One of the overriding themes of William Shakespeare's Hamlet is the futility of revenge. The most obvious insistence upon revenge in the play is that of Hamlet himself who seeks to right the wrong of the murder of his father by Claudius. Both Laertes and Fortinbras are also out to seek revenge. Every one of the three eldest sons had one thing in common: they all wanted revenge for a slaughtered father. In the time in which this play is set, avenging the murder of a father was part of one's honor, and it had to be done. All of the three sons swore vengeance, and then acted towards getting revenge for the deaths of their fathers. Shakespeare demonstrates how rage emerges in many different forms. Hamlet, Laertes, and Fortinbras bring the theme of revenge to life, revealing the complexity and richness of human feelings.
Hamlet’s method of revenge is perhaps the poorest method of all. He spends too much time thinking about his actions and takes no immediate action without premeditative thought. Hamlet’s reaction to the ghost changed after thought and this was his main problem. His approach to achieving revenge was incorrect from the start. He thought and planned to catch Claudius at the ‘right’ time; he excused himself and reasoned with himself as to why timings were not right. Laertes has no need for revenge until Hamlet kills his father, and he finds out that his sister is dead. It is for this reason that he goes along with the scheme to kill Hamlet, however he falters towards the end. His last words blame Claudius; however Hamlet also dies, and so his revenge is complete. After Hamlet kills Polonius, Laertes faces the same problem that Hamlet does – a murdered father. Yet, Laertes's reaction to his father's death is very different from Hamlet's response to news of his own father's murder. While Hamlet broods over the murder for much of the play, Laertes -takes immediate action. He storms home from France as soon as he hears the news, raises a crowd of...
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