In every Act, "Hamlet" delays his plan to avenge. What are the reasons for him delaying in each Act (1-5)? I am looking for a different reason for each Act. And I also need quotes from...

In every Act, "Hamlet" delays his plan to avenge. What are the reasons for him delaying in each Act (1-5)?

I am looking for a different reason for each Act. And I also need quotes from the play to support each of these reasons.

Expert Answers
sullymonster eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Act I, Hamlet's first reaction is to be concerned about committing a murder himself. He expresses a concern that he will be "joining hell" if he does:

"O all you host of heaven! O earth! What else? And shall I couple hell?"

In Act II, Hamlet admits that he is too uncertain and cautious to enact revenge. He can't bring himself to do it:

"Yet I,/A dull and muddy-mettled rascal, peak Like John-a-dreams,/ unpregnant of my cause, And can say nothing!"

He resolves in this act to trick Claudius, feeling that a guilty reaction will give him (Hamlet) what he needs to commit the murder.

In Act III, Hamlet sees Claudius praying and says that he can't kill Claudius then because Claudius would go to heaven and not be punished:

"Now might I do it pat, now he is praying; And now I'll do't. And so he goes to heaven, And so am I revenged."

In Act IV, Hamlet finally sees that all events are working to help him follow through with his revenge.  It is in this scene that he begins to get the resolve that he needs:

"How all occasions do inform against me
And spur my dull revenge!"

Read the study guide:
Hamlet

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