Hamlet Cunning or Cowardly?

Hamlet, every psychologists dream. A man tormented by the fact that his father was murdered by his father, and further thrown into a fury by the incestuous, adulterous acts of his mother. A man who is haunted by the ghostly images of his father who has commissioned him to avenge his untimely death. A man who has grand ideas of revenge, but does not act upon them, and instead tortures himself about his weakness. But was Hamlet really weak as he is perceived, or was he something completely different? Only by examining actions of Hamlets, and the thoughts which we were given a window into can we truly understand the true nature of this creature. A creature that unlike the meek facade which so often fools its viewers, he is actually a cunning yet cautious predator, who is on a mission which he can not afford to fail.
The first glance which we can see of Hamlet’s cautious nature is when he is first told by Horotio of a ghastly apparition which seems to resemble Hamlet’s newly dead father. Hamlet, who is ever cautious, decides to check up on this lead, and finding that it is indeed in the form of his father, decides to follow it and listen to its story of unnatural death, and the need for revenge. But Hamlet does not take this news for the solid truth. Instead throughout the play, Hamlet toys with the idea that the ghost may very well be the devil who is out to make Hamlet do his uncle wrong and then take his soul when he dies.
Hamlet, decides to test out the words of the ghost by putting on a play to see the reaction of his uncle during the play which is suppose to mimic the murder of his father. Only when is absolutely sure that his uncle was indeed the murderer, does he even plan on acting. But even before he thinks about revenge, he is not by any means wondering around clueless as to what is going on. On the contrary, he is in complete control of the situation, through his questions mixed into his self induced insanity, he is able to acquire a full assessment of the situation. Which is yet more proof that he is in fact cunning and cautious rather than a mere coward. For a coward is afraid to act, and has no definite game plan, where as a hunter is wise and knows how to use his opponents so that they divulge information voluntarily, as was done by Rozencranz and Guilderstern.
But one may ask, what of the perfect chance in the confession room which Hamlet gave up. If one is to take a closer look at the situation, one would come to the realization that again, it was the cautious nature of Hamlet which prevented him from completing his task. Hamlet was not aware that Claudius was not really praying, and as Hamlet stated in the play, he would not kill such a heartless murderer while he was praying and send him to heaven, when his father would be destined to spend the rest of his life in purgatory.
As one sees at the very end of the play, Hamlet shows us one last sign of bravery, when he accepts the challenge of the fencing match. He risks death and ultimately gains death in order to avenge his father. As is commonly misunderstood, one does not have to be overbearing and physically strong in order to get something accomplished. If one is cautious and get all o he details straight and then acts in one quick move, one not only has a higher chance of success, but also does so having expelled far less energy as well.