The character of Hamlet is like a philosopher searching for the meaning of his own existence .Yet this search is complicated by the unusual tangle of his family life—royalty, murder revenge and maternal dishonesty. In one of his first soliloquy the disillusion of his mother’s ‘stained’ action makes Hamlet question the value of his own life;

‘How weary,stale flat and unprofitable

Seems to me all the uses of the world’

Speaking later to the arrival of the travelling players he again reflects on his incapacity to seek revenge on his father’s murder

‘Am I a coward?

Who calls me villain,----plucks off my beard and blows it in my face’

In the well known ‘To be or not to be’ soliloquy, Hamlet presents us with the clearest reason for his delay;

‘Thus conscience does make cowards of us all’

Hamlet is no coward as Shakespeare intrigues in showing us the other side of his character--- the very popular Prince of the Danish people, the foremost swordsman of his time and indeed the Hamlet that can kill Polonius thinking it was the unscrupulous Claudius and later send Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to their death

 Why then does he delay? For such a man revenge would be easy, and  in contrast to Laertes, Hamlet could never say

‘To hell allegiance, vows to the blackest devil

Conscience and grace to the profoundest pit’

Thus what stops Hamlet’s revenge on his father’s murder is that simple fact that Hamlet has a conscience. After all his previous efforts in attempting to establish Claudius’ guilt through the ‘play within the play’ or his feigning madness and hoping to stir the king’s ‘conscience’-all to no avail.

So it is only when conscience has been finally vindicated by the public treachery of Claudius’ poison plot which cries to heaven for revenge, where the ‘readiness is all ’in Hamlet’s response to the unfolding circumstances –Gertrude drinks the poisoned wine meant for Hamlet, the fatal poisoned sword fight with Laertes and the last act to settle every score by killing Claudius;

‘Here thou incestuous damned Dane,

Drink off this potion’

Hamlet by being faithful to his conscience has given meaning to his short tragic life. Horatio his best friend has the final word,

‘Good night, sweet Prince

And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest’