This comes out in his first soliloquy he utters word of suicide, “sullied flesh would melt, thaw and resolve itself into a dew” he is resentful of the fact that God made suicide a sin, and to say he was completely unsettled by his mothers hasty move to his incestuous sheets would be an extreme understatement, it challenges his thoughts on women, and love, he thought love was forever, but if this was so how could his own mother do this, he can’t understand how, how could the woman who brought him up and clung to his father as if the more she saw him the more she wanted him suddenly do move between to brothers as alike as he to Hercules.
Shakespeare has chosen this metaphor, and many other like it throughout the play because he knows, everyone, even the groundlings, would have heard some version of the story of Hercules, know for his immense strength and physical ability, this gives them a an open window with a view straight at what he is trying to get at. Hamlet is in such a confused state at this point that he appears lost, but this is not to be the final blow he still has to meet the ghost.
We rejoin hamlet after he has met the ghost, found out about the true circumstances of his fathers death and made certain of the fact that Claudius was the one responsible for his passing, he knows what he has to do, he has to exact his revenge to honor his father. I feel that Even some of the most humble of people would find it hard to control themselves in a situation like this, the animal instinct to bring harm to someone because they have done it to you first is, a (maybe undesirable) human trait, like it or not, its
found in all of us and I truly believe that for anyone to find that your uncle has killed your father to marry your mother would stretch the boundaries of anyone’s self control, I think this shows us as the reader / audience how truly hamlet is not a man of action by nature, and by suppressing his instincts to hurt someone and trying to Approach it as a philosopher would and think it through beforehand and not confronting the problem directly it manifests itself and works against him causing his irrational behavior.
Shakespeare has created such an interesting and unique character for this situation and the Structure with which it is started would leave even the most uneducated of people who may not be too concerned with any deeper meanings of the play enthralled by this point. I think this is what makes a great play write- to bring people out of their daily routines and think, hang on every word, because they’re all wondering, everyone wants to know, what is he going to do next?
Hamlets next move is to inform his mother of his fathers murder, but by this time he has already raised Claudius’ suspicions with his erratic behavior and he is one step ahead, sending Polonius to eavesdrop on the conversation, his attempt to take action in such a way and venting his anger through her leaves his mother distraught and Polonius feels that it has got too heated and shouts and tries to break cover but before he has a chance is dispatched by hamlet believing it to be Claudius by driving his sword into the wall hanging he was hiding behind.
This the first of Hamlets attempts to try and take action leave him in an even more compromising situation, and by doing this has only confirmed everyone’s view that he is mad.
We see from this that the only point at which he will take action is when this animal instinct does get the better of him, but unfortunately for himself the thing that has upset him the most and caused him to react is not his fathers murder, but his mothers marriage. This leaves him no closer to avenging his father than he was in the beginning. You would think that maybe now he has already killed his uncles favorite high courtier, that he would be poised in such a position that the easiest way for him to clear his name would be for him to kill Claudius and reveal his secret to the court.
Rather than explain his actions and his reasons for them he continues to act as if he has no intelligent reasoning (and in the light of his emotional turmoil I do not think that this is very far from the truth. ) Claudius’ fears that hamlet knows something that he is not letting on to is now only validated further and he knows that hamlet must have thought that it was he behind the tapestry. Claudius decides to send hamlet to England thinking “that a change of air may help him” but really he is sending hamlet with a letter informing the king of England to dispose of him on his arrival.
Hamlet discovers this letter though and jumps ship to return to Denmark. the first scene he appears in on his return is of Ophelias funeral, his girlfriend that has killed herself due to the fact that the thought of her boyfriends madness and his killing of her father who basically controlled her life is too much to bear. Even now hamlet knows of his uncles attempt to kill him he still makes no decisive action and is only drawn in to a rapier fight with Laertes son of murdered Polonius and brother of dead Ophelia, this is to be his attempt at action- revenge for the killing of his father, just as hamlet is trying to do to Claudius.
Laertes on the contrary to Hamlet is a man of action and takes direct measures to assure his revenge. Unbeknown to Hamlet this is to be the second attempt on his life, Claudius has teamed up with laertes in a bid to put an end to hamlets antics once and for all, they have poisoned Laertes’ rapier and a cup of wine which should he fail to be hit, be his end. Hamlet must be aware that something is not right with this, and is advised by his only true friend that he has maintained trust in throughout the whole play to not go through with it and to back out, but Hamlet is not in a sensible state of mind and agrees to the duel.
In the duel hamlet is struck with the poisoned rapier and then so is Laertes when they both drop their daggers and they pick up each others, hamlets mother drinks to this- from the poisoned cup.
The queen collapses shortly after drinking and it is at this point it is Laertes who announces Claudius as a fiend, not Hamlet, even now he has seen his mother die before his very own eyes, Laertes and hamlet make there peace ,and with Hamlets last breaths he eventually executes his action, he forces Claudius to drink from the poisoned cup, and with this, his deed is done, he has avenged his father, and he now has the weight lifted from his shoulders, but his lack of pragmatic action has left the court a bloodbath, his inability to act without thinking has been his downfall.
Maybe if he was to have killed Claudius as soon as he confirmed he was the murderer, then this would have been a different story, but the there would not have been a play to be written for us to enjoy hundreds of years later.