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

Hamlet's Procrastination : a Study on his Failure to Act

Extracts from this document...


´╗┐Hamlet?s Procrastination: a Study on his Failure to Act Joseph Busat ENG4U Mrs. Dickson Holy Trinity Catholic Secondary School Monday, November 7th , 2011 Hamlet is a play written by William Shakespeare, between the years of 1599 and 1601, under the reign of King James I. The play, set in the kingdom of Denmark, recounts the tragic tale of how Prince Hamlet enacts revenge on his Uncle Claudius, for murdering his father, (King Hamlet), marrying Gertrude, (his widowed mother, King Hamlet?s wife), and succeeding to heir of the throne. The tragic flaw, (Hamartia), of the protagonist Hamlet, is arguably his procrastination in the enactment of his revenge. Throughout the play, Hamlet had many opportunities to avenge his father?s death by murdering Claudius; however, there was always seemed to be something restricting him. There are many reasons as to why Hamlet may have delayed the revenge: be it the fact that Hamlet feared the consequence of killing, maybe he doubted the ghost, it could be that Hamlet didn?t want to hurt his mother, or maybe even the fact that he was a renaissance Prince, and didn?t believe in violence. ...read more.


If Claudius would become hesitant, Hamlet would then know, the ghost spoke the truth: ?I'll have grounds / more relative than this - the play's the thing / wherein I'll catch the conscience of the king" (Shakespeare 2.2). Horatio observed that Claudius did react hesitantly, and therefore, Hamlet now knew that Claudius was guilty. Hamlet was quite religious. This is seen in the prayer scene: ?Now might I do it pat, now he is praying; /And now I'll do't. And so he goes to heaven; / And so am I revenged. That would be scann'd: / A villain kills my father; and for that, / I, his sole son, do this same villain send / To heaven.? (Shakespeare 3.3.77-82). This quote explains to the audience that Hamlet is very religious; he fears the result of killing. If he was to kill Claudius while Claudius himself was praying, Claudius would have been sent to heaven, (as his soul was cleansed), and Hamlet would have been forced to suffer the sin of killing. ...read more.


Most scholars tend to agree with the fact that the, ?Oedipus Complex,? seems to be most logical in the explanation of his procrastination; still, some critics believe that Hamlet simply thinks too much. He wants the murder of the King to be perfect. Claudius has to go to hell. The people have to know about the murderer Claudius. Hamlet spends too much time planning and not enough time doing; thus, making the King's murder more complicated than other murders he has orchestrated. This procrastination is ultimately responsible for the deaths of most major characters, and the entire outcome of the play. Had Hamlet enacted his revenge at the beginning of the play, the play as a whole would have been un-existent. Not until everybody is dying, including himself, does he realize that he should not have waited so long. He understands the consequences of his delay, and all of his pent-up rage explodes, and he murders the King; getting the revenge he was after from the beginning. It seems at this point, however, that it is no revenge at all, but simply the last tragic mistake of lifeless indecision. ...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. Scene by Scene - Hamlet.

    The spies leave with Hamlet. The king, alone, tells the audience that the letters instruct the King of England to kill Hamlet upon his arrival. IV.iv. Fortinbras's army crosses the stage, and Fortinbras drops a captain off to visit the Danish court. The captain meets Hamlet, Rosencrantz, and Guildenstern.

  2. How does Shakespeare use language to describe Claudius as a villain?

    brother everything that he, himself, desired; and so he made himself the god of his own universe and celebrates his power with the earthly thunder of cannons. Hamlet's insane killing of Polonius, however, puts an end to Claudius' hesitation. He can no longer deny Hamlet's extreme danger to him and

  1. "Hamlet is better at talking about delay than he is at doing it. Consider ...

    However, towards the end of the play he begins to voice the opinion that after death there is nothing. "Alexander died, Alexander was buried, Alexander returneth to dust; the dust is earth..." This shows the influences of Montaigne. Montaigne was a French writer who died whilst Shakespeare was in his late twenties, whose works leant towards Epicureanism.

  2. Criticism on Hamlet

    can abstract danger, the uncommonness will alone remain, and the sense of the ridiculous be excited. The close alliance of these opposites - they are not contraries - appears from the circumstance, that laughter is equally the expression of extreme anguish and horror as of joy: as there are tears

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