Indecisive character of Hamlet  

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lmetcalf eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When you look at only the "To be or not to be" soliloquy then it is reasonable to assume that Hamlet is indecisive -- he literally is asking himself whether it is better to live or die -- take action or not. But I don't think it is quite that simple. Every man has his weak moments when circumstances may overwhelm to the point of inertia, but Hamlet keeps moving towards his goal of proving Claudius's guilt and getting the vengeance his father requested. If you look back at the play as a whole: he decides to do what the ghost requests; he decides to act crazy; he decides to have the players put on a play in which he hopes to "catch the conscience of the king;" he decides to hurt Ophelia in attempt to assure everyone of his madness; he decides to ask Horatio to help him watch Claudius; he decides not to kill Claudius when he appears at prayer because that would mean that Claudius would go straight to heaven and that wouldn't be a very just revenge for his father; he decides to kill whoever is behind the curtain in his mother's room; he decides to change the letter to England so that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern die; he decides to take Laertes up on the fencing dual; he decides to forgive Laertes on his death bed; he decides to kill Claudius. This doesn't seem like a man who is indecisive. There are many places where we can see a man who thinks, or perhaps over-thinks, the choices he has or the potential consequences of action, but ultimately, Hamlet keeps on in cautious and contemplative way towards his goal.

mntlblok | Student

The poor fellow couldn't decide whether to be or not.

lolamisslove | Student

I really feel that Hamlet is confused himself... He's kind of a teenager because he has conflicts with his sexuality, identity discovery and impossed identity... He is really proud but in the book he is very unbalanced because he is deeply emotionally affected and he has no time or strenght to fight or keep superficial aspects (like pride, his image or combating the court). It is like kind of a phisocologica thriller love story, he is Hamlet, he is the tragedy