Reasons for Hamlet's delay : LUSENET : Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet : One Thread

Why does Hamlet delay in avenging his fathers death?

-- Louis Tomlin (, February 16, 2003


This was the conclusion my English teacher and I came to, however I must warn you that I am a Grade 12 student and have only been studying the play for three weeks, but anyway, here goes:

Hamlet wants to be absolutely sure that he is doing the right thing by listening to the ghost and avenging his father's death. After all, it could be a trick of the Devil (end of Act I Scene ii, "My father's spirit in arms! all is not well; I doubt some foul play: would the night were come!"). If you've ever read MacBeth, you would know that listening to witches and disrupting the 'natural order' does not always turn out well. Also, contrasting Hamlet with Fortinbras gives the play something for us Enlish 30 students to discuss (and it also serves some sort of literary purpose). Fortinbras was eager to avenge his father's death in a duel (that he proposed) and reclaim the land that he had legally lost to Hamlet Sr. years ago; he was even happy to go to Poland instead of Denmark at the command of his uncle, as long as he got to fight with someone. Hamlet, however, was reluctant to act on the murder of his father and with this Shakespeare created a nice little character foil.

One scene in particular drives me really crazy - Act III, Scene iii where Claudius is praying and Hamlet is considering killing him then. Hamlet decides not to because if Claudius is killed while praying, there is a chance he will go to heaven,

"Now might I do it pat, now he is praying; And now I'll do't. And so he goes to heaven; And so am I revenged. That would be scann'd: A villain kills my father; and for that, I, his sole son, do this same villain send To heaven."

but if Hamlet kills him

"When he is drunk asleep, or in his rage, Or in the incestuous pleasure of his bed; At gaming, swearing, or about some act That has no relish of salvation in't;"


"his heels may kick at heaven, And that his soul may be as damn'd and black As hell, whereto it goes."

If only Hamlet had stayed two seconds longer he would have heard Claudius say,

"My words fly up, my thoughts remain below: Words without thoughts never to heaven go."

which, roughly translated, means, "Oh crap, I can't pray."

Anyway, those are just two of the reasons that I can think of without a copy of the play in front of me. It's amazing to think of all the things you can do with your old Shakespeare essays! :)

-- Kayley (, February 17, 2003.

Nice work Kayley, i agree with you on both points. Being a grade 12 student myself, its nice to see someone else with insight into the play. However, i think its also important to add some other points for possible reasons for his delay. Hamlet has often been said to have an "Oedipus Complex", a theory popularized by Freud. He said that the young male is likely to have feelings of a sexual nature towards his mother in the early stages of life(2-3yrs), this however is usually stopped by the father figure. The boy sees him as competition and resentment increases to hate if their relationship is not built upon in later stages of life. If Hamlet indeed suffered from this condition, then the death of his father and Claudius taking his place would turn his feelings of hate and jealousy onto Claudius. You may ask what this has to do with his delay? For Hamlet to kill Claudius it would mean having to accept his own feelings for his mother, an idea that disgusts him. i am currently working on a project on this idea, so my evidence from the text is limited at present. Bear with me however and i may be able to give you some more ideas. James

-- James (, March 04, 2003.

The "Oedipus Complex" theory is utter bollocks. It has no grounds in the text. Simply an interesting idea invented after nearly 400 years of criticism and trying to pluck out the heart of the mystery that is Hamlet. There is no ground of evidence in the play for the Oedipus complex. On the contrary it is made clear why Hamlet loathes his step-father and is angered and abhorred at his mother. As for why did Hamlet not revenge - I'll tell you why. It makes a bloody good ground for an exciting play. The delay is the biggest red-Herring in the history of literature. Hamlet tells us in his "How all occasions..." speech that "I do not know why yet I live to say this things to do". There. Hamlet doesn't know. At the end of the day, he is only really responding to a command of a ghost to murder in cold-blood as any of us would do. Sod the "Why did Hamlet delay" debate. It is irrelevent and unimportant. It simply drives the action of the play and also presents us with the first anti-hero in Literature, I believe. It really isn't much to be concerned about. There are greater and more interesting and more relevent things to discuss in the play.

-- Patrick Walker (, March 04, 2003.

Youre answer is bullocks and whatnot. You have to understand that any driving force in a play usually has a deeper answer behind it. Understood that it does make a beautiful machine for pushing the plot forward in an exciting way, but there are all kinds of subtle undertones of Oedopean riffraff and the delay specifically highlights Hamlets desire to do the right thing. Murder is cold blood is definitely not the right thing, but is letting his fathers death go unavenged the right thing as well?

-- Chris Ostermann (, April 14, 2003.

i think hamlet delay is becuse he is homosexual and quite clearly in love with claudius. there is no oedipus complex he is just jealous of the man he with his mother. Hamlet was totally fag!! but shakespeare wanted u 2 think abt it cos issues like that honey are soooo not publicised, read between the lines baby!

-- nadia (, April 25, 2003.

It bewilders me as to why people forever insist on searching endlessly for the "deeper meaning" behind plays, novels, poems, etc. Shakespeare was a literary genius, to be sure, but even a genius has limits. Hamlet delays his revenge because that gives Shakespeare an ideal setting to tell an interesting story. There is a reason Shakespeare is so popular. He wrote to please the crowds. If he had simply wrote of Hamlet meeting his dead father's ghost and Hamlet immediately racing off to avenge the murder, where would the story be? A ghost, a prince, revenge, a short fighting scene and the audience goes home within ten short minutes. Instead, Shakespeare gave the masses an interesting character, one that commanded their respect, contempt, sympathy, and hatred, depending on whom you ask. Hamlet is the center of the story; the revenge story is the pedestal on which he displayed. There is no deeper meaning than that.

-- Molly Antonio (, May 04, 2003.

I totally agree, he simply wrote to please the hordes. The revenge was just the unconfortable sheet he placed upon the play to allow for the real plots to unravel. The revenge plot is just the literary blanket to make all the other plots more hot and exciting. The fact that the blanket goes weave into the other plots is bonus. Think of the big picture. oh, and btw. Laeretes was the real foil to hamlet, im my opinion..

-- Blake Edwards (, May 06, 2003.

But WS does seem to take the traditional 'revenge plot' further and deeper, by introducing consideration of whether or not vengeance is just or reasonable.

-- catherine england (, May 06, 2003.

I think that Hamlet's delay in avenging his father's death is because of the fact that there was no means of faster communication back then and everything took longer. He also needed time to formalize his play that resembles his father's murder. Shake also needed to create some foils to lenghten the play and make an interesting storyline.

-- Jewel Appleyard (, May 21, 2003.

I think one must not forget it's a play and the audience hasn't much time to analyse it and read it again. I read somewhere that Hamlet simply doesn't want to be king though maybe he isn't just aware of it. The only time he is happy is when the actors are there. So this fact has to be important otherwise it wouldn't have been there. So maybe he's someone who always does what he is expected to do but who would lead a different life if he had the opportunity.

-- Beate Staufenbiel (, May 22, 2003.

I think you are all vearing off the whole course of the plays meaning. Shakssphere wrote this play to make ou think, he was trying to show his ideas through his writing, and his character Hamlet was his center piece that he was able to move around on the board. He didn't not make hamelt race off and murder the 'king,'because he wanted a long play, he was trying to show how hamlet must go through all this peril to reach a complicated decicion. if your father died and his ghost appeared saying he had been murdered, would you yourself have doubts? or would you just race off and kill someone even if you weren't sure whether he was really murdered or not. you must place yourself in hamlets shoes, and not simpily search for a simple answer, as we all no the play itself is not simple.

-- Ku Barry (, June 08, 2003.

Absolutely right.

-- Patrick Walker (, June 08, 2003.


-- i.m. rosencrantz (, June 09, 2003.

along with the last thing, as if that Oedipus Complex is even relevant, in the time shakesphere wrote the play, as if that sort of thing even existed, how could he write based on something he didn't understand!? i'm only in year 8, but i totally support my argument, stop messing around with silly ideas, and think of something worthwhile and thoughtful!

-- Ku Barry (, June 10, 2003.

Well, of course it existed but it just wasn't then known as an Oedipus Complex

-- Patrick Walker (, June 11, 2003.

God. Deja-vu. Could you perhaps just hop over to the question called "Oedipus complex? (evilfishy, 2001-02-02)" people? I haven't the stamina to do all that again.

-- catherine england (, June 11, 2003.

It's right there would be no play if there was no delay. But Laertes and Fortinbras - their fathers were killed too - react much faster. And Hamlet had no problems sending Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern to England where they were killed.

-- Beate (, June 16, 2003.


-- Patrick Walker (, June 16, 2003.

Wel ... actually, Fortinbras's father was killed the day Hamlet was born (V.i.132- 136). So whatever age we think Hamlet is, it's still rather a long, long time ago. As for R & G, it's just not the same is killing your blood relation and King; and as Hamlet himself says, it's doing that that teaches him to act 'rashly', following his instinct, really for the first time (V.ii.6-11).

-- catherine england (, June 16, 2003.

I think you're right.

-- Beate (, June 22, 2003.

This thing hasn't moved in ages, we need to move on! i was asked this evil question by a teacher and i'd love to hear your thoughts. "Do you think the ghost is relevant to the play of Hamlet? alot of people find it a hard idea to accept, do you think a letter from his father predicting his death and telling him the info about who killed him would do?"I've already covered the whole he would have to prove it was authentic and written by his dad section, and the section that a ghost presses the idea of death and afterlife which is constently played throughout the play, but anything else would be wickedly apperciated dudes!

-- Ku Barry (, July 14, 2003.

There's a question somewhere in the forum on the role of the ghost in the play. But how about a section on the emotional tug (or push) of the whole audio-visual experience of the ghost? And the ghost can pop up again in III.iv when Hamlet gets side-tracked, whereas a letter would be just been and done, and not really able to pop out of Hamlet's pocket and say 'Boo!'. Plus, from a dramatic point of view, a ghost has a lot more suspense and impact, especially for a c. 1600 audience, when a lot of people would believe in ghosts and demons and so on.

-- catherine england (, July 14, 2003.

That's cool, yeah, but what if the letter had all the info in it right off, so that the ghost didn't have to pop up again? Anyway, i'd like to hear what people like MOST about the play. you know, what theme was put in best, what philosophical speech you like, or what bit was humourus and why (lol! i sound like a teacher!) you know, you're favourite bit, just for fun!

-- Ku Barry (, July 22, 2003.

There is indeed a deeper meaning behind Hamlet's delay. I dont think we can do Shakespeare justice by just saying that he was writting a long play and he wanted to build up the suspense or drama or whatever for the audience. There is some truth in that, but we have to realize that the genius of it all is that there are many interpretations to this question. Before we consider it we have to ask ourselves who Hamlet was before the play began, who he becomes and what he is going through, because Hamlet is the story of a transformation, a metamorphosis if you will. From inferences throughout the play we understand Hamlet to be a man of principles, a man with values and religous education. In my interpretation, Hamlet delays in revenging his father because he cant make up his mind about what is the right thing to do. The genius of the play is that we dont know exactly what Hamlet's dilema is about; it's open for interpretation. Hamlet's indecisiveness and struggle with introspection destroys him and when he finally makes up his mind (at the end of the closet scene) he is "reborn". Of course, I have a much more in depth explanation of Hamlet, as it is probably my favorite piece of English classic literature. Feel free to write me.

-- the demon cleaner (, October 27, 2003.

Hamlet's delay : My prof the other day just posed a question asking whether there is a possibility that Claudius is Hamlet's real father and not the late Hamlet. Some people argued yes but some no. Well, do you guyz think that when King Hamlet was away Getrude actually fooled around with Claudius? Could that be the reason as to why they are so comfortable with each other? And could it be that there is an instict that is holding Hamlet back to seek his revenge?

- Carol, NJ.

-- Carol Achieng (, November 02, 2003.

There are a variety of reasons as to why Hamlet delays the murder of Cl,audius. In order to answer this question, you have to take into account the charcter of Hamlet. He constantly bases his actions on his morality, and the christian ethics that clearly dominate his thinking and decisions. The idea of an 'eye for an eye' is taught against in the bible. Contrarily, the idea presented is 'turn the other cheek'. Hamlet recognises that killing Claudius while clasped in prayer may send Claudius to heaven. this is not a just conclusion for Claudius.

-- j hanley (, November 18, 2003.

I was wondering if Karen Horney's theory of "womb envy" can be tied in, since Hamlet does seem to have this insecurity against women (esp. when when he was railed against Ophelia telling her to go to a "nunnery," seemed to me that he was quite bitter, which might have stemmed from Ophelia's previously ignoring him). Just a thought.

-- fellow eng student (, December 03, 2003.

I think that Hamlet's delay is becouse he is unsure if his father's death was actually on porpose. He tests if it is true by having the play. After all, the "ghost" could of been the voice of satan for all Hamlet knows. And thats that. fool.

-- goober cooter (, February 12, 2004.

Is the ghost in Hamlet really EVIL? And if so how do we know?

-- kej0283 (, February 28, 2004.

Hamlet - the play - contents various solutions to simple questions i am aware - an inportant element in the play is however the psycological portrials of the characters - especially the mind behind Hamlet is complex. Does the delay not also play an important role in our understanding of - and sympathy with - Hamlet and his ambigious actions - that is considerations? My point is that the characters of the play perhaps are more important and interesting to the reading of the play than the plot is - and so that we perhaps are doing wrong by atempting to explain the delay through the character of Hamlet - instead of doing the oppsite: understanding Hamlet - the person - through his one 'action': his delay. But i dunno and i cannot spell - but I am a Dane as well - or rather : because i am a dane - newermind!

-- kat (, May 04, 2004.

Your English spelling is a helluvalot better than my Danish spelling. And I think you're absolutely right. The plot of the play is just the vehicle for exploring the people involved in it. But also for exploring the issues it raises, I think - be they moral, political, religious, social or educational.

-- catherine england (, May 06, 2004.

I second the idea that perhaps Hamlet was delaying because, as a Romantic (if he can be classified as such) he wanted to see the good in people. To look at this psychoanalytically (steering clear of Oedipus thank you very much!) Hamlet needs Claudius as a father figure and wants to believe that he didn't really kill King Hamlet on purpose. Hamlet is searching for this reason in delaying the act...please criticize

-- gig (, June 02, 2004.

I just wonder what your evidence is for:

'he wanted to see the good in people. ... Hamlet needs Claudius as a father figure and wants to believe that he didn't really kill King Hamlet on purpose.'

-- catherine england (, June 06, 2004.


Hamlet’s delay in killing King Claudius

- Contemplating to see whether the ghost is good or bad, make sure it was true by setting up a play to see his uncle’s reaction. He is not acting because his mind is too great, rather he reacts to his Uncle

- Cannot kill Claudius because he was praying, and if he did, he would have sent him to heaven. Again, he is considering way too many things and cannot complete his father’s revenge

-- (, November 24, 2004.

This is an answer I posted on another thread but I thought it worth posting again.

The simple answer is Hamlet DOESN'T delay! I firstly must point out that for Elizabethans the act of revenge was a damnable offence. It was NOT regarded as an obligatory act of honour. It was held in complete disaprovel by the church, the law and the state. Even if a man had had his entire family murdered by someone, and he went out with the sole aim of killing that murderer, then he would be as guilty as the first man. The act of revenge was dangerous to the body, the mind and the soul. It was NOT approved of in any circumstances. Thus Hamlet's duty is NOT to kill Claudius. Rather completely the opposite. Thus putting Hamlet's journey and dilemma in the same category as Shakespeare's other tragic protagonists; Lear, Macbeth and Othello - though we sympathise with Hamlet, we should disaprove of the route he is taking. The audience should also share Hamlet's dilemma - what they think vs what they feel.

For a first time audience of Hamlet the notion that Hamlet has delayed in his revenge would not have struck them until the end of Act II when Hamlet is filled with self reproach after watching the Player's Speech. He then makes it perfectly clear that he is unsure whether of not the spirit is a 'spirit of health' or if it is 'a devil' - a dilemma that is too much overlooked. He then resolves to test his Uncle's guilt. 2 minutes later is To Be Or Not To Be and with that soliloquy he basically discusses, if his uncle be proven guilty, whether the nobler, greater persuit for a man is violent action or resigned passivity. By the end of the soliloquy he has resolved to take action. So there has hardly been a delay. We have not even seen one or hardly been aware of it. When he becomes convinced that his Uncle is guilty at the Play he absolutely assumes the role of the private blood revenger. He could 'drink hot blood'. His refusal to kill Claudius at prayer is not an excuse of any kind for delaying the murder. It is in fact Hamlet SO UTTERLY adapting to his revengers role that he is willing to usurp God's power and have his own hand in Claudius' damnation. This scene would have been utterly shocking to Shakespeare's audience. This is Hamlet's darkest moment. It isn't a question of Hamlet delaying or reasoning his way out of murder - it is quite the opposite. The point is that he has taken the act of revenge upon him to such an extent that he commits this 'usurpation of divine law'. Of course, when he murders Polonius in that bungled, mad, murderous frenzy only seconds later, we have further proof that Hamlet was ready and prepared to carry out this killing, as well as with the murders of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. At the end of the play Shakespeare does his uttermost to ensure that the murder of Claudius is an act of swift, instinctive, 'knee-jerk' retaliation and not a pre-determined act of revenge, thus ensuring Hamlet's soul is saved, despite, not because of. his revenge.

-- Patrick Walker (, November 26, 2004.

So how do you explain the Ghost's appearance whilst Hamlet is with Gertrude, to chastise Hamlet for his delay?

-- J Kirk (, December 07, 2004.

Not exactly sure what you mean, as surely that question answers itself in my previous post, but anyway...It is all quite ambiguous, but I feel that: The ghost wants Hamlet to revenge. Whatever we believe is the true nature of the ghost, be it a spirit of health or, as I believe, an evil spirit, we can all agree that the appearance of the ghost indicates that Hamlet is doing something that the ghost believes Hamlet should not be doing. He is "blunting" his means to revenge. Hamlet is spending all his pent up hatred and capacity for murder on his mother. He has just "struck wide" in his murder and slain Polonius and his disgust, his rage, his hysteria is being cooled now as he lapses into an outburst of passion, diverting him from the purpose of his revenge on Claudius. Also whatever the ghost is, the one direct result of its appearance in the Closet Scene is to forestall Gertrude's repentance by convincing her that Hamlet is mad. May not the immediate result of the ghost's appearance be a clue to its purpose?

It does see, likely that had the ghost NOT appeared, Gertrude would have repented, mother and son would have been reconciled and Hamlet would have been drained of his rage. Also had Gertrude joined Hamlet in her loathing of Claudius and of her own sin then Hamlet would have been freed of the obsession that is his main motive for revenge. All this is prevented by the ghost's appearance.

I hope this gives you an answer.

-- Patrick Walker (, December 08, 2004.

Um. Me now confused. Gertrude does decide Hamlet is not mad, does repent, and is reconciled with Hamlet come the end of the scene. The ghost's appearance therefore does what the ghost says it is there for: it brings Hamlet back to himself, out of his blind rage, so that he can then talk to Gertrude more coolly.

Now you will probably say you don't believe Gertrude is persuaded by him. OK, she doesn't say so in so many words, and her behaviour with Claudius for the rest of the play could be read either way perhaps. But (just quickly for the moment though) I think it's pertinent that she does do as Hamlet asks in telling Claudius he is indeed mad (though she may even well know that Claudius has begun to seriously doubt this), and more importantly, she does NOT tell Claudius that Hamlet knows that R and G are against him, for Claudius, on the trip to England, and will deal with them unpleasantly.

-- catherine england (, December 08, 2004.

Hamlet does NOT know that R & G are against him. And I don't think they are either.

-- Patrick Walker (, December 08, 2004.


How do you explain:

"There’s letters sealed, and my two schoolfellows, Whom I will trust as I will adders fanged, They bear the mandate. They must sweep my way, And marshal me to knavery. Let it work, For 'tis the sport to have the enginer Hoist with his own petard; and ’t shall go hard But I will delve one yard below their mines, And blow them at the moon."


-- catherine england (, December 10, 2004.

As it says: He doesn't trust them. He doesn't trust the King more so. He suspects something is up and he'd be right to. But he'd be wrong in assuming any malign intent in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. He is wrong to thing they have a darker purpose. Come on, you can't honestly think that they are aware of Claudius' murderous intentions! There is NO evidence for this whatsoever apart from Hamlet's suspicions. At this point in the play he is playing the role of the revenger to the point where he will kill anything that gets in his way. Killing the both of them is not justified. Horatio seems to be shocked and dismayed at Hamlet's report of their killing in V.ii. Hamlet's excuse? 'They shouldn't have gotten in the way'. They are simply two innocents who are victims of the great tragedy.

-- Patrick Walker (, December 10, 2004.

Hamlet's reason is not that 'they shouldn't have gotten in the way'. It is that 'they did make love to this employment.' There is plenty of evidence that they do do this, in their constant flattering of Claudius and willingness to do his bidding so as to curry favour. The issue is not whether or not they knew what was in the letter they carried, or of Claudius's murderous intentions, but that they 'play' on Hamlet, thus 'fretting' him, in order to suck up to Claudius. To 'fret' a prince in this world is a serious and dangerous offence. To this extent they are against Hamlet, and are not innocents. Certainly, by modern standards their killing is not justified. In the world of the medieval or early modern court, where everyone knew and spoke of deviousness, plotting and backstabbing, they would have known themselves that they were playing with their lives. Ultimately and overall, of course, 'the King's to blame.' It is in fact this that Horatio recognizes, after his initial shock at R and G's fate, as he says, 'Why, what a king is this!'

-- catherine england (, December 10, 2004.

"'Tis dangerous when the baser nature comes Between the pass and fell incensed points Of mighty opposites"

Okay, but this is basically Hamlet justifying the cold blooded murder in the sense I gave. They came between two mighty opposites - they shouldn't have gotten in the way. "That's what happens" Hamlet is saying. You can't judge the characters from Hamlet's subjective, Catherine. And you cannot defend every action of Hamlet's. Why do people do that? We don't defend Lear's rash decisions or speeches for example. What did R&G know of Claudius' villainy or Hamlet's feigned lunacy? Claudius does not act like a conventional villain and as far as they can see Hamlet is indeed a threat. Their loyalty is to the King. They are there to help the King and Gertrude get to the heart of what they only believed was Hamlet's affliction. When we see them after the Play scene we see them from Hamlet's perspective. We can understand Hamlet's treatment of them, even, but what do they know? Look at Hamlet's behaviour during the Play from the perspective of them. And his other "run in" with them occurs after the murder of Polonius! Who should their loyalties lie with? They bare an obligation to do what they do, and they believe that what they do is in the best interest. Hamlet may accuse them of "fretting him" but that does not mean that they do.

-- Patrick Walker (, December 10, 2004.

How insulting. I judge from my own subjective, not Hamlet's. I do not defend, I explain, according to my reading of a text and the characters or people involved. That is my profession.

Aside from that: I'm not quite sure what you're point is, in the context of the discussion, since I wasn't really talking about Hamlet, but about R and G. I just seem to have a different reading from yours of their characters and intentions. Yes, their loyalty is to the King, but WS is making a point that it is a bad form of loyalty, unhealthy for them, and a monarch's character, and a state - it is sycophantic and self-interested, not at all ‘in the best interest’. So, I said that R and G - regardless of what they don’t know - are by no means 'innocents', and their fate was to be expected, not that Hamlet did right in arranging it; and that the primary and supremely causative faults are Claudius's, not that Hamlet has no faults. Actually, I do think that Hamlet lacks empathy with others, and common sense.

-- catherine england (, December 11, 2004.

wow...this is one long forum. well yea so Im writing a Hamlet Thesis on indecisiveness. reading some of the stuff people wrote, I can see that some people do not appreciate Shakespear and his genius into the human mentality for what it's really worth. His plays are up to each individual to interpret, so that we can relate to one, two, or all of the characters and their flaws.

and why does Hamlet delay? To simply put it, because he doesn't know what to do. I mean I can post my 7 page essay to anyone interested...but really's not that hard.

ps. being in 12th grade sucks. Cant wait for college. wohoo.


-- nanananana (, December 21, 2004.

As I've just posted "nanananana", he DOESN'T delay. The sooner people shake off this misleading preconception of Hamlet the sooner we can come to a truer understanding of the play.

-- Patrick Walker (, December 24, 2004.

can some help me out with this question, "how are the characters Laertes and Fortinbras used as contrasts or foils to Hamlet?"

-- bunny (, December 30, 2004.

For a start have a look in this forum at:

Characteristic of Hamlet and Laertes (Christian Wunderl, 2001-04-24) Importance of Fortinbras (Rohan Arjun, 2004-10-26)

Also maybe any of the questions on decisiveness/indecisiveness, acting/not acting, and revenge/delay.

Basically you could talk about all three having a similar circumstances to deal with - murdered fathers - and how each deals with this throughout the play. Also you could consider that Hamlet and Fortinbras are both in line for thrones, and how each thinks and behaves as a potential future monarch. It is worth comparing this with how Laertes behaves too, in his situation of not having any such serious future to have to think about.

-- catherine england (, December 31, 2004.

Who really cares? Hamlet and Laertes are both dollards. I am glad they all died

-- Jesse Joseph Hachey (, January 11, 2005.

Well, Laertes is certainly a bit of a dollard.

-- catherine england (, January 11, 2005.

Hamlet is a procrastinator. Faced with the imperative act of bloody revenge, his intellect, his philosophical bent, his morality and his own emotional instability, it is impossible for him to act swiftly and decisively. He has to be sure of Claudius's guilt and only is spurned to act when he feels that Providence has intervened. Hamlet is a play full of questions. When everyone at court are pretending to be what they're not, it is difficult to distinguish between appearance and reality, and this inhibits action. Hamlet wishes to penetrate to the truth about other people, which is impossible. There's also the thought that Claudius's death is related to Hamelt's but i cant remember that one. Also, I completely agree with the oedipus complex, its not bollocks, and there are SO many examples of it.

-- Hannah Chance (, January 21, 2005.

"...Also, I completely agree with the oedipus complex, its not bollocks, and there are SO many examples of it..."

Fire away then. I don't discredit these theories at all, but give us these many examples to chew on.

-- Patrick Walker (, January 21, 2005.

In a discussion in my A.P. English class I found out that the Hamlet’s inability to act is because of his “state of profound melancholy”. His state of melancholy left him with no power to take any action. The fact that Hamlet thinks too much is the result of his severe misery. And his habit of thinking too much ultimately results in no action at all. In the play we see several times that Hamlet can act decisively only when he has no time to think. (For example he kills Claudius in no time, manage to escape his death by replacing his own death’s letter to the beheading of his two friends). Therefore we can conclude that whenever Hamlet starts thinking he does nothing.

-- Alina Khan (, February 21, 2005.

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