This is the opening to Hamlet's soliloquy in which he shows some insight into his own character. He knows he is a procrastinator, yet cannot bring himself to do what needs to be done. He says:
Now I am alone.
Oh, what a rogue and peasant slave am I!
Is it not monstrous that this player here,
But in a fiction
, in a dream of passion,
Could force his soul so to his own conceit
That from her working all his visage wanned,
Tears in his eyes, distraction in his aspect,
A broken voice, and his whole function suiting
With forms to his conceit? And all for nothing—
What’s Hecuba to him or he to Hecuba
That he should weep for her? What would he do
Had he the motive and the cue for passion
That I have?
compares himself negatively to the actor. He is essentially saying a mere actor, for no better reason than the performance of a fictional role, is better able to adapt himself than he, Hamlet, is; and for this reason Hamlet believes himself to be a coward who just can't seem to take care of business--in this case, to kill Claudius
. What, he asks, could this actor do, if he had the same reasons to act that Hamlet does?