Why Does Hamlet Delay?

Why Does Hamlet Delay? "Vengeance is mine. I will repay, says the Lord." I want to attribute the cause of Hamlet's procrastination in carrying out the noble mission, top this fantastic theory, which exercised a major influence on the earlier Elizabethan revenge plays beginning from Gorboduc to The Spanish Tragedy. Of course, I do not over simplify the idea to say that Hamlet delays in taking revenge because Fate makes him do so; what I would state is that in Hamlet Shakespeare tried to give a new dimension to the traditional revenge theme by subjecting it to human consideration, philosophic speculation and ignoring the authority of Providence. It is, I think, the Renaissance, which inspired the playwright to emphasize the human viewpoint by focusing on the greatness of man - "What a piece of work is a man, how noble in reason, how infinite in faculties, in form and moving how express and admirable, in action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a god ......" But to his disillusionment he found that human endeavor is not enough; man cannot execute revenge to establish justice willingly; it is the business of Providence - "Ay, heaven will be reveng'd of every ill." [Thomas Kyd: The Spanish Tragedy (III: xiii)] Shakespeare shows this human failure by picturing Hamlet as a modern man - a man of complex psychology, reflective philosophy and existentialist

  • Word count: 1361
  • Level: GCSE
  • Subject: English
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