Hamlet play a very important role in this play. Basically the whole play revolves around him. In this play Hamlet is faced with the obligation to kill Claudius because Claudius has killed his father. Some people see Hamlet as a tragic hero with a clear and sacred obligation to kill Claudius but since he is scared to kill him and has many other things going on in his life, he is unable to kill Claudius right away. Throughout the entire play Hamlet procrastinates on killing Claudius. Why does Hamlet procrastinate for so long to revenge his father’s death?
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 the play would not have become a tragedy. There are many reasons for Hamlet’s long delay. Some reasons which include not being unable to commit the murder are Hamlet’s fear of what would happen if he did kill Claudius, his concience bothering him for taking the life of his uncle, his disbelief in the ghost, and because of his facination with death.
The most important reason that him back from committing the murder is if Hamlet were to carry out what the Ghost told him and carried out immediate revenge, how would Hamlet be 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 decision he should make, but if he would be able to make any at all. Hamlet could have also lost his desire for revenge because of his constant sadness.
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 why he is unable to make decisions throughout the play. Hamlet seems to say what he wants to do but not carry it out. 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 shows that when Hamlet thinks he has finally made a decision, thinking about it causes him to change his mind or simply put it off.
One time in the play 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. This is something that Hamlet does not want to see happen. Of course, there are also moral issues standing in the way, which prevent Hamlet from immediately acting upon the Ghost’s orders. Hamlet always finds a way out of what he was about to do because he ends up thinking about it for too long.
When is seems like Hamlet finally makes a decision, he quickly finds a reason to find fault in his decision. This makes him become a person who is has a purpose, but doesn’t have the quality required to accomplish that purpose. Most of these issues are simply due to Hamlet’s reading in to morals too much. When Hamlet sees how promptly Polonius acted towards the death of his father in scene II, he quickly denounces himself as a coward and cries out for vengeance: “Bloody, bawdy villain! Remorseless, treacherous, lecherous, kindless villain! O, vengeance! ”(II. ii. 8-610) it is at this point where Hamlet reveals his plan to catch the conscience of the King.
Again, 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, even though this goes against all Christian teachings. Hamlet therefor, gets confused because he is a man that believes in heaven and hell and whose thinks that any man who commits murder must face his punishment.
Also, according to Shakespeare, a Ghost is “a spirit damn’d” which would lead to the idea that Hamlet should not take vengeance into his own hands. When Hamlet does accept what the Ghost tells him to be true, he thinks about it long time, expecting to do the deed immediately, but instead drags it on until the end of the play. In stress and in powerful emotion, Hamlet makes a positive identification of the Ghost as “King, father; royal Dane. “(I. iv. 45) Hamlet’s hasty decision to accept the Ghost as his father, give him second doubts later on in the play.
Hamlet’s fascination with death played a large role in the delay of the death of Claudius. In act I scene ii, when Hamlet is alone he expresses his innermost thoughts and were it not against God’s law, he would commit suicide, because according to him, his world has become “weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable. ” Not only because he has just lost a king and a father, but because his mother has just married a man much inferior to King Hamlet, who got married less than two months after his death. In Hamlet’s famous soliloquy he discusses how death would be the brave thing to do; “To die; to sleep;- To sleep?
Perchance to dream!. . . ”(III. i. 64-68) Yet at the same time Hamlet makes it sound almost like a fear; “But that the dread of something after death, The undiscover’d country from whose bourn No traveller returns, puzzles the will . . .. (III. i. 78-80)” Then again if Hamlet has talked to the Ghost who has told him of the necessary purgatory why does he question it? Or maybe, if Hamlet believes that death is an escape, he does not want to let Claudius escape, instead forcing him to live with himself and what he has done.
Forcing Claudius to live with his conscience bothering him. Hamlet’s fear does not play a that important of a role in the procrastination of taking revenge however. The only major fear in Hamlet is that of people finding out what he is thinking. For this reason he plays the role of a madman so that whatever he says wouldn’t be taken seriously. He must even convince Ophelia of his insanity in order to make sure nothing is revealed. “You should not have believ’d me, for virtue cannot So innoculate our old stock but we shall relish it.
I loved you not. ”(III. i. 118-120) Hamlet’s fear drives him to explain how all of man is corrupted. Since the fall of Adam and Eve, no one can escape corruption. This fear drives him to obtain what he feels must be obtained; revenge. Fear is also what prevents him from acting upon the Ghost’s wishes. He is afraid that if he acts too quickly, he will be unable to obtain enough evidence that he has justifiably acted upon revenge. Thus the reason why Hamlet procrastinated to revenge his father’s death.