A brilliant mind can spark greatness, or tragedy. William Shakespeare’s Hamlet revolves around a young prince who upon the revelation of his untimely father’s death to be by the hand of his uncle devotes himself to avenge his father and to murder his Uncle Claudius. Hamlet’s delay in the necessary slaughter of Claudius is the result of indecision which is the product of his overtly contemplative mind. This explicitly introspective mind gives reason for him to constantly question and analyze the vast difference between appearance and reality. As well, he constantly over analyzes the soul after death which causes him to ponder what Claudius’ quality of life after death will be like and wants to make sure it is not the joyous, successful life that he has presently. Overall, when he wants to act, he over thinks the results and fails to.
The intense exploration of appearance and reality is truly at the core of Hamlet’s character, and is the by-product of his inability to just accept what is what. To truly understand why Hamlet delays in the righteous murder of his treacherous uncle, one must analyze this important detail about Hamlets manner. One of the first few lines Hamlet speaks that give true insight to his intelligence are
I know not “seems.”
‘Tis not alone my inky cloak, good mother,
Nor customary suits of solemn black…
Nor the dejected haviour of the visage,
Together with all forms, modes, shapes of grief,
That can denote me truly: these indeed seem,
For they are actions that a man might play;
But I have that within which passeth show;
These, but the trappings and the suits of woe. (1.2.76-86)
This symbolizes his intense insightfulness of the capacity of human emotion the ability to feel different from what ones appearance gives off. While the rest of the nobles are indulging in the superficial, Hamlet is intensely contemplating what is and what is not. He is also not a person to simply accept the beauty in life, and instead prefers to see beneath the layers of false pretenses to see the ugly, corruption and greed beneath. When others look to the night sky, they only feel the simple pleasure of a pretty scene, while Hamlet sees stars as “no other thing to me than a foul and pestilent / congregation of vapours” (2.2.302-303). Rosencrantz and Guildenstern cannot simply grasp the idea that Hamlet is making a metaphor comparing these toxic constellations to everyone in society whom he feels try to make themselves look great and important but in reality are not.
This intelligence is what causes him to question everything he thinks he knows about his father’s death. He is initially a thinker, but the death is something he cannot move away from and causes him to war with himself on the inside about everything. The ghost appears and tells him the truth and while others simply might blindly believe the apparition or completely disregard everything it said, but instead Hamlet considers:
The spirit that I have seen
Maybe the devil: and...