Delay Imagery In Hamlet

  • Category: English
  • Words: 736
  • Grade: 100
In the tragic play "Hamlet", William Shakespeare explores the psychological afflictions of man whose mother, marries his father's murderer who is also his uncle. The ghost of the Hamlet's father, who was the King of Denmark, appears before Hamlet, and tells him who the murderer is. Then the ghost makes him swear to have revenge against his murderer. Prince Hamlet becomes irrational and delusional, so he then promises to take action against his father's murderer who now wears the crown of the King of Denmark, Claudius. However, Hamlet does not immediately seek revenge. He says he delays his revenge to seek the most opportune moment to strike. Yet Hamlet's procrastination drives him almost insane.
        It becomes evident that Hamlet thinks too much and this hampers his ability to act. Hamlet spends most of his time thinking. A good deal of his narrative sounds more like speeches as if he is speaking to himself or his own mind. A big part of Hamlet's speeches are soliloquy's, even when he is speaking to someone it sounds like he is considering circumstances in his own mind. By now the reader or viewer of the play is anxious for Hamlet to kill Claudius, to stop pondering it and just do it, but he does not. He continues to analyze every detail to the point of a psychopathic collapse. He seems to be scrutinizing whether he should obey the ghost of his father or his thoughts and his imagination, which appears to be so clear and evident to him, or reality. Hamlet therefore, is the classical Romantic identity. He uses his mind to try to solve the problems of man. It could also be said that Hamlet is trying to rationalize his situation. Yet he is more than just rational, he is imaginative, and accepts the images he envisions in his mind to influence his thinking. Hamlet turns to his inner self and the supernatural to try to solve his predicament.
         Hamlet's inability to act, and his vivid imagination drive more insane as the play moves on. He becomes less and less rational, and moves further away from reality. He pursues Ophelia, leads her to believe he will take her as his wife, but then tells her he feels he is not worthy and she should: "Get thou to a nunnery!". Hamlet has done no wrong, other than court Ophelia, but this is not for what he is judging himself. Hamlet is judging himself for his inability to act. He is agreeing with the fact that his imagination and mind prevent him from acting. His thoughts consume too much of his time for him to act upon his purpose, or "to give them shape." He is a prisoner of his own mind, a man stuck in the imaginary world. He's an irrational thinker among a rational people. This speech is most famous speech contained in this play:
"To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether "˜tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
Or to take arms and arrows against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them. To die to--sleep--
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heartache, and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is air to. 'Tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To die--to sleep.
To sleep--perchance to dream, ay there's the rub!" -66-73 Act II Scene I
        
Hamlet seems incapable of deliberate actions and is only hurried into the extreme in the spur of the moment when he has no time to reflect, such as in the scene where he kills Polonius. And again when he tampers with the letters which Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are taking with them to England, implicating his death. At other times when he is most bound to do something, he remains puzzled, undecided, and skeptical, until his chances are lost, and finds out some reason to relapse into thoughtfulness again. For this very reason he refuses to kill the King when he is at his players, which is really only an excuse for his own want to postpone things. He defers his revenge to a better opportunity, when he shall be engaged in some act "that has no relish of salvation in it."
In the play "Hamlet", the lead character, Hamlet, is somewhat of a complicated personality. It is this complexity that makes Hamlet seem to be all too simple, and a little too foolish in his actions.
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