I agree with you that Hamlet is not ruled by cruelty when he approaches the task to kill Claudius. However, I think it is not necessarily love what rules him either, but rather it is doubt. He gets the order of his father’s ghost to eliminate Claudius, and promises to obey it. But instead of going ahead and hatching a plan how to kill Claudius, Hamlet wants to first find out whether this deadly task is justifiable. Even then, when he got his prove that the Ghost had told him the truth Hamlet is not putting the order into practice immediately. This doubt of his may have even been triggered by the Ghost saying to Hamlet in 1.5.84-85: “But howsoever thou pursuest this act,/Taint not thy mind, nor let thy soul contrive”. Hamlet’s reaction also changes in this scene, which might be an indicator for his beginning doubt. Whereas he is eager to do it in line 29-31, he is hesitant, even a little bit puzzled after the Ghost exits. Also, the first thing he does after the Ghost had disappeared is to write in his notebook. This shows that he would like to “remember” this meeting with his dead father. Because what he writes primarily describes the fratricide: it was villainous and done it was done with a smile.
Hamlet may have agreed to fulfill the order, nevertheless, he leaves us as the audience uncertain if he actually will kill Claudius or not. We can observe this even later in 3.4. where he decides not to kill Claudius while he prays. I think we have to be aware of the fact that Hamlet was chosen to become the vehicle to solve a conflict he was never involved in. Thus, this task is a heavy burden for Hamlet, as it will make him a murderer, yet even a sinner.
Hamlet, like many of Shakespeare’s other works, such as Othello and Richard III, is a play that focuses on power struggles and revenge. However, it differs from Shakespeare’s other works of this genre in that the character of Hamlet’s actions come from a much different place than those of characters like Iago and Richard III.
At the start of Othello, Iago claims to be trying to overthrow Othello and all those who have more power than he does, because he resents their powerful statures and wants to get revenge on them for it. As the play goes on, he confesses to believing that his wife Emilia had previously cheating on him with Othello, adding to the list of reasons of why he wants to get revenge on him. He is ruled and driven by hatred and the desire to take others down, and those who are around him rarely if…
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