Hamlet Essay
Essay Preview: Hamlet Essay
Report this essay
Topic: Why does Hamlet delay in taking his revenge?
“No place indeed should murder sanctuarize; revenge should have no bounds.” (iv, vii, 128-129). Revenge comes from intense hatred, anger and determination. Hamlet, the tragedy of the “melancholy” Dane was written by more than four hundred years ago by English playwright William Shakespeare, never seems to slow down, much less to stop and rest. The play itself demonstrates explicitly the dark side of human nature: dishonesty, betrayal, scheming, spying, abuse, aggression, and war. Revenge, being one of the important themes, plays a crucial role in the book. Throughout the years critics have fiercely disputed Hamlets indecision about avenge his fathers murder. What makes him too slow to respond to his revengeful will? In this essay, this will be addressed. Some original views will be offered and based on these ideas; a possible understanding of Hamlets delay will be suggested.

First of all, in the book reading on Hamlet, noted Shakespearean experts Louis B. Wright and Virginia A. LaMar of the Folger Shakespeare Library believe that “Hamlet, possessed of a finely trained intellect, is a man with a philosophic approach to life. He has been at the University of Wittenberg, where he has engaged in the subtleties of intellectual speculation. By training, such a man learns to analyze problems, and his responses are never automatic because his decisions come after contemplation rather than impulse.” They further point out that, “If Hamlets methods of working out his problems are indirect and time-consuming; he is merely following the pattern of behavior of the thoughtful and speculative type of thinker.” They are trying to explain that Hamlet is a well organized and calculating person who is seeking and waiting for the best moment for his revenge, they strongly affirm that this is the main reason for Hamlets manner of postponing his fathers revenge. We can see how manipulative he is in act iii scene ii where he designs the play “mousetrap” in attempt to catch Claudiuss secret, and he succeeds. Although he might be an outstanding individual, Hamlet himself is definitely not as “thoughtful and calculating” as they think he is. In the story there are moments for which Hamlet being irrational. The murder of Polonius is the most annoying and unexpected scene in the play, followed by the scene when Hamlet refuses to kill Claudius as he is praying. Hamlets rash, frantic action in stabbing Polonius exhibits his potential inability to control his thoughts, emotions and actions, which could be considered his tragic flaw. In his passive, thoughtful state of mind, Hamlet is confused and slowed down by complex moral considerations and uncertainties to avenge his fathers death by murdering Claudius, even if the chance is right in front of him. But when he chooses to act, he executes so carelessly, so blindly, stabbing his anonymous “enemy” through a curtain. Obviously this is not a part of his plan. He does it just because at that moment he loses control of himself; in other words, he doesnt know what he is doing. This example has completely made the argument becomes literally vague and unconvincing. Hamlets indecision to his revenge must have included some other factors. Also the question is: what makes Hamlet behaves so unpredictably and randomly?

Perhaps the question can be answered according to the book Understanding Hamlet, published by a reputable Shakespearean scholar, Don Nardo, “At his best, he possessed qualities and abilities typical of renaissance ideal of gentlemen only since his fathers death has he succumbed to melancholy which has temporarily made him apathetic and slow to act.” To be more specific, the death of Hamlets father is not the only factor that contributes to his disconsolate. In fact, at the beginning of the play, Hamlet suffers from succession of shocks: the unnatural and accidental death of his idolized father; the over-haste marriage of his mother, and the astonishing discovery of his uncle murdered his beloved father – all these have combined to make him temporarily or even permanently irrational and disconsolate, for he is loyal to his family. Just as Claudius said in act iv, “when sorrows come, they come not single spies, but in Battalias!” (iv, v, 76-77). In scene ii act ii Hamlet tells Rosencrantz and Guildstern that “I have of late – but wherefore I know not – lost all my mirth, forgone all custom of exercises: and indeed it goes so heavily with my disposition that this goodly frame, the earth, seems to me a sterile promontory.” The air and sky should fill him with joy, but instead, they appear to him “a foul and pestilent congregation of vapor”. His world is full of intense grief and darkness:

O God, God! How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable
Seem to me all the uses of this world!
Fie ont, ah fie! Tis an unweeded garden
That grows to seed. Things rank and gross in nature
Possess it merely. That it should come to this. (i, ii, 132-137)
In this soliloquy, Hamlet describes his life as “like a garden that no ones taking care of, and thats growing wild. Only nasty weeds grow in it”. Such pessimistic line appears repeatedly in play and clearly, his frustration and anger towards these “unfortunate” incidents, and helplessness stem from his bitterness about the unhappy turns his life has taken, especially when his father has been murdered; the murderer has usurped the throne. At the same time he feels ashamed, disgusted and even furious about the marriage between his mother and the villain. To him the center of his world collapses due to the destruction of his family and corruption of the entire Danish kingdom. As a result these feelings have preoccupied him from his revenge. His mind undergoes serious severe pain and sorrow like unrest waves, and he apparently is unable to turn his mental state back to he used to be. However, it is still not able to provide a strong and legitimate reason why in act iii scene iii Hamlet once had the chance to give Claudius, the villain a fatal strike while he was in his prayer.

Paul A. Santor, a scholar of University of Virginia, explores the theme of Christianity that permeates Hamlet and profoundly affects the thoughts and actions of the main character. In his essay Hamlets Christian stifle his heroic impulse, concisely states that, “Hamlet is constrained by his Christian beliefs about a mysterious afterlife and possible divine retribution for certain earthly

Get Your Essay

Cite this page

Hamlets Indecision And Act Iii Scene Ii. (April 16, 2021). Retrieved from https://www.freeessays.education/hamlets-indecision-and-act-iii-scene-ii-essay/