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Why Does Hamlet Act In the first act of Shakespeares Hamlet the young prince learns that his father King Hamlet who has been dead for two months was murdered by Claudius Hamlets uncle who is now the new king Near the end of Act I the ghost of king Hamlet appears before his son to inform him of this foul strange and unnatural treachery The ghost tells Hamlet that Claudius poured poison in his ear as he lay sleeping Finally the ghost commands Hamlet to avenge the murder Remember me the ghost says departing At first Hamlet appears more than willing to comply He is already upset that Claudius has married Gertrude his mother Moreover Hamlet intimates that he already suspected some kind of treachery When the ghost relates what Claudius has done Hamlet utters O my prophetic soul Then in a moment of passion Hamlet vows to sweep to his revenge For most of the play however he does not sweep to anything In Act II we learn that two months have passed since the ghost told Hamlet of Claudius treachery Hamlet does finally kill Claudius but not until the end of the last act Knowing this many readers have asked the question why does Hamlet delay Of course killing Claudius in Act II makes for a very short play With this aside however a number of different interpretations have been offered to account for Hamlets inaction including one by the character himself which I believe is at least as relevant as any other It is not clear what has happened during the two months since Hamlet spoke with his fathers ghost but it is clear that Hamlet is aware that he
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