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

Why does Hamlet delay in the revenge of his father's death?

Extracts from this document...


Nazira Begum 11QCO Question: Why does Hamlet delay in the revenge of his father's death? 'Hamlet' written by William Shakespeare very closely follows the dramatic conventions of a revenge tragedy. Seneca a playwright from Rome, who was a very influential playwright, was the pioneer of revenge tragedies. He established the norms for all revenge playwrights in the Renaissance era including William Shakespeare. During the Renaissance and Jacobean period revenge tragedies were very popular, and 'Hamlet' was a famous Shakespearean revenge tragedy. There are certain conventions of revenge tragedy, for instance the central figure dies in the end of the play, he faces an internal moral dilemma and he avenges the death of a close family member. 'Hamlet' incorporates all these conventions in one-way or another, which truly makes 'Hamlet' a typical revenge tragedy. Shakespeare's Hamlet is one of many heroes of the Elizabethan and Jacobean period who finds himself grievously wronged by a powerful figure, with no recourse to the law, and with a crime against his family to avenge. Although this is a revenge play, Hamlet continually delays acting, out of a sense of duty of avenging his father's murder. I am going to explore the reasons why Hamlet delays his father's death. There are so many theories that have been developed, why Hamlet delays in avenging his father's death. ...read more.


The King was appointed by God, for Hamlet to kill the King was like killing God. They believed that the King had devine existence. During the Elizabethan era, the general believe that the King had sovereign power and divine right was extensive. Hamlet believed in God, and he thought the ghost could not be real, the ghost could be a devil, and Hamlet cannot kill the King, who is appointed by God. It was hard to believe that the King was doing something deficient. "I hold my duty as I hold my soul,/ Both to my God and to my gracious King;" (i, ii, 44-45). This exhibits that people take the King as a God. Hamlet wanted more substantiation before taking a reaction. If Hamlet had killed King Claudius at the starting of the play, the King would have been considered a martyr. This would have been a murder and he would be punished. Throughout the play Hamlet is almost in a delirious state of mind. All the characters think he has gone mad. Polonius says, " I will be brief. Your noble son is mad" (ii,ii, 92). The Queen thinks that he is getting mad because of his father's death and her getting married to Claudius. The Queen says, " I doubt it is no other but the main,/ His father's death and our o'er-hasty marriage" (ii,ii,56-57). ...read more.


This fact is important, as Hamlet is a very idealistic and moralistic person. Ecclesiastical law, but the duty of personal honour prevalent in Elizabethan times prohibited revenge. Hamlet wants to break the cycle of medieval society, of killing others to revenge a relative's death. In the medieval society killing a person was accepted, that's if they went in defiance of wrong. Hamlet is having serious doubts about killing the King. After all, to kill an anointed King, even in an act of revenge, was considered as a serious offence. In addition, in regards to his mother's sin, the ghost had told Hamlet to "Leave her to heaven,/ And to those thorns that in her bosom lodge/ to pick and sting her." This creates a moral dilemma for Hamlet because it is God's duty to deal with his mother's sin; surely the same applies to Claudius. In conclusion, Hamlet delays in killing the King because of his own character; he is a philosopher, procrastinator and is of a melancholic disposition. External events in the play do not contribute to Hamlet's delay, but are rather used to Hamlet's advantage as excuses to further delay of avenging his father's murder. Hamlet constantly delays his revenge and always finds a way to put off until he finally commits the murder in Act V, scene 2, which also causes other characters death, in addition to his own. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE 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 GCSE Hamlet essays

  1. Compare the opening sections of Kenneth Branagh's and Franco Zeffirelli's film versions of Hamlet.

    Claudius then lays a sword ceremoniously on top of old Hamlet's closed coffin; this symbolising he was a fighting king. Gertrude then stumbles over to the coffin and drapes herself over it dropping her head as she sobs and weeps.

  2. Mighty opposites; Hamlet and Claudius.

    ''O most wicked speed, to post with such dexterity to incestuous sheets!'' Hamlet also uses the word 'villain' in one of his soliloquies to describe Claudius's ruthless, cruel character. The amount of punctuation in his soliloquy in comparison to the more flowing line of Claudius's long disjointed utterances creates the effect of someone struggling with his emotions.

  1. Sigmund Freud, father of psychoanalysis, used Shakespeare's character, Hamlet, in a letter written to ...

    Sexual innuendo and repressed Oedipal desires are highlighted throughout Olivier's Hamlet, but reach an establishing climax in the famous closet scene, after being insinuated several times by the visual of the sexually suggestive large empty bed. Although the bed may in today's society portray sexual innuendo and the general repressed

  2. Ophelia in William Shakespeare's Hamlet

    and Hamlet gives us the impression that as a woman, she is seen as a way of 'saving' Hamlet.

  1. "Hamlet is so much more than a traditional revenge tragedy"

    Hamlet puts on an 'antic disposition' at first, so that the king is not suspicious of him, and thus to facilitate his revenge. However, it only succeeds in isolating him further from the court and thus increases the king's scrutiny of him.

  2. What makes Hamlet a tragic figure? To what extent is he responsible for the ...

    Due to Hamlet's tragic flaw of obsession, he is unable to kill Claudius when the perfect opportunity comes along. When Hamlet sees Claudius praying, he thinks twice about killing him then and there, although it is the perfect chance for him to, because Hamlet thinks if he were to kill

  1. How Does Shakespeare Convey a Sense of Anomie in Hamlet Act 1, and to ...

    watch and the chief head of this post-haste and romage in the land." This lengthy passage explains that the late Hamlet took land previously belonging to Norway with force, and killed Norway's king. Now, Fortinbras (the son of the dead Norwegian king), seeks revenge, and has rallied up an army to take back the land lost by his father.

  2. Explore Shakespeare's presentation of Hamlet, his moods and motivations, through his soliloquies in Act ...

    What would he do, Had he the motive and the cue for passion That I have?..." However, Shakespeare also uses this soliloquy to present Hamlet's major flaw to the audience: his procrastination. The line beginning "...Yet I..." disturbs the regular rhythm of the soliloquy because Hamlet's mind is at its

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