During and immediately following Hamlet's conversation with the Ghost, he is determined to fulfill the Ghost's wishes. Hamlet already has a plan to catch Claudius. However, the next time he appears in the play, which is long after the Ghost's visit, he has not yet done the deed. He admits he may have been deceived by the ghost. "The spirit that I have seen / May be a devil, and the devil hath power / T' assume a pleasing shape”.(Act 2. Scene 2. lines 627-629)
It is not until act three, when Hamlet has not been able to prove his uncle is a murder that he decides to force Claudius’ hand. Hamlet comes up with the idea of the play to prove whether or not Claudius is guilty. But the play also causes another problem. Hamlet discovers Claudius’ guilt but has no evidence to present to the people. Thus, when Hamlet sees Claudius praying he stays his hand until he can absolutely prove his guilt. Another reason why Hamlet stays his hand is because Claudius is praying. It is Hamlet’s fervent belief that if he kills Claudius while he is praying he might go to heaven. Which makes the final lines of that scene so ironic. After Hamlet has left, Claudius says, “My words fly up, my thoughts,/ remain below:/ Words without thoughts never to heaven go”(lines 97-99). Claudius does not think that his words are reaching God. Thus if Hamlet would have killed Claudius, he still would have gone to hell.
Many readers attribute Hamlets inability to act to an Oedipus complex. These proponents say that Hamlet has a desire to do exactly what his uncle has done; to get rid of the husband so that he can have Gertrude for himself. If this is true, Hamlet cannot act because he is fighting against his subconscious; he knows he wants something that is entirely evil, and if he were to go through with it, he would be no better than Claudius.
Hamlet simply thinks too much. He wants the murder of the King to be perfect; Claudius has to go to hell. Hamlet spends too much time planning and not enough time doing; thus, making the King's murder more