Hamlet as the Revenger

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  • Topic: Hamlet, William Shakespeare, Feeling
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  • Published : May 28, 2013
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Hamlet
Year 12 English – Practice Essay
Georgina Brown

“Revenge is a confession of pain” – Latin Proverb

In many of Shakespeare’s plays, the element of revenge sinks profusely into many of the strong male characters, but none so much as young Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. Initially, Shakespeare’s construction of Hamlet’s grief and procrastination lead the audience to believe he is simply mourning. However, it is substantially clear that after the fifth soliloquy, changes occur within the character of Hamlet, which leads him into the role of the revenger.

The most significant part of the fifth soliloquy, which brings Hamlet into the role of the revenger, is the beginning. The very first stanza of prose for this soliloquy, ‘Tis now the very witching time of night,’ (3.2.350) immediately induces the feeling of wicked deeds and moral flexibility. Shakespeare has positioned the audience to feel the indulgent nature of the night that allows Hamlet to act. ‘And do such bitter business as the day would quake to look on,’ (3.2.353-354) further emphasises the symbolism initiated here as it reveals the difference between moods at the time of day. The darkness provides Hamlet fuel to act upon his desires for retribution toward his uncle, Claudius.

As the fifth soliloquy progresses, the text provides rationality to Hamlet’s revenge. Rationality important as it creates a realistic situation for revenge to occur from Hamlet’s philosophical and rational disposition. This is shown toward the end of this soliloquy, when Hamlet states, ‘Let me be cruel, not unnatural.’ (3.2.357) This line brings forth Hamlet’s legitimately honorable nature, as shown within his friendship with Horatio earlier when he responds to criticisms of his plans, saying ‘Horatio, thou art e’en as just a man as e’er my conversation coped withal.’ (3.2.46-47) This presents revenge in a way that fits Hamlets personality and still places Hamlet within the frame of revenger.

The total impact of...
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