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Character Analysis Hamlet Prince of Denmark The character of Hamlet dominates Shakespeares tragedy of the same name yet Hamlet at the start of the play is not a commanding figure Indeed when we first see the Prince his posture is defensive Hamlet taking a passive if resentful stance toward the events that have befallen him Slow to the conviction that the ghost is his dead father and that Claudius is guilty of regicide Hamlet does not go straight to the task at hand Hamlets delay or procrastination is something about which critics have wondered and that the character himself agonizes his self-reproach reaching an apex in Act IV scene iv which concludes with the words O from this time forth My thoughts be bloody or be nothing worth lines 65-66 The question remains Why doesnt Hamlet act One response to this question stresses Hamlet as a man of thought and words as opposed to deeds Shakespeares Danish prince is one of the most intelligent protagonists in tragic drama Unlike many other Elizabethan revenge tragedy heroes Hamlet is given to philosophy and abstraction At times it seems that the play is less about Hamlet taking action in the external world than it is about his grappling with the key existential problems of human existence From this standpoint Hamlet does not act immediately because he is too preoccupied with analyzing his situation and himself in the broadest terms imaginable Hamlet is also a melancholy figure given to depression who is victimized by a cruel fate and compelled to undertake a revenge mission for which he is not prepared Not only are Hamlets musings about life extensive they are uniformly dark Seen in this light Hamlet does not act because he lacks the emotional fortitude to do so depression and courage being difficult to reconcile There are however good reasons for Hamlet to avoid acting precipitously The story of Old Hamlets murder is known to him only through
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