The Deeper Meaning of Hamlet’s Revenge
Hamlet, by playwright William Shakespeare, revolves around the burden of revenge. It all started from the beginning with the murder of King Hamlet, Hamlet’s father. Hamlet finds out the killer had been his uncle, Claudius, and sets out to avenge his father’s death. Claudius, however, is now the king and he has also married the queen and possesses all of the things he once envied his brother for. Every action Hamlet makes is founded upon the thought of revenge and he makes this evident throughout the play, although it seems there may be a deeper meaning to Hamlet’s revenge than meets the eye. He portrays the straight forward reason of avenging his father’s death for his revenge; however he may just be concealing the deeper anger he has towards his uncle and his mother. Hamlet has felt this anger against Claudius since the beginning of the play, even before he discovered his uncle was his father’s murderer; and when Gertrude married Claudius a mere month after his father’s death, Hamlet was furious, not only because he thought it was incestuous but because she showed that her love for King Hamlet was not as strong as Hamlet though it had been and it hurt him.
One of the first scenes of revenge was the “play within the play,” also known as “The Mouse Trap;” Hamlet’s self written work of which he used as an experiment to confirm his accusations of Claudius being his father’s murderer. He says, “I’ll have these players play something like the murder of my father before mine uncle. I’ll observe his looks; I’ll tent him to the quick. If he do blench, I know my course” (II, ii, 623-627). This is his excuse to proceed on the course of revenge the ghost of his father led him on. In the article, “’His Semblable is His Mirror: Hamlet and the Imitation of Revenge” by David Scott Kastan, he says, “to be Hamlet, to deserve the name, at least as far as the ghost is concerned, is to be a revenger” (Kastan). In other words, the ghost...
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