Why does it take Hamlet so long to avenge his father's death?

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Rebecca Owens eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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One reason Hamlet takes so long may be that the opportunity has not yet arisen for him to kill Claudius before the scene in Act III.iii when Claudius seems to be praying. At that point, Hamlet refuses to kill Claudius because Claudius's prayer will win him forgiveness, and Hamlet wants him to have a worthy punishment for his father's murder.

Another reason may be that Hamlet simply thinks too continually about it. He hesitates because he looks at the task from too many angles. He is paralyzed by his own uncertainty. He is uncertain of whether killing Claudius is really the right thing to do. He is uncertain, as is evidenced in his soliloquy at the end of Act II.ii, that the Ghost is really his father.

The passage below taken from Hamlet's Act II.ii soliloquy sheds more light on the reasons for...

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