In a tragedy it is typical for the protagonist to delay their action, until the end of the play. The reason for doing this is to create suspense. In this tragic play, we see this delay of action displayed by the young prince Hamlet. Within this play one can see that Hamlet is a man with no sense of action. The reason for his delay, is due to personal factors, such as, he questions his surroundings, pretending to be insane in order to obtain his proof and finally rationalizing whether or not to slay Claudius while he?s in the process of praying.
Hamlet does not act on vengeance immediately but instead he begun questioning himself and everything around him. He questions his state of existence throughout the play. On many occasions, young Hamlet considers committing suicide, to escape the corruption, which surrounds him. Hamlet states, ? O, that this too sullied flesh would melt?. Or that the Everlasting had not fixed His cannon ?gainst self-slaughter??(2734). Hamlet wishes to kill himself, but according to his religion God has forbidden man to take there lives in such manner. Hamlet later states one of the famous lines in all of English Literature, ?to be or not to be: that is the question,?(2766). He questions the world; and holds a negative view on both subjects. He states, ??the earth seems to me a sterile promontory?the air appears no other thing to me than a foul and pestilent congregation of vapors?man delights not me; nor woman neither ?(2758). He believes that the world is full of corruption and everything, which it produces, is impure. He states that mankind is corrupt and that they are merely dust. The reason for him questioning these things are simply because the world in which he knows his no good. Hamlet feels this way because his uncle had killed his father and married his mother and he could not come to understand why this incest marriage occurred. He thinks that every man and woman are out for their own interest and they will do anything in there power to attain a certain goal in life; even going to the extreme of killing their own brother, as shown by the actions of Claudius. Constantly questioning these issues sidetrack him from, the vengeance of his father?s murder, because he tries to rationalize everyone around him, to find out whether it is worth trusting them.
Secondly, he pretends to be insane in order to obtain the proof he needs. Hamlet wants to obtain definitive proof of Claudius guilt, which will give him a stronger ground on which to take his revenge. Hamlet decides to play a madman but this was an n insane idea. He thinks that his madness would confuse his enemies and hide his true intention as he moves toward avenging his father. But that was not so; instead of him being another piece of the puzzle, he became the centerpiece of the puzzle. They began to watch his every move because they wanted to know what brought on his sudden stage of madness. They eve went to the extreme of hiring his childhood friends to spy on him. This strategy delays his action because it left people watching his every move; he became patient and fully aware of his surroundings.
Finally, the opportunity presented itself for Hamlet to avenge his father?s death, but due to him rationalizing the situation he could not complete his task. Claudius was in a venerable position with his back towards Hamlet. Hamlet realizes this is the moment he was waiting for. The one thing that stopped him, was the fact that Claudius was in the process of praying; he was not repenting his sin because his prayer was not sincere nor was it from the heart. Hamlet had no idea of this; he had the perception that Claudius was praying, so he decided not to take his life. Hamlet realizes if he slays Claudius while he prays he would send his soul to heaven. Hamlet states, ?Now might I do it pat, now he is praying And now I?ll do?t: and so am I revenged. That would be scanned; a villain kills my father; and for that, I, his sole son, do?t this same villain to heaven?, (2779). Here Hamlet is saying, that if he slays him in this manner, his revenge not be justified, simply because Claudius soul would rest in peace, while his father soul is condemned to the gates of hell. The only way in which his revenge would be justified, if he slays Claudius while he?s in the process of sinning, ?when he is drunk asleep or in his rage, Or, in the incestuous pleasure of his bed; At game, a swearing, or about some act. That has no relish of salvation in?t: Then trip him, that he heels may kick at heaven and that his soul may be as damned and black. As hell, were to It goes?, (2780). The only way his revenge would be justified is if he slays Claudius while he?s in the process of sinning. By taking his life in such manner it guarantee?s that Claudius soul would burn in hell and Hamlet would have achieved revenge for all eternity.
In conclusion these are the key points why hamlet delays his action. Hamlet realizes questioning everything can give him an understanding of his surroundings but that was not so; the only thing which he receives from questioning himself are more questions, which side track him from his main purpose. Acting insane did him not justice. The people around him became suspicious of him and watched his every moved. Finally the fact that he rationalizes whether to slay Claudius while in prayer prevented him from completing his task, when the opportunity was at his hands. The enactment of Hamlet could be justified, but many may argue this. Many may look at him as a man with no action but if you look at it from another perspective, one could see that he was a patient man, who reacts when he as valid proof. But if he were a man of action he would slay