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A Tragic Procrastination
Throughout centuries, many scholars have attempted to derive and make conclusions about concepts found in William Shakespeares Hamlet. One very popular argument arising from this is to as why the main character, Hamlet, consistently delays the murder of Cladius. Many questions arise from Hamlets revenge,or lack thereof, due to the fact that no one but Hamlet himself knows why he continually delays acting out his duty of avenging his fathers murder. As complex as the tragedy was, a limited amount of perfectly logical explanations can be drawn from it. Hamlets prolonged procrastination of the killing of his uncle was a result of truth lacking in his surroundings; his fear of the consequnces of murder; and the overzealous planning put into his deep and indictive plot.
To begin, Hamlets indecision in avenging his fathers death was a result of Hamlet lacking knowledge, more specifically, lacking truth of his surrounding atmosphere. He wishes to seek the truth in several different factors in his life, whether it be his uncle, his mother, or himself. In order for the truth to be revealed, Hamlet must seek out the truths within the people around him, such as his uncle, Claudius. From the very beginning, Hamlet questions the motives of his uncle Claudius, who has just married his mother, Gertrude. Hamlet is informed by the ghost of his deseaced father that his uncle was the murderer of his father. Hamlet questions the credibility of the ghost and proclaims,
The spirit that I have seen / May be a devil, and the devil hath power / T assume a pleasing shape (Shakespeare,Hamlet,II.II.605-608).
This shows proof that Hamlet is very uncertain about whether or not he should believe the ghost. He attempts to clarify the allegations put forth on his uncle by the ghost of his father. Thus, he lacks knowledge of the truth behind the murder of his father. In order to carry on with his revenge, he must be certain that it was Claudius before taking any action. He must also find out whether or not his mother knew about the
Hamlets lack of action might be accounted for by his fear of the consequences of murder. Hamlet is a young man with very little experienceHamlet is very uncertain of his afterlife and mortality
Hamlet also delays killing the King because he is unsure of the morality of carrying out such a task. This factor is important as Hamlet seems to be a very moralistic person. In the play, Hamlet debates the morality of revenge, At this stage it is clear that Hamlet is having serious doubts about killing the King. After all, to kill an anointed King, even in an act of revenge, was considered a serious offence. Furthermore, as Hamlet points out in the above quote, he would be carrying out the very act he was condemning. In addition, in regards to his mothers sin, the ghost had told Hamlet to “leave her to heaven.” This creates a moral dilemma for Hamlet because if it is Gods duty to deal with his Mothers sin, surely the same applies to Claudius.
Lastly, it could be argued that Hamlet simply overthought the killing of his deeply embittered uncle. Hamlet wants to make sure everything