Note to Hamlet, 4.4.40-41: "some craven scruple / Of thinking too precisely on the event"


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Hamlet,
Act 4, Scene 4, lines 40-41
some craven scruple / Of thinking too precisely on the event: cowardly scrupulosity, consisting of thinking too precisely about the outcome. —I'm not sure just what outcome Hamlet has in mind, or why he considers it cowardly to think about that outcome. Here are two possibilities, neither of which is persuasive to me: 1) If he kills the King, he could face retribution from the King's supporters, and he thinks of himself as a coward for worrying about that retribution. 2) He feels revulsion at the idea of killing the King and considers his own feelings to be a sign of cowardice.