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Example research essay topic: Hamlet A Man Of Delay Or Action - 1,316 words

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... he correct way to handle a revenge situation. As a result, Hamlets pursuit to be a true man is necessary to complete the physical action of the play. Without the young prince taking the time to be his perception true, he would have never realized that he must be true to himself and work within his moral capabilities. Thus he is able to take the usurpers life at the end of the play, because he has completed the moral justification necessary to follow through with the deed. Many Shakespearean scholars interpret Claudius prayer scene as the defining moment in Hamlets supposed delay.

Although this scene helps the reader understand the type of revenge Hamlet desires, it also shows the debate that churns within his head. He states, now I might do it pat, now he is praying and so he goes to heaven why this is hire and salary, not revenge! (3. 3. 73 - 79). Hamlet wants revenge of the greatest magnitude, revenge that serves justice to his fathers unnatural murder. He wants to catch the king when he is drunk or asleep; or in his rage; or in the incestuous pleasure of his bed; at gaming, swearing, or about some act that has no relish int (3. 3. 89 - 92). He desires to trip him, that his heels may kick heaven (3. 3. 93). Even though such revenge seems so immoral, in reality it is not.

One must remember the words that the hero speaks to Horatio when he states, would I had met my dearest foe in heaven or ever I had seen that day, Horatio! (1. 2. 182 - 183). Hamlet believes that meeting ones greatest enemy in heaven is the worst possible situation in which one can be, for to live in all eternity with the one that took you life would be torture to even the most forgiving of persons. Logically, this belief makes good sense, because it would be a hell and not a heaven if one is forced to see their true enemy for the rest of their souls existence. Thus Hamlet is restrained from killing the king at the prayer scene because of his sense of justice, and he feels that such an act would be an injustice to his fathers immortal soul.

While Hamlet has restraint from killing Claudius in the prayer scene because it would be an injustice to his father, he also has restraint because such an act would be a sign of weakness to the audience. Hamlet is a man with a Christian soul, a moral nature, a philosophical intellect, and a concern for supreme justice. Killing a man while he prays, while he is unarmed, and while there is no concrete justification to do so would show the hero as a much different character than what Shakespeare portrays. Furthermore, such an act would tarnish the young princes name and make him appear crazy to the Danish people. As previously established, Hamlet is extremely concerned with his honor and image. If he is to uphold the highest degree of honor and portray a positive self-image, then the prince must take into consideration his reputation among the people and the implications of his actions.

If he follows through and takes the kings life in act three, then his name will go down in infamy. But if he waits until he has both personal motives and moral justification for his deed (which he does in act five, scene two), then he will be remembered in a positive light, and his name will go down in history as one of a Danish hero. Clearly, Hamlet is a man of action and not a man of delay. He is in action during the entire play, fighting a fierce war against his foe Claudius (1. 2. 182).

And as in any other war, he must devise a strategic plan of attack. The time the prince spends to complete this analyzing and strategizing is the time that he and Shakespearean scholars interpret as his delay. Hamlet is not a typical revenge play though, and thus there is no typical revenge delay. Rather, the play is one about a mans dilemma in completing an unethical task that his society condones. Thus Hamlet is torn between his code of morals and the task his society pushes him to complete, which is why the hero chides himself for supposedly delaying.

The young prince believes that he is a weak avenger, but this belief arises because he is too enveloped in his present situation to realize that his path of action, the path of slow and methodical strategy, is the correct one. Only in the final scene does Hamlet finally come to terms with himself and realize that he has complete justification to complete his deed. Thus he physically acts, killing the usurping king twice: once for himself (death by sword) and once for his father (death by poison). The belief that Hamlet is a man of action is only one interpretation of Shakespeare's Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. It is a well-known fact that Shakespeare's plays work on many levels, and as a result, many interpretations of his plays hold true. Even in the late 1920 s there was the possibility of seeing three great Hamlets (Ernest Milton, Ion Swing, and John Gielgud) at the Vic, each giving a different, yet equally convincing interpretation of the character.

Although there is no specific way to interpret the play, one thing is for certain. Shakespeare did not intend for Hamlet to be seen as a simple revenge play with a simple revenge delay. Rather, he beckoned play critics everywhere to dive deep within a complex hero and make sense of how he handles his emotionally trying circumstances. Works Cited 1.

Stubbs, George. Shakespeare the Critical Heritage. Shakespearean Criticism Volume 1. Ed. Laurie Harris.

Detroit Michigan: Gale Research Company, 1984. 76 - 79. 2. Richardson, William. On the Character of Hamlet. Shakespearean Criticism Volume 1. Ed. Laurie Harris.

Detroit Michigan: Gale Research Company, 1984. 88. 3. Mackenzie, Henry. Shakespearean Criticism Volume 1. Ed.

Laurie Harris. Detroit Michigan: Gale Research Company, 1984. 88 - 90. 4. Coleridge, Samuel. Excerpts from a lecture given before the London philosophical society on Dec. 11, 1811.

Shakespearean Criticism Volume 1. Ed. Laurie Harris. Detroit Michigan: Gale Research Company, 1984. 94 - 95. 5. Ulrich, Hermann.

Criticisms of Shakespeare's dramas: Hamlet. Shakespearean Criticism Volume 1. Ed. Laurie Harris. Detroit Michigan: Gale Research Company, 1984. 98 - 102. 6. Gervinius, G.

G. Third Period of Shakespeare's Dramatic Poetry: Hamlet. Shakespearean Criticism Volume 1. Ed. Laurie Harris.

Detroit Michigan: Gale Research Company, 1984. 103 - 106. 7. Frater Taciturn us. Guilty? Not Guilty? Shakespearean Criticism Volume 1. Ed.

Laurie Harris. Detroit Michigan: Gale Research Company, 1984. 102. 8. Strachey, Edward. A New Variorum Edition of Shakespeare. Shakespearean Criticism Volume 1. Ed.

Laurie Harris. Detroit Michigan: Gale Research Company, 1984. 102 - 103. 9. Keyishian, Harry. Problematic Revenge in Hamlet and King Lear. Shakespearean Criticism Volume 35.

Ed. Laurie Harris. Detroit Michigan: Gale Research Company, 1996. 174 - 182. 10. Muir, Kenneth.

Freud's Hamlet. Shakespearean Criticism Volume 35. Ed. Laurie Harris. Detroit Michigan: Gale Research Company, 1996. 237 - 238. 11. Gardner, Helen.

The Historical Approach: Hamlet. Shakespeare and the Tragedies. Ed. Alfred Herbage. New York: The Pelican, 1963. 61 - 70. 12. Jorgensen, Paul A.

William Shakespeare: The Tragedies. Boston, Ma: Twayne Publishers, 1985. 13. Bradley, A. C. Shakespearean Tragedies. New York: St.

Martin Press, 1960. 97 - 121. 14. Knight, Wilson G. The Embassy of Death: An Essay on Hamlet. Hamlet. New York: Harold Bloom, 1990. 80 - 95. 15. Aichinger, C.

P. Hamlet and the Modern Dilemma. Shakespearean Criticism Volume 35. Ed.

Laurie Harris. Detroit Michigan: Gale Research Company, 1996. 212 - 215. 16. Shakespeare, William. The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark.

Chicago: Harcourt Brace Jovanovic h, Inc, 1990.


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