Any examples from Act I to Hamlet's soliloquy in Act 3, scene I: 'To be or not to be...' that shows Hamlet's tragic flaw-- inaction to avenge his father's death?

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William Delaney | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The best example of Hamlet's inaction to avenge his father's death before Act 3, Scene 1, is to be found in Act 2, Scene 2, in a long soliloquy beginning with, "O, what a rogue and peasant slave am I" (line 532). Hamlet cannot understand what is wrong with him. Why can't he act when he knows he "should have fatted all the region kites / With this slave's [Claudius'] offal?" Although he expresses the strongest emotions in this soliloquy, he ends up finding a reason for procrastinating. He will have the visiting players "Play something like the murder of my father / Before mine uncle." This soliloquy reveals Hamlet's tragic flaw better than anything else in the play except, perhaps, for the scene in which he has an opportunity to kill Claudius while the King is alone, unarmed, and at his prayers in Act 3, Scene 3, and Hamlet finds another excuse for postponing the assassination.


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