Shakespeare's Hamlet: A Man Of Action Or A Man Of

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Matt Garibaldi AC English 4 Mr. Venza April 19, 2002 Shakespeare's Hamlet: A Man of Delay or a Man of Action? Shakespeare's tragic play Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, addresses the dilemma that all avengers face. Avengers confront extraordinery challenges that imperil their safety, integrity, and mental stability. Within the play, the poet portrays his heroic revenge-seeker as one of good ethics and morals, one that has the "capacity to strive for constructive goals" (Problematic Revenge in Hamlet and King Lear). As a good and moral avenger, Hamlet is bound to meet certain self-requirements necessary to take his revenge. The necessity to abide by these conditions forces Hamlet to seek moral justification for his deed, and this search spends valuable time. Hamlet (and many Shakespearean scholars as well) interprets this spent time as his time of delay; in other words, a period of inaction. Thus Hamlet feels like a cowardly failure, and he continually reprimands himself for what he perceives as his personal flaw.

In reality though, there exists no tragic flaw of delay at all. Rather, tragedy stems from the emotionally trying circumstances in which the young prince is placed. Because the hero feels so overwhelmed by his situation, he spends much of his precious time in evaluation of it. As a result, he feels like a "pigeon-livered" coward and blames himself for what he calls his making sickly the "hue of resolution" (2.2.547, 3.1.84). Throughout the play, Hamlet constantly chides himself for what he perceives as delay. In reality though, he is too enveloped in his present circumstance to realize that there exists no delay at all, but rather methodic action.

In Act I Scene 5, an apparition of Hamlet's father (Hamlet I) appears to inform his son of his death and puts forth the tasks of...