What emotions do you think Hamlet experiences over the course of his soliloquy in act 4, scene 4? What conclusion does Hamlet reach, or what does he realize, over the course of this speech?  

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In this soliloquy, Hamlet is trying to talk himself into doing what his culture tells him he must: avenge his father's death by killing his uncle. He knows at this point that the ghost's words are true, so he has no excuse for hesitating. As he puts it, his thinking "too precisely" about the revenge killing is, by now, three parts cowardice and only one part wisdom.

Hamlet want to use Fortinbras, who is marching on Denmark to avenge his own father's death, as a model for how he wants to behave. However, it is clear from the way he talks about Fortinbras that Hamlet has profound doubts about his course of action.

Fortinbras, Hamlet says, is bringing an army to to wreak revenge:

to my shame, I see
The imminent death of twenty thousand men,
That for a fantasy and trick of fame
Go to their graves like beds
Hamlet calls Fortinbras's desire for revenge a fantasy and a trick of fame: in other words, what Fortinbras is doing, Hamlet thinks, is for nothing. When Hamlet says "to my shame," the overt meaning is that he is ashamed of his inaction compared to the overwhelming vigor of Fortinbras, but a second reading is that it makes him feel a blush of shame that a fellow prince would be willing to throw away so many lives for something as intangible as "honor."
By the end of the soliloquy, Hamlet has decided that his thoughts should be "bloody." But he is not very convincing. The...

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