The Weight of Indecision; Analyzing Hamlet’s Character

Leigh Victoria Phan, MS
7 min readAug 24, 2018
Time for some Shakespeare.

Let’s get classical. Let’s talk Hamlet.

I will be the first to say that the first few times I had to read Hamlet, I would get maddeningly frustrated by his indecision.

I would literally be sitting there, shaking my book, grumbling “Just do it, Hammy! Just do something!”

Despite my initial exasperation, there is a lot to Prince Hamlet’s character that puts him in a constant state of inaction.

I’m going to share the perspectives of some key literary critics as well as my own thoughts on the matter.

Prince Hamlet is a thoughtful young man who is cautious enough not to jump into dangerous situations too hastily. He ponders nearly his every move before acting and has many intrinsic motivations. He values morality and holds himself to a high standard of accountability, which makes him an honorable man despite his quest for revenge.

While his goal may be a bloody one, his reasons and the amount of thought he invests in his actions evoke a sense of sympathy from even the most moral reader.

Literary critics Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and A.C. Bradley compile theories and hypothesize on the exact reasons…



Leigh Victoria Phan, MS

Brooklyn-based writer and poet. Designer in NYC. Drinks books and loves coffee. Has an MS from NYU in Integrated Design & Media. Working on an MFA in Fiction.