Hamlet's Character


In Hamlet's speech in act three, scene three Hamlet discloses many
facets of his character to us, aspects that we have thus far only been able
to see as fragments in other speeches. He reveals himself to be an
over-analytical man who often procrastinates. He also shows that he does
not really want to kill Claudius but feels compelled to out of a sense of
duty to his dead father. Hamlet demonstrates his over-analytical nature in
line seventy-three of the speech when he says "That would be scann'd:",
meaning that he should examine his situation more closely. Instead of
simply killing Claudius while he had the chance he over-analyses and
eventually decides to postpone Claudius' murder, missing the best chance he
will obtain in the play. Hamlet is also a procrastinator and this is
demonstrated many times in the play. In line eighty he says "Why, this is
hire and salary, not revenge". He knows that he must kill Claudius but he
postpones it. This almost suggests that Hamlet does not really want to
kill Claudius, but feels obligated to do so. Through his over-analysis he
seems to be almost talking himself out of doing his job.

One of Hamlet's most renown traits is his over-analysis of
conversational topics and situations in which action must be taken. An
example of his over-analytical nature is apparent in his speech in act one,
scene four, line 13. He begins his speech quite normally, replying with a
simple answer to Horatio's inquiry but then his thoughts begin to wander
and he starts to analyze and philosophize about topics unrelated to
Horatio's question. Another trait of Hamlet is the way he procrastinates.
For example, in act two, scene two, line 603 he convinces himself that his
plan to add sixteen lines to the play and watch Claudius' reaction, rather
than completing his task, is the best plan of action. Although in the end
he postpones the murder of Claudius, beginning on line 570 he acknowledges
his lack of action. This also shows that Hamlet does not really want to
kill the king and that he will go to great lengths to postpone his duty.
In fact, Hamlet reveals to us about his unwillingness to kill Claudius
early in the play. In act one, scene five, line 189 he says "O cursed
spite,/That ever I was born to set it right!", meaning that he is angry
that he is now put in the position of having to kill the king and he is
sorry that he was born with this destiny.