Shakespeare's Hamlet revolves around the title character's undeniable obligation to immediately avenge his father's murder. Yet much time elapses before Hamlet slays his evil uncle, leading to a fundamental question: what causes the hero to delay before eventually managing to salvage retribution? The answer lies within Hamlet's fatal flaw. His reoccurring state of impractical contemplation renders him incapable of any decisive action that could have brought about a mercurial revenge. In Hamlet, the question of how to act is affected not only by rational considerations, such as the need for certainty, but also by emotional, ethical, and psychological factors.
A student whose studies are interrupted by his father's death, Hamlet is extremely philosophical and contemplative. He is particularly drawn to difficult questions or questions that cannot be answered with any certainty. Faced with evidence that his uncle murdered his father, evidence that any other character in a play would believe, Hamlet becomes obsessed with proving his uncle's guilt before trying to act.
The standard of "beyond a reasonable doubt" is simply unacceptable to him. This obsession will prove the thorn of Hamlet's master plan.
As the reader embarks on the first act,. The apparition of Hamlet's father informs the prince of his duty, "If thou didst ever thy father love...Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder"(I. iv. 25). Hamlet's worst fears of his uncle are confirmed. The ghost also exhorts Hamlet to act quickly for his is "Doomed for a certain term to walk the night...Till the foul crimes done in [his] days of nature are burnt and purged away" (I. v. 14). With these words, the Ghost throws the play in motion, for the rest of the story will be governed by Hamlet's quest for this revenge. With the message clear, if the prince is to truly ease...