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Hamlet is a play written by Shakespeare. The plays main theme is vengeance. Hamlet who is also the protagonist in the play clearly utilizes other characters to bring out the theme of revenge effectively. Fascinatingly, Hamlet is a revenge tragedy that is driven by a hero who is incapable to commit to the act of retribution. In this story, it is evident that the inability of Hamlet to revenge his father’s death is an act that helps in driving the plot forward. This is the same thing that leads to the demise of various characters such as Gertrude, Laertes, Rosencrantz, Polonius, Guildenstern, and Ophelia. The death of these characters takes place as a result of Hamlet’s failure to quick action. He supports his delay to act by saying, “conscience does make cowards of us all" and that "resolution" falls apart "with the pale cast of thought” (Barnet 17),
In regards to the theme of action verses inaction, Hamlet plays an instrumental role in the play. In order to explore this theme, Hamlet is unable to take action. However, Shakespeare uses other characters in the play such as Fortinbras and Laertes. These two characters capably execute revenge. The first one travels many miles to succeed in taking over Denmark, while the latter, plots the death of Hamlet following the demise of his father, Polonius. In fact, Hamlet is one of the most remarkable plays that explores about feelings of cultural identity that is represented through the isolated character, Hamlet. Hamplet after being commanded by his father’s ghost to take action, he fails to do so. This creates conflict of responsibility and lack of respect to his father and the community. Following the agitated murder of Hamlet’s father bring him isolation, thus, making him unable to react over the demise of his dad (Barnet 19). However, he delays to act, but when he acts he does so with indecisiveness. As a son, the first duty to from a son whose father has been murdered is to find the murderer and punish him accordingly.
When reading this play, the reader realizes that Hamlet is a king in waiting and if he follows his dad’s wish, the society is likely to support him. However, being a king demands for safety and security of the people and he must also ensure that there is stability in his Kingdom. To this point, we revisit Hamlet’s use of soliloquy after he had met the ghost earlier on. If one reviews the “To be or not to be” soliloquy, one realizes how Shakespeare develops this theme of action verses inaction (Barnet 18). In fact, Hamlet is directed to take retaliation, which he acknowledges as a son. It is worth noting that Hamlet’s vengeance is ineffectual because after concurring that he is going to act, he delays any action until the play ends. This is not a common feature in other revenge tragedies. Nonetheless, it is true that Shakespeare uses this delay in building Hamlet’s emotional and psychological complexity.
Just like Hamlet’s move of not taking any vengeance or action against the killers of his father affects him negatively, it also doesn’t work out for other characters that happens to take vengeance. This clearly presents to the reader, how Hamlet is complicated and interesting. While it is a fact that Hamlet does not act and many characters act, this action by other character does not work out in their favor. For instance, the plot by Claudius backfires, Laertes is manipulated and finally killed by his own treachery, and Gertrude marries her husband’s murderer and dies for it. Eventually, Hamlet fails to take action and fails to provide merits and demerits of action verses inaction (Barnet 27). Instead, one may conclude that this play makes a sceptical implication that there is just a single result of both action and inaction, demise. Presently, this story about a man who is incapable to act is a tool that that contributes to ideals of values and morality. Hamlet’s downfall is also a definite asset of improving the society, and teaches about being empathetic to others.
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