Hamlet Critical Essay, Fatal Flaw

Introduction Hamlet; Shakespeare’s longest playfollows the story of the eponymous character, who must come to terms with the murder of his father the king. The regicide was committed by the King’s own brother, Claudius who subsequently marries the Queen. Throughout the story, Hamlet’s fatal flaw of procrastination thwarts his progress in avenging his father’s death, and leads to his tragic demise.
Paragraph One * Catalyst of appearance of father’s ghost, instructing to “revenge his foul and most unnatural murder”. Ghost trapped in purgatory, implying he was killed unexpectedly and was unable to confess his sins.* This presents Hamlet with a moral dilemma, doesn’t know if he should trust the ghost “be thou a spirit of heath, or a goblin damn’d” * as he is a prince hamlet has a duty to avenge his father, but dithers as he wants to protect his soul- audience sympathises with this* Therefore, he procrastinates, which will inevitably lead to his demise
Paragraph Two * Hamlet needs proof of ghost’s reliability* Decides to call for actors to come to perform a play “the play is the thing in which i’ll catch the conscience of the king”, spends time directing the actors in a precise manner ie. procrastinating* Hopes to see a reaction confirming Claudius’ guilt* play’s title “the mouse trap” is ironic as Hamlet wants to ‘catch’ Claudius in the act* play parallels many aspects of Claudius murdering the old king. Claudius gets rattled and calls an end to the play “give me light. Away.” implies that this struck a raw nerve, thus convincing hamlet of Claudius’ guilt* Claudius alerted to hamlet’s suspicions, tells R+G to spy on Hamlet* therefore, Hamlet’s procrastination seals his fate as Claudius is provided time to plot in
Paragraph Three (Turning Point for Hamlet’s Fate) * Hamlet is presented with opportune moment to kill Claudius, doesn’t take it* Claudius is alone praying, confessing his sin of regicide “O’ my offence is rank, it smells to heaven” hamlet doesn’t hear Claudius’ confessions, only that he’s praying. Doesn’t want to kill him now as it would only send him to heaven* Hamlet wants to send Claudius to Hell. Also ironic, as the very thing that saves Claudius at this moment- the appearance of his praying- should have been the thing to condemn him as he is literally confessing* Hamlet’s procrastination seals his fate as it surely gives Claudius time to plan Hamlet’s demise, audience is frustrated for this
Paragraph Four (Turning Point for End of Procrastination) * Point of self realisation for Hamlet* Encounters Young Fortinbras’ army on his way to England, who are off to conquer worthless polish land for only the name of honour. Compares himself to soldiers “is not to stir without great argument/when honour’s at stake. How stand i then?” Disgusted and embarrassed with himself* now sees that his procrastination has prevented avenging his father’s death, has more cause than the soldiers prepared to die for trivial land * Decides to become Elizabethan Revenge Hero “my thoughts be bloody or be nothing worth” * Scene ends on positive note, as he has finally resolved to stop procrastinating, however this may be too late to save him
Paragraph Five * Hamlet’s determination for revenge is confirmed* Gets very philosophical about life after Ophelia’s death and prior to the fatal duel with Laertes “there is special providence in the fall of a sparrow. If it be now, ’tis not to come; if it be not to come, it will be now; if it be not now, yet it will come”* Realisation that God plans everything down to the death of an insignificant bird ie. overthinking, and his own fate is now in His hands. Scene is full of Pathos Irony as moments before this divine realisation, Claudius has ensured Hamlet’s death* Hamlet dies as Laertes stabs him with a poisoned blade, but Hamlet does manage to kill claudius. Poigniant scene, as without procrastination Hamlet would have surely lived* Cathartic ending as Hamlet cleanses denmark without staining his own soul,* audience likely happy with ending and denmark can move forward without corruption in the court
Conclusion * Hamlet’s procrastination resulted in his demise*

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