Hamlet and His Delay in Seeking Revenge Against Claudius

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Zikima Sawyer
English 102:002
Professor Hayes
November 11, 2011
Hamlet's Delay

In William Shakespeare, Hamlet, the ghost speaks to Hamlet, claiming to be his father’s spirit. Hamlet is shocked at the revelation that his father has been murdered, and the ghost tells him that as he slept in his garden, a villain poured poison into his ear, the villain who now wears his crown, Claudius. The ghost urges Hamlet to seek revenge, telling him that Claudius has corrupted Denmark and Gertrude, taken her from the love of her first marriage and seduced her in the lust of their incestuous union. The ghost also urges Hamlet not to act against his mother in any way. Through out the play, Hamlet has many opportunities to avenge his father's death by murdering Claudius; however there was always something that gave the impression something is holding Hamlet back. Hamlet delays in seeking revenge against Claudius because Claudius is better fit to be the King of Denmark and Hamlet is intelligent enough to know that. King Claudius who now rules Denmark, has taken King Hamlet's wife, Queen Gertrude as his wife. Claudius expresses his grief for King Hamlet's death, saying that all in their kingdom grieve and mourn "our dear brother's death" (Line 1), adding that "discretion" has "fought with nature" in their suppressing their complete grief of King Hamlet's death (Line 5). Claudius, the newly appointed King of Denmark explains that he has taken Hamlet's previous wife, Gertrude as his wife and as "our queen,"(Line 8) while adding that his court in "Your better wisdoms, which have freely gone with this affair along:" (Line 16) or have accepted this and now receive King Claudius' thanks. This marriage in Shakespeare period would have been viewed as incestuous. Claudius fearing that Fortinbras of Norway may invade, has sent ambassadors to Norway to urge the King of Norway to restrain Fortinbras. Claudius outlines recent events, reminding all that Fortinbras has sought back the...
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