hamletCritically examine the soliloquies of hamlet.  Does he shirk his reponsibilities?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A melancholic and deeply rational thinker, Hamlet is not as dilatory as some readers may feel.  For one thing, he delays acting upon his father's murder because he wishes to be absolutely certain of this murder and it perpetrator; after all, regicide is a serious offense.  Added to this condition, Hamlet does not know that killing Claudius will act as a solution to the something that is "rotten" in Denmark, for the entire court is corrupt. But, in his third soliloquy, Hamlet seems to arrive at a solution to his dilemmas as he decides to have the actors of a play reenact something like the murder of his father while he observes--he will have others work for him.  Then, in his continuing self-debate, Hamlet wonders if there is any meaning to existence.  However, he does not want to kill himself since suicide will condemn him to hell for eternity.

Thus, it seems that for every action that Hamlet entertains, he discovers a negative reaction that will result from it, bringing him to an impasse. In his fifth soliloquy he decides to talk unmercifully to his mother and expose her behavior.  Finally, it is not until Hamlet observes the courage of Fortinbras who willingly approaches a battle that he has little chance of winning.  If this man has that kind of courage, Hamlet ponders, what should a son do for his father?  Resolving all debates at last, Hamlet, the Prince of Denmark acts and effects the end of the entire corrupt court of his country, handing over the reign to the admirable Fortinbras.

ask996 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Hamlet is a dynamic character even though he is not quick to make decisions. Perhaps this is exactly how Shakespeare wanted him to be perceived. In creating Hamlet in this way, Shakespeare also gave his viewing audiences time in which to ponder the situations as well.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
I think the soliloquies are proof that Hamlet takes his responsibility seriously. He is truly conflicted about what to do. He is not shirking his responsibility, but he is seriously trying to determine what the best action is and if he should take action at all.
epollock | Student

Reading his soliloquies, he is a passionate, observant person. I think that people feel he is a person who reacts too slowly and can't make a decision, but that is far from the truth. he seems to want things to play out so that the evil people will end up exposing themselves for who they are.