Hamlet Revenge: Delays In Commitment
Towards the end of the play, Hamlet is confronted with another struggle in contemplating the role of providence, which again, delays his quest for revenge. When Hamlet returns to Denmark in Act IV, he acquires a more mellow and mature understanding of Christian salvation, which is the idea that a divine force is wisely and rationally running the universe.
Hamlet: There is a special providence in the fall of a sparrow. If it be now, ’tis not to come; if it be not to come, it will be now; if it be not now, yet it will come – the readiness is all. Since no man of aught he leaves knows, what is’t to leave betimes? Let be.
The “fall of a sparrow” is Biblical imagery from the Gospel, illustrating that the fate of every creature, even the insignificant nature of a small bird, lies within the hands of God. Since God is so concerned with everything, this allusion affirms the wise and moral way in which the supreme being governs and protects the universe.
Moreover, the syntactical repetition in the following line, “tis not to come; if it be not to come, it will be now; if it be not now, yet it will come” reinforces the perspective that all Christians can do in this world is to be ready and prepared. Since time is controlled by God, Hamlet believes that the world will unfold as it should and when it is most fitting.
At this point, he is no longer trying to find the right time to get revenge on Claudius; instead, he concludes with “let be,” emphasizing his affirmation and trust in God’s complete control.
Since Hamlet no longer needs to be the agent for divine justice, his act of vengeance is delayed again and he awaits readily for divine guidance to help accomplish his revenge.
In conclusion, Hamlet’s excessive contemplative nature is the result of his inner turmoil as he is tormented by the uncertainty of knowledge and is conflicted by his religious beliefs. These internal conflicts lead to his continuous questions and considerations regarding sin and salvation and the consequences of his actions, thus hindering his ability to act resolutely.
Hamlet’s delays, however, suggest that he harbors a self-centered attitude and the act of vengeance was ultimately self-serving. Had he set aside his personal conundrums of how he could be affected and focused on the well being of Denmark, the revenge would have been executed at a much faster pace. Instead, these hindrances affected the nation as a whole, delaying the restoration of order in his country and resulted in numerous innocent casualties.
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