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Hamlet Character Flaws

In every play or book that a person reads the characters are never perfect. They always have a flaw that causes a problem or conflict within the storyline. This is true for Hamlet’s character in William Shakespeare’s Hamlet. In several of Hamlet’s speeches he discloses many flaws in his character to the readers throughout the play. These are aspects that have thus far only been able to be seen as fragments in other speeches. One of Hamlet’s most renowned traits is his over-analysis of conversational topics and situations in which action must be taken. This is a major flaw in his character.

In Hamlet’s speech in act three, scene three he reveals himself to be an over-analytical man when he is about to kill Claudius, stops and says,” And so he goes to heaven” (III, 3, 74). He also shows that he does not really want to kill Claudius but feels compelled to out of a sense of duty to his dead father. Hamlet demonstrates his over-analytical nature in line seventy-five of the speech when he says, “That would be scanned:” meaning that he should examine his situation more closely. Instead of simply killing Claudius while he had the chance, he over-analyzes and eventually decides to postpone Claudius’ murder.

By doing this Hamlet is missing the best chance he will obtain in the play. An example of his over-analytical nature is also apparent in his speech in act one, scene four, line 15. He begins his speech quite normally, replying with a simple answer to Horatio’s inquiry but then his thoughts begin to wander and he starts to analyze and philosophize about topics unrelated to Horatio’s question. Hamlet’s over-analytical nature causes a flaw in his character and helps lead to many others. Not only is Hamlet an over-analytical character but he is also a procrastinator and this is demonstrated many times in the play.

He knows that he must kill Claudius but he postpones when he says “Why, this is hire and salary, not revenge” (III, 3, 79). This almost suggests that Hamlet does not really want to kill Claudius, but feels obligated to do so. Through his over-analysis he seems to be almost talking himself out of doing his job. Hamlet also procrastinates in act two-scene two, line 594 when he convinces himself that his plan to add lines to the play and watch Claudius’ reaction, rather than completing his task, is the best plan of action.

Although in the end he postpones the murder of Claudius, ” like John-a-dreams, unpregnant of [his] cause” (II, 2, 576), Hamlet acknowledges his lack of action. This also shows two main plot points. One that Hamlet does not really want to kill the king and two, that he will go to great lengths to postpone his duty. In fact, Hamlet reveals to us about his unwillingness to kill Claudius early in the play when he says “O cursed spite, that ever I was born to set it right! (I, 5, 193), meaning that he is angry that he is now put in the position of having to kill the king and he is sorry that he was born with this destiny. Hamlet’s procrastination flaw is one that cannot be overlooked due to its serious concern with Hamlet’s actions and thought process. Hamlet’s character flaws may be a small factor, but they play a big part in the plot. They show the style in which William Shakespeare writes and the direction in which he was trying to develop the story. The flaws in Hamlet’s character were developed rather well in the terms of his tragic life story.

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