The play follows, in large part, the physical and psychological actions of Prince Hamlet as he feigns madness and deliberates killing the King and his step-father. Perhaps more than in any work of literature the notion of actions are implemented as a primary element of determining who the character really is. One of the major quotes of the play is made by Hamlet when he states, "The play's the thing/ Wherein I'll catch the conscience of the king" (Act 2, scene ii). Here Shakespeare is implementing foreshadowing to demonstrate the true nature of Hamlet’s character as hesitant and contemplative. Indeed, Hamlet’s action in not killing the King becomes a major theme throughout the play and demonstrates significant characterization. Throughout many instances and examples Shakespeare demonstrates that rather than being a decisive individual Hamlet is contemplative and existential. This contemplation is implemented in a number of monologues and soliloquys in explaining intimate and detailed aspects of Hamlet’s character. Ultimately, through theme, characterization, and foreshadowing, Shakespeare demonstrates that Hamlet’s actions in refraining from killing the King reveal a significant amount about who he really is.
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