Hamlet- His Procrastination and Its Causes

Essay by EggyHigh School, 11th gradeA+, March 2004

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Hamlet, by William Shakespeare, is one of the most celebrated plays in the English language. Throughout the play, Hamlet struggles with the death of his father and the swift remarriage of his mother to his father"'"s brother. In Act I, scene iv, his father"'"s ghost appears, urging Hamlet for revenge over his untimely murder (committed by his own brother). Taken aback by shock, Hamlet agrees with to revenge, '"'...with wings as swift / as meditation or the thoughts of love'"' (I.iv.29-30). After this visitation however, many critics proclaim Hamlet procrastinates action for various reasons. Some relate his delay to his high intellect and over analysis of the situation; others declare his lack of courage caused his inaction. Two of the strangest interpretations include the following: that Shakespeare penned the delayed simply for the purpose of having a five-act play, and that Hamlet was truly '"'a woman is disguise!'"' ('"'Hamlet: His Own Falstaff'"' 12).

Regardless of the various reasons attributed to the hesitation, his delay is especially noticeable because it lies in stark contrast to Fortinbras"'" and Laertes"'" passionate desire for their respective fathers"'" revenge. As Curtis Perry articulates, '"'[Hamlet"'"s] hesitation stands out as all the more unusual'"' due to the others unmatched need for vengeance ('"'Thematic and Structural Analysis'"' 22).

Many take a very literal interpretation of the play and maintain that many of that situations in which Hamlet delays were a necessary and essential step in the process of revenge. An example lies in Hamlet"'"s first confrontation with the Ghost. Upon seeing the Ghost"'"s image, Hamlet remarks, '"'Be thou a spirit of health or goblin damned, / Bring with thee airs from heaven or blasts from hell, / Be thy intents wicked or charitable, / Thou com"'"st in such a questionable shape / That I will speak to thee'"'...