Hamlet's Hesitation is Justified
In William Shakespeare's Hamlet, Hamlet is commanded by his father's ghost to avenge his murder at the hands of his uncle Claudius. Hamlet does not act immediately to get his revenge, even when he is presented the perfect opportunity to do so. Throughout the play, it is demonstrated that the young prince's hesitation is reasonable. He doubts the story that the ghost has told him and he wants to discover the truth before he acts. He is not a man of action and it is in the nature of his character that he hesitates. Moreover, he wants to get a perfect revenge so that Claudius will be truly punished. In the play, Hamlet's hesitation is justified because his morality prevents him from doing evil, his intellect causes him to think before acting, and his practical nature leads him to plan for a perfect revenge.
Hamlet is a morally good person who does not want to become evil, which justifies his hesitation. When the ghost first commands him to get his revenge on Claudius, he does not act immediately because he does not trust the ghost completely: "Be thou a spirit of health or goblin damn'd." ( 1, 4, 40) He cannot allow himself to act immorally. He wants to first make sure that Claudius really murdered his father. Hamlet goes to elaborate lengths to see if the king is guilty. The young prince arranges to observe Claudius' reaction to the play that he organized, and determine from this his guilt or innocence.
...I'll observe his looks;
I'll tent him to the quick; if he but blench,
I know my course. The spirit that I have seen
May be the devil: and the devil hath power
To assume a pleasing shape; yea, and, perhaps
Out of my weakness and my melancholy,
As he is very potent with such spirits,
Abuses me to damn me. I'll have grounds
More relative than this. The play's the thing
Wherein I'll catch the conscience of the king. ( 2, 2, 594-603)
In Hamlet's eyes, Claudius' reaction confirms his guilt. As a...
Bibliography: Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. Canada: Harcout Brace Jovanovich Canada Inc., 1988.
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