Hamlet: the Hesitant Prince

Essay by MejDamHigh School, 10th gradeA-, March 2002

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The story of "Hamlet" is set in Denmark during the Elizabethan age. One of the perplexing questions in Shakespeare's Hamlet is why does Hamlet hesitate in the killing of his uncle Claudius. To answer this question one must look deep into the Price of Denmark's "hamartia" or "fatal flaw" is not only the inability to kill his uncle but his treatment of Ophelia, his madness, real or feigned and a mountain of other questions that arise due to his actions. Hamlet hesitates due to a sundry of reasons that must be examined to fully understand Hamlet's hesitation. One reason would be Hamlet's understanding the importance of human life.

Hamlet has been going to school his whole life; he is a full-time student even at the age of thirty. Throughout the play Hamlet questions life and death and to let live or take life away. In one of Hamlet's famous soliloquies he touches on these issues.

"To be, or not to be, that is the question: whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles..."(Shakespeare Act3 Scene1). To live or to die, a very deep thought which he analyzes in the soliloquy. Hamlet also states that he would have no trouble killing himself if it wasn't for God being against suicide. He acknowledges and accepts the views that preached through the Bible, and realizes to God the importance of life is high. So to take away life from someone he must be totally sure he is justified and thus hesitates often in the process of killing Claudius. In the graveyard scene the issue of death rears it's face again when he sees the skull of his old friend Yorick. "Alas, poor Yorick I...