Hamlet as a Procrastinator
Procrastination: the act of avoiding tasks that may be dangerous, boring, difficult or morally conflicting. For some, procrastination can be an occasional occurrence, and for others it has become a reoccurring habit. Sometimes, it can have serious consequences. In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, many characters voice their opinions about procrastination including The Ghost of Hamlet’s father, Claudius and Hamlet. Audiences are provided with many opportunities through a variety of characters to see Hamlet as a chronic procrastinator.
The Ghost of Hamlet’s father has few appearances throughout the play but they are significant moments. During Hamlet’s heated conversation with Gertrude, The Ghost appears. This scene shows that Hamlet knows that his procrastination has not only hurt him, but other characters as well. This is clear when he asks The Ghost; “Do you not come your tardy son to chide,
That, lapsed in time and passion, lets go by
The important acting of your dread command?” (III, iv, 108-110). Hamlet understands that The Ghost’s frustration with Hamlet for failing to avenge him and he fears that he will be scorned for his indiscretion. The Ghost expresses his disappointment in his son when he says; “This visitation/ I but to whet thy almost blunted purpose.” (III, iv, 112-113).These lines reveal The Ghost’s purpose for returning. He believes that Hamlet’s drive has begun to dwindle and he has returned to provide him with both a reminder and some motivation.
The play’s antagonist, Claudius, shares his own thoughts on procrastination. He addresses Laertes after the death of Polonius his lines serve as dramatic irony. Only the audience is aware of the parallels between Laertes’ and Hamlet’s situations. When Claudius says;
“We should do when we would, for this “would” changes
And hath abatements and delays as many
As there are tongues, are hands, are accidents.” (IV, vii, 119-121) This idea is relatable to Hamlet’s...
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