays conclusion, due to his inability to act both “effectively” and “appropriately” in critical situations.
This essay will discuss several literary criticisms of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. After skimming through several articles, I ended up with four peer-reviewed journal articles, each a different critical perspectives of the play: feminist, psychoanalytical/freudian, moral, and new historicism. My previous studies of Hamlet, as well as my rereading of the play this semester, has collectively given me a general knowledge of the text. My familiarity of the play made it easier for me to decipher the academic journals and see the connections each critic made with the play.