In Shakespeare's Hamlet, Hamlet says, "The readiness is all" (5. But is the "readiness" all? Throughout the play I believe it is not. Hamlet's thought process and grief plays a large part of his readiness to act, or lack there of. Mainly his lack of acting is his killing of King Claudius when he has the opportunity. The conflicting character to that of Hamlet is Ophelia. "The readiness if all" (5.2.160) pertains to her throughout her life in the play, even to her death.
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all,.
And thus the native hue of resolution.
Is sicklied o"er with the pale cast of thought,.
And enterprises of great pith and moment.
With this regard their currents turn awry.
And lose the name of action (3.2.91-96).
Conscience, cowards, thought and action. All this has a great deal to do with Hamlet and the way he led his life. The biggest of these is thought and grief. I saw him as his thoughts and grief led him to his conscience, his self-awareness. Every time he was to take some sort of action his thoughts and grief interfered and became a burden on his conscience. This was a burden that he constantly carried with him.
As he said, "Thus conscience does make cowards of us all" (3.1.91), he shows us that he is fearful. If he were to act without such deep thought he would not have the burden of being a "coward," with a conscience at that.
Being a coward burdened with a conscience Hamlet is not able to take any action. "With this regard their currents turn awry, And lose the name of action" (3.1.95-6). The action he does not take in killing Claudius results in an outcome of death and bloodshed. In the loss of action, the life of Claudius being spared, everyone involved is inevitably in harms way. From Polonius being killed, to the suicide of Ophelia, and to the killing of Queen Gertrude, Laertes, King Claudius, and Hamlet.
All this was the result of "the pale cast of thought" (3.1.93). Hamlet's thoughts and grief make all his obstacles impossible to overcome.