Hamlet’s motives rally between those of both revenge and justice, and it becomes this internal conflict which sets the pace of events throughout Shakespeare’s entire play. Revenge serves Hamlet as his initial goal in the pursuit for vindication of his father’s death. Soliloquy later reveals Hamlet’s torn sensibility and care for justice, which decelerates his ability to proceed in action against Claudius. Not until Hamlet confronts his own procrastination, does the inaction cease.
Hamlet defeats his inner struggle by melding opposing forces and internally justifying revenge. Hamlet does not initially have a strong enough will to act solely on revenge. Even though Hamlet had proclaimed that he would be “swift” and “sweep to my revenge,”In the “rogue and peasant slave” soliloquy, Hamlet admits that he has been “unpregnant of my cause” and wonders whether he is a “coward”. Not until Hamlet becomes completely fed up with his own inaction, does he finally examine the guilt of Claudius.
However this task is thwarted when Hamlet witnesses Claudius praying. His will is rationalized by the notion that Claudius’ soul might escape eternal damnation. Hamlet finally address his “dull revenge” in his climactic soliloquy admitting,” I do not know/ Why yet I live to say This thing’s to do/ Sith I have cause and will and strength and means/ To do’t” Here Hamlet finally swears against his previous inaction “O! From this time forth,/ My thoughts be bloody or be nothing worth”
Hamlet’s overly intellectual mind inhibits him from taking decisive action and he concedes this in two very important soliloquies . First in the “To be or not to be” soliloquy, Hamlet concludes, “Thus conscience does make cowards of us all/ And thus the native hue of resolution Is sicklied over with the pale cast of thought” While being exiled to England, hamlet thinks his procrastination is a result of ” some craven scruple/ Of thinking too precisely on the event” His insightful mind examines his problems to such an extent that it creates dilemmas rather than solving them.
Just as Hamlet would bloodlust killing Claudius, he would as soon preserve his own guilt by not doing so. It becomes this weak willed back and forth which slowly picks at every character surrounding Hamlet, surmounting to the last tragic scene in which all the most important characters die.