The Dilemma of Hamlet's Indecisiveness: Literary & Sociological Analysis

The play Hamlet, written by William Shakespeare, is a masterpiece that presents conflicts between various characters in their pursuit of power and ethical justice. However, the most perplexing aspect of the play is the character of Hamlet himself, the son of the late King Hamlet and rightful heir to the throne. Despite receiving supernatural confirmation of his uncle's guilt in his father's murder and witnessing his mother's questionable remarriage to his uncle, Hamlet remains incapable of taking revenge. His indecisiveness stems from his doubts about the ghost, uncertainties about his personal ambitions, and tendency to overanalyze the world around him. To discuss Hamlet's indecisiveness, this essay delves deeper into these complexities, examining how they led to his downfall.

During the first act of the play, Hamlet’s pals come across the spirit of Old King Hamlet roaming about the outer ramparts of the castle. Seeing the spirit as a bad omen they quickly record the look to his very distraught son, Hamlet. The spirit explains to him that he had been murdered by means of his younger brother, Claudius, and Hamlet should take revenge on the spirit’s behalf. This incident initiates Hamlet’s investigation into his father’s murder; then again it is his doubt in the purpose of this apparition that continues him indecisive and prevents him from taking his revenge. First, Hamlet nearly straight away questions the authenticity his father's spirit after its disappearance. “ The spirit that I have considered may additionally be the devil and the satan hath the electricity to assume a desirable shame; yet, and perhaps out of my weakness and my melancholy, as he is very amazing with such spirits, abuses me to damn me.” Hamlet questions if the ghost’s story holds any authentication as he plunges deeper and deeper into his own melancholy; Hamlet wonders if this is the work of Satan praying on his susceptible state of mind. This uncertainty prompts Hamlet to check his Uncle Claudius’ sense of right and wrong due to the fact of his own lack of trust in the ghost and himself; which only prolongs this revenge. Second, because Hamlet is so dubious about the story instructed to him through the ghost, he needs to check his Uncle’s response first. “Observe mine uncle, if his acute guilt. Do now not itself unkennel in one speech. It is a damned ghost we have seen. And my imagination are on foul as Vulcan’s stithy.” This uncertainty in the ghost influences Hamlet by prolonging his revenge on Claudius in an attempt to affirm the ghost’s story. This route of action leads to him being called upon by way of his mother, by chance murdering Polonius, and then being poisoned by means of Laertes. Without this extra prerequisite to begin his revenge, Hamlet may want to have potentially prevented the ensuing confrontations and his death. Third, Hamlet’s trust in the story is solely tested at seeing his Uncle response to the play. “O precise Horatio, I’ll take the ghost’s phrase for a thousand pound.... Without Claudius’ reaction to the play Hamlet would possibly continue to be in limbo about his personal thoughts and the ghost, and may additionally by no means take his sought out revenge. The play is the confirmation for Hamlet’s revenge scheme and its lengthily procedure was once imperative to convince Hamlet of the ghost’s story; Nevertheless, Hamlet’s persistent indecisive conduct after the play gave Claudius amply time to plot Hamlet’s murder. However, an even larger bitterness within Hamlet causes him to hold off his revenge and hold him unsure is his own doubts of what he really needs in terms of kingship and also his existence in general.

After King Hamlet died, the civilians of Denmark are asked to select between Hamlet or Claudius to rule in the place of their fallen king. The locals select Claudius to rule over them, who is older and perhaps more wise when compared to Hamlet. Knowing Claudius killed the king, Hamlet understands he is rightfully king of Denmark; on the other hand, Hamlet cannot decide what extent he should go to for that position and this makes him hesitant to take any action. First, Hamlet confesses to Ophelia of features that he is reprehensible of, one of which is ambitious. “I am myself indifferent honest; however, but I should accuse me of such matters that it had been higher my mother had now not borne me: I am very proud, revengeful, ambitious…”. This persona by means of Hamlet presents a contradiction to his behavior. He needs to separate Claudius from the throne, though he shows how he would alternatively not be ambitious as he does not really pursue the role of king with much effort. At this second it appears that Hamlet is unwilling to be king, which will hold him indecisive and prevent his revenge. Second, Hamlet does however reveal to Rosencrantz he is “distempered” due to the fact he “lacks advancement”. “Good my lord, what is your motive of distemper? You do, surely, bar the door upon your own liberty, if you deny your grief to your friend... Sir, I lack advancement.” Contrary to what he states before in his conversation with Ophelia, Hamlets now wants to “advance”. This change in ambition ought to be considered as a possibility for his revenge to subsequently transpire, however, Hamlet may also not be referring to his succession as king but his plans for his revenge; hence no longer knowing if he wishes both delays Hamlets for taking his revenge. Hamlets also tells Horatio of his desire to be king, and disappointment of being denied kingship. “Does it not, think’st thee, stand me now upon – He that hath kill’d my king and whored my mother, Popp’d in between the election and my hopes, Thrown out his perspective for my suitable life…”. This last explanation through Hamlet shows that he does have the intention to turn out to be king and therefore the expectation can be made that he will try to go after what he thinks belongs to him, the throne. However, he subsequently discovers the truth about Rosencrantz’s intentions and, in the end, gets him killed in England. All of this could have been avoided if Hamlet would have just acted more instead of over planning.

Throughout the play, Hamlet is constantly over analyzing the world round him. Every action that he takes, Hamlet tediously examines all the effects and reasonings that could be possible. This over wondering of the world around him is a cause for his dawdling, which inevitably led to his death. First, Hamlet argues to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern about the philosophy of what is “good” and “bad”. “Why, then, ’tis none to you; for there is nothing either correct or bad, however wondering makes it so: to me it is a prison.” This point made through Hamlet shows how awful he thinks of the world around him. His insight of all the behavior, which is all based on perspective, shows he is a character with an open mind who should analyze a problem from all angles earlier than processing regularly. Second, Hamlet justifies his idea that humans and himself believe death is unstoppable. “Thus, moral sense does make cowards of us all; and therefore, the native hue of decision is sicklied o’er with the faded forged of thought, and organizations of fantastic pith and second two with this regard their currents flip awry, and lose the name of action”. This inspection of loss of life of what makes Hamlet query his intention to kill any other person that stands in his way and the worry that all people have towards death. This scrutinizing of his own plan makes Hamlet doubt himself and prolong his revenge more. It also illustrates that Hamlet does worry about killing other humans and by no means does this reflect the recognition of his fear. Finally, Hamlet debates to himself what the reasoning is since he is being inactive on his father’s behalf. Now whether or not it be “stial oblivion, or some craven scruple of thinking too exactly on th’ event…”. This is a realization by Hamlet that the reason of his state of being inactive is certainly his over stressing of all his conduct just to establish his very own intentions.

In conclusion, there were many paths Hamlet could have taken throughout the progression of the story, which his own personal indecisiveness prevented him from doing so. Hamlet thinks so much about his own inner conflicts that he forgets about his main goal, seeking revenge for his father. Ultimately, his inability to validate his father's ghost, foul judgement of what he really wanted to do, and overthinking of his environment led him to not decide on a course of action. This lead to the untimely death of Hamlet in Hamlet.

16 December 2021
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