Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade April 2001

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In William Shakespeare's play "Hamlet"�, Hamlet, the protaganist is faced with the moral delema of killing his step-father, and uncle Claudius. The message to kill Claudius came from the ghost, his father, old king Hamlet. Hamlet's reasoning behind promising to go about this harsh action was the fact that Claudius had killed his father. Hamlet's delay is caused by his prolonged reaction to the ghost's message. It is this delay which ultimately causes his and his mothers death. Hamlet must kill Claudius to maintain family honor, yet is faced with the moral and ethical dilemma of how to complete the task.

When Hamlet first encounters the ghost he realizes that the ghost has an important message for him. Since the ghost took the form of his father, old King Hamlet, he choses to follow it, disregarding Horatio's pleas to stay within the castle grounds. When Hamlet speaks to the ghost he is provided with the knowledge that his father had died at the hands of Claudius, the present king.

The ghost then tells Hamlet that he must murder Claudius in order to revenge his fathers death. "Hamlet is morally obligated to obey the Ghost"� (Prosser 242). At this point in history in order to keep the family honor in tact it was the son's duty to avenge his fathers death. Hamlet realizes that he is faced with the obligation of killing Claudius, yet his ethical being stops him from immediate reaction.

Haster me to know't; that I, with wings as swift/ As meditation or the thoughts of love,/ May sweep to my revenge. (I, V, 29-31) Hamlet swears that he will quickly avenge his fathers death, yet he does not know how to go about this task, therefore he beings to overthink his actions and the sitution, in turn...