The Hamlet Question
The Hamlet question is essentially why it took Hamlet so long to kill his uncle. Many critics debated whether or not Hamlet could actually do it. Most critics, such as Goethe, Ulricci, and Schlegel, listed internal factors to why Hamlet kept delaying killing his uncle. Goethe has several internal reasons to why Hamlet took so long to kill his uncle. Schlegel calls Hamlet weak-willed and charges him with the natural inclination for artifice and dissimulation. Ulricci listed that Hamlet’s faith is to blame for the delay. Others, like Klein and Werder, say that Hamlet’s delay came about from external factors. Werder explains that in his theory Hamlet’s delay comes from Hamlet himself. But both external and internal factors are questioned by Robert R. Reed Jr. Reed has his only theory to why Hamlet took so long. Goethe states that a couple of internal factors made Hamlet delay murdering his uncle on several occasions. Goethe states that Hamlet not getting the throne and being excluded by his uncle made “the consciousness of his nothingness will not abandon him” (p.91). This can be supported when King Claudius asks Hamlet “How is it that the clouds still hang on you?” (I.ii.68). King Claudius is asking Hamlet why he is still mourning his father’s death. Goethe also states that another reason it took him so long to kill Claudius was the marriage of his mother to his uncle. Goethe states that “He feels for the first time that he is forsaken, that he is an orphan, and that no worldly happiness can restore to him what he has lost” (91). This can be supported in a part of Hamlet’s soliloquy “That the Everlasting had not fixed his canon ‘gainst (self-slaughter!) O God, God” (I.ii.135-136). Hamlet wishes he could die, that he could evaporate and cease to exist. He wishes bitterly that God had not made suicide a sin. He is also remembers how deeply in love his parents were before his father’s death. But curses that thought because of how...
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