Describe how Hamlet feels about his duty of revenge. Explain the reasons why he may have conflicting feelings towards this most pious duty.act 1, scene 5

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William Delaney eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Hamlet is Shakespeare's most popular play, and the hero is one of Shakespeare's most likable characters. I believe that people like Hamlet and take an interest in the long, complicated play because most of us can identify with the young prince's predicament. He is a sensitive, civilized, studious, introspective man who is asked to commit a cold-blooded murder and feels a strong filial obligation to do so. Most of us would feel the same way. We don't want to murder anybody, regardless of the provocation, although we might do so in the heat of passion. We can understand why Hamlet can't quite bring himself to kill Claudius even when he has at least one perfect opportunity where Claudius is alone, unarmed, and at prayers. Hamlet has "conflicting feelings" because he feels outraged by Claudius, who murdered his father, seduced his mother, and stole the crown; but at the same time he feels reluctant to kill another human being. Hamlet keeps telling himself that he has got to kill Claudius and that hewill do it sooner or later, but he doesn't want to be a murderer. In one place he says, "The time is out of joint, o cursed spite! that ever I was born to put it right." We like Hamlet more than most of his other characters because we identify with him.