Are there any positives in Hamlet?

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lsumner | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

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Hamlet desires to be absolutely certain that his Uncle Claudius has indeed murdered his father. That is a positive characteristic. Hamlet does not immediately act on his feelings. He weighs out the circumstances. After his conversation with his father's ghost, Hamlet does not immediately seek revenge of his father's death. He takes time to plan carefully. He seeks out the help of the actors who are in town. He plans a reenactment of his father's death. He wants to be sure that Claudius has indeed murdered his father:

There are, however, good reasons for Hamlet to avoid acting precipitously. The story of Old Hamlet's murder is known to him only through the agency of a ghost, and killing the king on the word of an apparition is plainly a problematic (and possibly mistaken) act.

Hamlet's hesitancy has to be a positive action. While some would act upon speculation, Hamlet seeks the truth. He desires to know if Claudius has actually murdered his father:

Killing a king is a weighty matter, and many modern critics have argued that, in his particular circumstances, Hamlet is wise to defer action.

While some would consider Hamlet's procrastination a fault, his desire to know the truth is honorable. His procrastination is a desire to find the truth. He does not base his revenge on the message of his father's ghost. In the end, Hamlet gets his revenge. He was brave enough to act upon his knowledge of the truth. This also is a positive action. Although Hamlet is young, he behaves wisely by being patient until he is certain that Claudius has indeed murdered his father. He dies a brave young man after killing Claudius, thus getting his revenge. Again, this is a positive action.


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