• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Hamlet is a thinker not a man of action." With particular reference to Hamlet's soliloquies and actions, how far to you agree with this statement?

Extracts from this document...


"Hamlet is a thinker not a man of action." With particular reference to Hamlet's soliloquies and actions, how far to you agree with this statement? Hamlet's one mission in the play is to revenge the death of his father by killing Claudius, however his procrastination leads to his untimely death, the deaths of many others in the Danish court and the relinquishment of Denmark to Fortinbras. Hamlet's first words show a desire of revenge towards Claudius "A little more than kin and less than kind." But later in his soliloquy we see that he is actually closer to killing himself, than killing Claudius or the perpetrator: "O that this too too sullied flesh would melt, / Thaw and resolve itself into a dew," He doesn't even contemplate killing Claudius; he hopes that the situation will resolve itself, which it never will, showing his unwillingness to act. This soliloquy also shows that he is not the bravest of people, as he cannot tell his mother how he really feels, another restrictive character trait when trying to revenge someone: "But break, my heart for I must hold my tongue." In his soliloquy straight after Hamlet's conversation with the Ghost he seems determine to kill his uncle, "thy commandment alone shall live / Within the book and volume of my brain." ...read more.


The fact that he has not confronted Claudius four months after confirmation from the ghost that Claudius is the guilty party shows that he is definitely a thinker. Hamlet's soliloquy at the start of Act 3 still shows his overwhelming desire to think, particularly about suicide "To be or not to be". The fact that he is still has time for soliloquies, and that he is not trying to hunt Claudius down and kill him, shows that he is definitely a thinker. Hamlet shows a lack of self knowledge as he cannot, as he intended in Act 1 sc 5 "with wings as swift / As meditation or the thoughts of love / May sweep to my revenge." Instead he broods on his father's death and even when he gets proof from Claudius's reaction to the Mouse Trap play, "I'll take the ghost's word for a thousand pound." He hesitates and needs further spurring by the ghost in Act 3 "to whet thy almost blunted purpose." Hamlet has the perfect opportunity to kill Claudius in Act 3 sc 3, but again he procrastinates, letting himself think about what will happen to Claudius' soul "A villain kills my father, and for that I, his sole son, do this same villain send to heaven." ...read more.


/ Follow my mother." His action here was done purely, without any thought. As he dies Hamlet names Fortinbras as his successor to the throne of Denmark. He admires Fortinbras as a man of action, seeing that that is what his country needs to return stability to it, "I do prophesy th'election lights / On Fortinbras. He has my dying voice." The time frame of the play helps to reinforce the impression of time passing. Individuals in the play travel from Denmark to Norway, Poland and England, from the court to the countryside. Contrasting the activity of Laertes and Fortinbras with the prolonged inactivity of Hamlet. As the hero in this tragedy Hamlet doesn't have one, sole, character flaw that leads to his untimely death. He is a thinker involved in a dilemma that can only be solved successfully by a man of action. His inability to act swiftly and decisively without high motivation in connection with his father's murder brings havoc to the Danish court, his own death and the death of many others in the court. If he had been a man of action Claudius would have been killed months before. ?? ?? ?? ?? Rob West 10W 10/05/2007 English Miss Kitson Page 1 of 3 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Hamlet section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Hamlet essays

  1. With special reference to the main soliloquies, trace the development of Hamlet's character in ...

    In line 65-66 he says 'To sleep-perhance to dream...' which could mean that he is hoping that the sleep will end his life and that being alive itself is a calamity. In line 64 it is his religious wish that the sleep will end his life as sleep is the cousin of death.

  2. Explore how and why Shakespeare presents thought and actions in the first two acts ...

    The war of words is apparent in this scene between the two characters of Claudius and Hamlet as is the audience's sense that both of these characters know the truth but due to political concerns and fear of confrontation they do not openly say it, thereby highlighting once again the

  1. Hamlet’s dilemma.

    Calderwood further proposes that how are we to act within a tainted world without becoming tainted oneself? How, on the other hand, not to act without suffering the stigma of betrayal? As a result, Hamlet's solution for the moment is to take refuge in the cleft between the action and inaction.

  2. How do the actions of the protagonists in 'Broken April', and 'The Thief and ...

    Said Mahran, the protagonist of The Thief and the Dogs, has made his own choices. He is not forced to take his chosen path, as in the case of Gjorg. He is an ex-thief who was betrayed by his own minions.

  1. The problem or the tragedy of Hamlet is not that he is a thinker ...

    Even so, he is abusing his 'right' as a male in a society where men were dominant, and women to a certain extent controlled by them. Ophelia has to do as her father says, and on top of this Laertes and Hamlet attempt to impose their views upon her as dominant males in society.

  2. Criticism on Hamlet

    steep and thorny way to heaven; Whilst, like a puff'd and reckless libertine, Himself the primrose path of dalliance treads, And recks not his own rede .4 When her father, immediately afterwards, catechises her on the same subject, he extorts from her, in short sentences uttered with bashful reluctance, the

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work