In the play of Hamlet, Shakespeare sets up three plots of revenge which involve three characters, each determined to avenge their deceased loved ones. Revenge is essentially a recurring element in the play and can be noted as an important theme. Revenge is often lead by uncontrolled emotions, affecting an individual’s thoughts and feelings differently and provoking the individual to act without a reason. The play helps us question the justifiability and benefits of revenge through the story’s individual characters.
King Hamlet appears as a ghost and informs Hamlet that he was murdered in his sleep by Claudius. He tells his son that while he was sleeping, Claudius poured poison into his ear. Hamlet is shocked by the ghosts words. The ghost asks Hamlet to “Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder.” (I.5.25) Prince Hamlet vow’s to avenge his father’s death, and promises not hurt his mother even though he blame’s her for re-marrying to his uncle right after his father’s death. Since the revenge was requested, and not Prince Hamlet’s own decision, we could question if Hamlet would consider avenging his father, even if he wasn’t told to. We are aware that Hamlet is depressed about his father’s death, his mother re-marrying, and the lack of mourning the kingdom is doing for the death of the King, but he does not commit suicide even though he considers it at one point. Hamlet’s loneliness, feelings of anger, and sorrow would certainly compel him to avenge his father’s death by killing Claudius. “A villain kills my father, and for that, I, his sole son, do this same villain send to heaven.” (III.3.77)
Hamlet doesn’t immediately avenge his father’s death, he goes through a phase where he contemplates and delays when he should commit the act of killing Claudius.
Fortinbras is another character in the play who feels the need to avenge his father’s death by reclaiming the land his father lost to King Hamlet. Both Prince Hamlet and Prince Fortinbras have uncles...
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