Hamlet, His Own Victim
Hamlet, the main character in William Shakespeare's play Hamlet is a deeply intelligent and reflective man. Hamlet is compelled by justice and filial duty to revenge his father's murder; he is also simultaneously riddled with self-doubt and moral conscience. Hamlet is quite disturbed by the sudden death of his father and his mother's hasty marriage to his uncle, King Claudius. Hamlet's character is naturally withdrawn, dark, and morose in the wake of these traumatic events. The abnormality of his thoughts, or madness and behavior is to some extent understandable. The most obvious issue in this play can be stated in the simple question, of why Hamlet delays taking revenge for his father's death.
While critics offer various answers to why Hamlet delays his revenge their theories generally differ in two distinct ways; one group focuses on the inner workings of Hamlet's mind as the primary cause of his procrastination while others stress the external obstacles that prohibit the prince from carrying out his task. Critics who find the cause of Hamlet's delay in his internal meditations typically view the prince as a man of great moral integrity who is forced to commit an act that goes against his deepest principles. Another perspective of Hamlet's internal struggle suggests that the prince has become so disenchanted with life since his father's death, that he has neither the desire nor the will to exact revenge. On numerous occasions, the prince tries to make sense of his moral dilemma through personal meditations, which Shakespeare presents as soliloquies like "And whatsoever else should hap tonight, Give it an understanding but no tongue" (I, ii.254-255), and "though hell itself should gape/And bid me to hold my peace. I pray you all" (I, ii.251-252).
Hamlet has been shocked and appalled that in the midst of his grief, Gertrude his mother, has yielded to Claudius's advances and married him only two months after her husband's...
Cited: Shakespeare, William. "Hamlet" Literature: An Introduction To Fiction, Poetry and Drama. 9th ed. Eds. X.J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia.
New York: Longman, 2005. 1604-1719.
Bevington, David. "William Shakespeare 's Hamlet." Interview. U of Arizona, 1996. [Online] 15 Nov. 2004.
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