The theme of revenge is a primary source of discord among the characters in Hamlet. Vengeance affects each person who is exacting it and those present around them. In particular, Hamlet, Laertes, and Claudius’s retribution leads to their demise.
William Shakespeare's Hamlet can be defined as a revenge tragedy. In Shakespeare's Hamlet, the reader sees a noble, heroic central character that is destroyed because a defect in his character either causes him to involve himself in circumstances which overpower him, or make him incapable of dealing with a destructive situation caused by another character or by circumstances. The play ends with the death of the central character. But before he dies, he achieves insights which make him a more perceptive human being than he was when the play began. This central character, Hamlet, shows his love directly and indirectly to the reader.
Hamlet is noble in birth and person, a prince of extraordinary intelligence: and, as the action of the play proves, he is heroic. His defect (indecision, excessive imagination, irrationality, madness, etc.) prevent him from seizing control of the world Claudius has created. His death closes the play, but only after he experiences and expresses illuminations about human life and death. After Hamlet's Father died, it cast an unwanted and heavy cloud upon Hamlet's soul. Throughout the play Hamlet learns that his Father's death was no mistake, but it was Hamlet's Uncle's plan to murder him. This, of course, throws a much larger burden on Hamlet's hands and the thirty year old prince seeks revenge continuously.
Hamlet learned from the ghost of his Father about the betrayal Claudius had planned. The ghost of his Father tells him to “Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder,” Act 1, Scene 3; Line 74]. He also directs Hamlet away from killing his Mother.
Revenge causes the characters in Hamlet to act blindly through anger and emotion, rather than through reason. It is based on the principle of an eye for an eye; this action is not always the best means to an end. Fortinbras, Laertes, and Hamlet were all looking to avenge the deaths of their Fathers. They all acted on emotion driven by the want of revenge concerning their Father's deaths, and this led to the downfall of two, and the rise to power of one. Since the head authority figures of the three major families were each murdered, the eldest sons of these families felt that they needed to take some kind of action to avenge their Father's deaths. This need to bring honour to their respective families was ultimately the demise of Laertes and Hamlet.
Firstly, Hamlet displays anger toward his Uncle, King Claudius for marrying his Mother, Queen Gertrude, so quickly after the tragic death of his Father, King Hamlet. However, the main source of his anger begins with his feelings of despise for his Mother who chose to marry Claudius so soon after her own husbands’ death. Hamlet constantly allows this incident to brood in him and overrule every other thought and action he takes. Hamlet is convinced that the level of grief he feels for his Father’s death is the standard that everyone around him should be following. Since Gertrude does not express the same intensity of sorrow that Hamlet does, he is left furious at her and those in similar standing. “ ‘Tis not alone my inky cloak, good mother, Nor customary suits of solemn black, Nor windy suspiration of forced breath, No, nor the fruitful river in the eye, Nor the dejected haviour of the visage…” [Act 1, Scene 2; lines 77-86].
Secondly, King Hamlet’s ghost shares with Hamlet the cause of his death and how his murderer, Claudius, seduced Gertrude even before his death. “ ’Tis given out that, sleeping in mine orchard, A serpent stung me; so the whole ear of Denmark Is by a forged process of my death,” [Act I, Scene 5; lines 35-37]. “The serpent that did sting thy father’s life Now wears his crown.” [Act 1, Scene 5; lines 39-40]. “O wicked wit and gifts,...
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