Hamlet Essay

891 Words4 Pages
In Shakespeare s Hamlet, the main character continually delays acting out his duty of avenging his father s murder. This essay will discuss how Hamlet s nature and prevent him from carrying out the task. In the opening scenes of the play, the Ghost of Hamlet s late father reveals to him the true means by which King Hamlet died. The Ghost tells Hamlet that his father s death was caused by Claudius pouring poison into his ear. He exhorts Hamlet to avenge the murder. Hamlet s initial response is to act on the Ghost s exhortation quickly. Hamlet says, “Haste me to know t that I with wings as swift May sweep to my revenge.” (1,5,29-31). Yet by the end of the same scene, his reluctance to murder King Claudius is evident. Hamlet says, “This time is out of joint, O cursed spite, that I was ever born to set it right.” (1,5,190-191). Immediately following Hamlet's conversation with the Ghost, he seems determined to fulfill the Ghost's wishes and swears his companions to secrecy about what has occurred. The next appearance of Hamlet in the play reveals that he has not yet revenged his father's murder. Hamlet gives a possible reason for his hesitation. "The spirit that I have seen May be a devil, and the devil hath power T' assume a pleasing shape." (2,2,560-563). With this doubt clouding his mind, Hamlet seems completely unable to act. Many theories have been put forward as to the reasons for Hamlet s delay in avenging the King from hereon in. One theory suggests that Hamlet wished to determine the nature of the Ghost before acting, for he says that “The spirit I have seen may be a devil.” (2,2,560-561). However, even after the play within a play through which Hamlet has obtained his proof as to the nature of the Ghost and confirmed that Claudius is guilty, Hamlet says, “I’ll take the Ghost’s word for a thousand pound,” (3,2,260-261) but fails to act and can only

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