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Why does Hamlet delay in his revenge?

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Introduction

Why does Hamlet delay in his revenge? Hamlet is a play about revenge. It is a tragedy and the play explores the flaws in Hamlet's character that lead up to his death. Hamlet is set in the state of Denmark, Denmark is seen as a rotten state at the time, 'Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.' This makes the audience aware that evil and corruption rule in the state of Denmark and seeing as Hamlet is the hero of the play it is seen as his job to conquer this evil. Hamlet sees Denmark as a prison, 'Denmark's a prison.' Hamlet says this because he feels that the state of Denmark is a restricting place that fails to provide the intellectual needs of Hamlet, he also says this because Denmark is full of criminals. The play explores the corruption within the society, which spreads and eventually destroys itself. Hamlet starts of the play as innocent and moral; however, with the corruption of the people around him later on in the play Hamlet also becomes dishonest. Many people assume that the first line in Shakespeare's plays sets the scene for the rest of the play. ...read more.

Middle

In act 2 Hamlet is angry because he feels that he cannot show his affections in his mourning for his father's death, 'What would he do, had he the motive and the cue for passion that I have?' Hamlet is wondering why he cannot sweep to his revenge and why his emotions stay bottled. This emphasis the tragedy of Hamlet, Shakespeare is exploring the flaws in Hamlet's character and how he fails to sweep to his revenge. Shakespeare emphasises this by showing contrasts between Hamlet and other characters in the play (most notably Laertes and Fortinbras). In Act 3 Hamlet has the chance to act on his revenge as he sees Claudius alone, he does not act because Claudius is praying and if he did kill him then he would go to heaven so Hamlet delays his revenge. In this act Hamlet contemplates suicide, 'To be, or not to be, that is the question' this soliloquay of Hamlet's is very philosophical as he asks whether it is better to be dead rather that to face the problems of life. In this soliloquay Hamlet claims that it is thinking which prevents us from action, 'Thus conscience does make cowards of us all,' could this be the reason for which Hamlet delays his revenge? ...read more.

Conclusion

Hamlet then finally kills Claudius by making him drink from the poisoned cup. These are all consequences of Hamlet delaying his revenge and ultimately leading to his death. So why does Hamlet delay his revenge? Many reasons have been put forward such as; Hamlet is a coward, he does not believe the ghost, he did not wish to strike Claudius whilst he was praying or even just that Shakespeare was writing a bad play. However, my own personal view is that Hamlet delays his revenge because he is too philosophical and thinks things through, as he mentions this in a soliloquay in both Act 3 and Act 4. Hamlet was seen as a modern man and my theory is that although Shakespeare was exploring the flaws in Hamlet's character and how he fails to react, but I also believe that Shakespeare is exploring the nature of how a corrupt society can spread and destroy an honest man such as Hamlet. I feel that the death of Hamlet was just part of the consequences of having a corrupt society. Hamlet was an honest and a modern man and I believe Shakespeare was exploring how a corrupt society can squander 'modern' thinking by changing and destroying a logical man. Maybe this could be a mirror of Shakespeare and his 'corrupt society'? David Alison ...read more.

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