To Do, or Not to Do: Cowardice in Hamlet by William Shakespeare

770 Words Jun 25th, 2018 4 Pages
To Do, or Not to Do Hamlet is a coward. In the play Hamlet by William Shakespeare he delays avenging his father’s death. He is visited by his father in the form of a ghost. He is told by the ghost to get revenge and kill his uncle Claudius, because he murdered him and married his wife to become king. Hamlet experiences a tremendous amount of internal conflict throughout the play. He is constantly debating whether or not he should face his troubles. He goes through a lot of conflict throughout the play especially with his uncle/stepfather king Claudius. Hamlet is delayed by a combination of internal character traits and external obstacles because of his passive nature, doesn’t trust the ghost, the ghost gives him ambiguous instruction and …show more content…
Hamlet still does not act upon this as quickly as he claims, which shows that he is unable to step into action. Hamlet is unsure if he can trust the ghost. At that time ghosts were considered evil. So Hamlet was suspicious. He hated his uncle but wanted to take his time and not murder King Claudius without any proof. Hamlet didn’t want to take the ghosts word in case it was evil. He decided to find out if what the ghost is saying is true or not because Hamlet says “[…] 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” (2.2.624-629). In this quote, he is saying murder has no tongue, but miraculously it still finds a way to speak. He will have actors perform his father’s murder in front of his uncle. He will watch his uncle and see if he flinches. If he becomes pale, he will know what to do. Hamlet also says the ghost he saw may be the devil, and the devil has the power to assume a pleasing disguise, and so he may be taking advantage of his weakness and sadness to bring about his damnation. He needs better evidence than the ghost to work with. The play’s the thing to uncover the conscience of the king. This shows that Hamlet thinks that the ghost is a devil. Hamlet decides to investigate the murder and finds out that the ghost was right about King Claudius murdering his
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