Hamlet: Theories of Hamlet's Delay in Killing Claudius

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Hamlet: Theories Of Hamlet's Delay In Killing Claudius

There are several theories about why Hamlet, the main character of Shakespeare's masterpiece, Hamlet, delays in killing his Uncle, King Claudius. As the son of a murdered noble, Hamlet is obligated to avenge the death of his father. However, the act is never performed until the end of the play... quite some time after Hamlet discovered Claudius was his father's killer. Some historians and literary experts would say Hamlet's strong religious bonds prevented him from performing the sinful deed. Others would have it that Hamlet was a melancholic and therefore was too intellectual to kill his uncle. Infamous psychologist, Sigmund Freud, felt Hamlet suffered from an Oedipal complex and could not kill Claudius because he himself wished to be in Claudius' place.

Hamlet delays in killing Claudius not only because he's suffering from an Oedipal complex but also because he is far too sane or practical to commit an act of murder. In other words, basic sanity keeps him from killing Claudius. In society we are taught that those who commit murder are sick or insane. However, Hamlet's society believes the son of a murdered noble is responsible for avenging his father.

When the ghost of King Hamlet appears and tells his son Claudius killed him by pouring poison in his ear, Hamlet does not act upon the word of the specter. He takes time to think about what the apparition told him. He contemplates whether it is a good ghost or a bad ghost. He plans things out; analyses situations. When the actors came to town, Hamlet implores one of them, "Dost thou hear me old friend? Can you play The Murder of Gonzago?" (88) The player agrees that he can indeed perform the play. "We'll ha't tomorrow night. You could for a need study a speech of some dozen or sixteen lines which I could set down and insert in't, could you not." (88)

Here Hamlet has devised a scheme to discover whether his Uncle truly murdered his...
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