Inaction: Hamlet by William Shakespeare
In the play “Hamlet,” an introvert calls time out from family and state politics to think things through.
Ask any moderately well-educated English speaker what Hamlet – the play or the character – is best known for, and odds are your respondent will quote the line “To be or not to be, that is the question.” The famous soliloquy opening with this line represents Hamlet, prince of Denmark, pondering how to handle the dilemma fate has thrown at him. Should he kill his uncle Claudius, who became king by poisoning Hamlet’s father and who then married Hamlet’s mother? Or should Hamlet escape his sorrow and the pressure for revenge by committing suicide?
No less than six more times Shakespeare has Hamlet turn to the audience and express his thoughts out loud for several minutes. Both this dramatic technique and the content of these monologues reinforce to the audience Hamlet’s personality as a thinker, an introspective person who grapples with fundamental existential issues and prefers to get everything straight in his head before taking action.