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

What, in your opinion, were Hamlet's reasons for delaying the killing of the King in Shakespeare's 'Hamlet'?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Q. What, in your opinion, were Hamlet's reasons for delaying the killing of the King in Shakespeare's 'Hamlet'? A. Revenge tragedies have captivated audiences worldwide long before the time of Shakespeare. In reality Hamlet - supposedly a Shakespeare original - has its roots in the celebrated Danish story of Amleth from the twelfth Century. Critics have also drawn many conclusions that 'Hamlet' was a re-make or Shakespeare's version of Thomas Kyd's famous 'The Spanish Tragedy'. Like 'The Spanish Tragedy' and the many other revenge tragedies of that time, Hamlet too consisted of the stock conventions of revenge tragedies like the ghost, the crime done in secret, the play-within-the-play, a male lead who stimulates madness and a heroine who goes mad and commits suicide. Yet there was and is something very different about the tale of 'Hamlet'. This play has managed to keep audiences and critics alike questioning themselves and the world around them. Hamlet's delay in the killing of the King is another aspect that make 'Hamlet' one of the most intriguing plays that explore human nature. Revenge tragedies, especially the ones about murder were extremely popular with the Elizabethan audience. This was more or less because they were forbidden to commit revenge, let alone murder, in their lives. The church forbade it and it was silently agreed upon that if the revenge seeker pursued his aim then he must die too. This is why all the revenge tragedies of that time concluded with the protagonist dying. To me it seems as if Hamlet has been continually delaying avenging his father's murder. Ideas of mere procrastination surface when Hamlet is compared to the young Prince Fortinbras. ...read more.

Middle

Hamlet is torn between his duty as a son and his responsibility towards his moral beliefs. This brings us to look at Hamlet's character as a reason for his delay in the killing of the King. Hamlet's character is what made the whole play very different from the other revenge tragedies of that time. Hamlet's character is one of Shakespeare's most complex characters. Perhaps this is why he is a source of fascination to most of his audience as well as critics. His humanity makes him a very appealing personality. He symbolizes what many of us are constantly doing - asking questions. Unanswered questions are silently asked throughout the play like whether or not Queen Gertrude was a conspirator in King Hamlet's murder, whether the King's spirit is friendly or a demon or whether Ophelia dies accidentally or commits suicide. Hamlet's ironical situation probably made the audience more interested in the outcome. Hamlet would be the very last person imaginable in the play to commit murder. Yet he is the one who is assigned the role of an avenger. This adds to the many reasons why there is substantial delay before the actual deed is committed. His situation - or rather his reaction to the situation - make the play on the whole very intriguing. Shakespeare needed Hamlet's humanity to capture and sustain the audience's interest in the play. If all were as easy as it seemed, and the characters had no development in their roles, the play would have been over in the first Act itself. But this would not have made it one of the most successful revenge plays in the history of English Literature. ...read more.

Conclusion

His wordings lead us to believe that the quintessential philosopher. But many have asked the reason to why Hamlet, being the sensitive person he was, kills Rosencrantz and Guildenstern and Polonius. I feel that these murders were done in a fit of rage. We have seen how Hamlet seems to go with the moment for a short while and then come back to reality, without any substantial action taken. I believe the same thing happened here. When hamlet discovered that there was someone behind the curtain he, perhaps impulsively, killed the person, in a fit of rage. As for Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Hamlet probably sent them off too their death to get them out of the way. He believed that they would be a hindrance to his revenge. There are, throughout the play, many reasons as to why Hamlet delayed the killing of the King until the last scene. Some critics even believe that he only did manage to kill the King at the end because the King poisoned his mother. He took revenge for his mother's, not father's murder. There are many justifications for Hamlet's delay and they can be interpreted into whether he was just procrastinating or whether they were truly understandable basis for delay. In conclusion I feel that Hamlet delays the King's murder because of his own character. If he were more like Laertes or Fortinbras the play could have had a different conclusion. But his character - or rather his mind - stood in the way even when he had many an opportunity to kill Claudius. External events might not fully contribute to Hamlet's delay but can be - and perhaps were - used as a reason or an excuse to further delay avenging his father's murder. ...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.

    Now Polonius tells a lie. He emphasizes that he had no knowledge of Hamlet's romantic interest in Ophelia until she told him and gave him the love letter. Polonius then truthfully tells how he forbade Ophelia to see or accept messages from Hamlet.

  2. Comparing the revengers Fortinbras, Laertes and Hamlet.

    'I'm lost in it, my lord. But let him come; It warms the very sickness in my heart, That I shall live and tell him to his teeth, Thus diddest thou'. (Act IV, Scene VII Lines 53-56). Laertes is very active in his thoughts of revenge, he doesn't hold back; this is very different to Hamlet's behaviour.

  1. Critical review of 'Hamlet'

    His behaviour is that of a child who feels resent towards a stepfather. He rejects her attempt to build a family together. He reminds her of exactly who she is and disowns her through their wordplay. For the first time, is able to reprimand her for her actions and is a real show of his anger.

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

    She was just "an ordinary girl, who loved her boy" in the words of Jan Kott, and her Christian burial after her possible suicide (which was considered a sin in Elizabethan times) would certainly have been seen by a contemporary audience as proof of her purity in comparison to the Danish court.

  1. The Spirit that I have seen/may be a devil Can we be quite sure ...

    Protestants who would have been present in Shakespeare's audience will have assumed that the ghost was the devil as they would not have believed in purgatory. The idea that the Ghost is an ambiguous and contradictatory character is reinforced in Act One Scene Five when the ghost thrives on his

  2. Examine how Shakespeare presents the female characters in 'Hamlet' and what the response of ...

    It must also be noticed that the protective role of a father over his daughter, and a brother over his sister would not be thought of as abnormal in today's society. It is the extent to which this protectiveness is present, and the fact that Ophelia shows no intention to

  1. Show how Prince Hamlet was not entirely rotten but more of a product of ...

    Greek and Roman belief systems varied greatly from Christian ones as they believed themselves to be God-like, whereas in the Renaissance Christian belief system there was an hierarchy of such power where God was placed at the top and then kings and man etc.

  2. Criticism on Hamlet

    Act V. Scene i. (V. i. 84-5.) This might be the pate of a politician, which this ass o'er-offices. In the quarto, for over-offices is, over-reaches, which agrees better with the sentence. I believe both the words were Shakespeare's. An author in revising his work, when his original ideas have

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