The Reluctance of Hamlet toward Killing Essay

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The Reluctance of Hamlet toward Killing in William Shakespeare's Hamlet

The reluctant character Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, has become one of the most cited characters in history. Throughout Shakespeare's play Hamlet knows what he must do, but avoids it in his mind. The problem is: why does hamlet delay in avenging his father's death? Hamlet is afraid. He is afraid of failure. Hamlet tries to play off his fear by blaming outside circumstances, like doubting the existence of the ghost when he knows in his heart it is true, and not having the right opportunity to exact revenge. What it all boils down to is a belief in himself, or lack of, that is a lack of self confidence. Hamlet's excuse of doubting the ghost is displayed in …show more content…

Hamlet knows the ghost is the ghost of his father, and is afraid to admit it. Hamlet tries to cover his fear of revenge up by acting as if he doubts the existence of the ghost. Another way Hamlet covers up his fear is by blaming the wait to kill Claudius on his lack of perfect opportunity. Once Hamlet believes that Claudius is truly the murderer he says, "And now I'll do't./ And so he goes to heaven,/ and so I am revenged./ That would be scanned: A villain kills my father, and for that./ I, his sole sun, do this same villain send,/ to heaven." (Act 3, Sc. 3, ln 78-83)(167) Hamlet can kill Claudius as soon as he chooses, but decides to wait to kill him and blames this on ensuring that Claudius's murder is valid and that he will not be elevated as a martyr or a victim. This is not necessary, Claudius' death must come and waiting is cowardly. Hamlet was ready to kill Claudius at one time, but Claudius was busy praying, and Hamlet says, "when he is drunk asleep, or in his rage,/ Or in th' incestuous pleasure of his bed,/ At game a-swearing, or about some act. That has no relish of salvation in't-/ Then trip him, that his heels may kick at heaven'/ And that his soul may be as damned and black/ As hell, whereto it goes." (Act 3, Sc. 3, ln. 94-100)(169) Hamlet is given a perfect opportunity to revenge his father's death while Claudius is praying, but Hamlet decides against it. Yet another display of his cowardliness. Hamlet has the

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