Why does Hamlet not act?

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I need help in understanding "why does Hamlet not act?" I know that it probably has something to do with taking revenge, but it's hard for me to understand everything going on in the play coz of the language. can someone please help me in finding at least a dozen quotes throughout the play that would in some way help to answer the question? thank you so much in taking the time to read this.

-- Taylor Elcott (elmoni@yahoo.com), April 23, 2001


At Wittenberg, Hamlet clearly has received a 16th C education grounded in intellectual humanism - which encouraged contemplation more than action and civic involvement. This is tempered with his protestant-leaning Christianity (cf his comments concerning worms as animal for diet: the Diet at Worms in 1520 was where Luther was summoned to defend himself before Charles V; + Wittenberg was where Luther taught and posted his theses on the Cathedral door) Christianity frowns on revenge and Hamlet is constantly trying to obtain proof and justification ("grounds more relative" II.ii.615 - 616) for himself for committing it. Even "the Mousetrap" play is not conclusive because the murderer in it is "one Lucianus, NEPHEW to the king" (III.ii.250). Claudius could therefore theoretically be angry at the thought that Hamlet is planning to kill him. The audience knows for sure this is not the case, thanks to Claudius' speech III.iii.35ff, but Ha

-- catherine england (catherineamer@hotmail.com), October 01, 2001.

Hamlet "does not act" because he is not sure if the ghost is really his father back from the dead or just a lying fiend, throughout the play Hamlet tries to find evidence of Claudius' guilt and comes up with a master plan to prove that Claudius really did murder his Father.

-- Tim Boshart (Timmer82@hotmail.com), April 12, 2002.

Hamlet is torn between nature and business, character and politics, his own nature and learning. The world is out of joint but Hamlet -- wrong personality, thinks things through, wants real reasons for things-- is the one drafted to set it right. Claudius, on the other hand is to double business bound. With him, discretion and naturue fight but he does what has to be done politically.

-- Carole McDonnell (Oreoblues@aol.com), December 02, 2002.

But (more often!) Claudius also does just what suits his own personal ends.

-- catherine england (catherine_england@hotmail.com), December 02, 2002.

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