Something was definitely rotten in the state of Denmark! The king was dead of a terrible murder, a betrayal from his own brother, and young Hamlet was enraged with a sense of needing to seek revenge, which came with his father’s passing. You might think that this sort of revenge would come in the form of a crime of passion; something that would be quick and bloody. This was not the case in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, as the young prince unexpectedly drew out his plans for revenge over a large amount of time due to his own weakness of numbness.
Hamlet was full of big ideas and intentions, but he failed to act and to carry out the deed of revenging the death of his father by killing Claudius. Hamlet had his reasons for not acting. I think that partly he wanted it to be unexpected.
Hamlet was definitely a smart guy, and throughout the play it seemed as though everything was premeditated. He did nothing on a whim. I think this was another reason for Hamlet prolonging a quick revenge on Claudius. Nearly all of Hamlet’s actions, with the exception of his outburst at Ophelia’s grave, were preplanned. Although Hamlet was never quick to action, he was always thinking aloud and giving those long speeches. He probably thought too much for his own good at times.
He wrestled with many ideas, thoughts, and feelings over the course of the play, delaying any real action until the time was right. Hamlet was a perfectionist in revenge. He wanted everything to be perfect, and this caused him to take unusual steps to gain his revenge on Claudius. Hamlet’s play within a play caught the conscience of the king. Hamlet did not only want to kill his father’s murderer; he wanted to send him to an eternal punishment of damnation. This caused Hamlet to move slowly and carefully in his revenge.
Hamlet’s delay of vengeance was necessary in order for his ideal revenge to come about. Unfortunately Hamlet’s ideal plans never came to be. Hamlet’s choice to remain idle didn’t cause, but certainly helped bring a downfall to himself. Had Hamlet remained inactive, he certainly would have been able to complete his plans for revenge on Claudius. When Hamlet revealed himself at Ophelia’s tomb, he lost his element of surprise on the king, and causing most of his plans to come apart at the seams.
In the end, Hamlet’s patient form of acting did not destroy his revenge, but his action regarding his love for Opheila did. In some ways, Hamlet let down his guard when he saw Ophelia in her coffin during the dishonorable burial. That opened the door for the current king to plan his own form of vengeance on Hamlet before Hamlet had a chance to kill the king.
In the end, all was lost and no one had a happy ending.