Shakespeare’s Hamlet, quite possibly the greatest and most popular play in the history of the English language, contains a plethora of themes, the most famous of which is revenge. Shakespeare weaves the concept of revenge into every act of the famous drama; from the demand of revenge by Old Hamlet in Act I to the death of Claudius at the hands of Hamlet in the final act. The tragedy reveals the story of three young men, Fortinbras, Laertes, and, of course, Hamlet, and their respective quests to avenge the deaths of their fathers. Not only is revenge a key idea in the play, it is the primary fuel that makes the drama tick. The use of the concept of revenge is what elevates Hamlet from ordinary to extraordinary.
Hamlet, the title character, is the most obvious and perceptible example of a character fueled by a desire revenge. His pursuit of Claudius over the murder of his father, Claudius’s brother, guides the plot from the first to the last act. This act of fratricide enrages Hamlet and eventually causes him to go insane. The theme of revenge was first introduced into the drama at the end of Act I. The ghost of Old Hamlet demands that his son avenge his death and “revenge his foul and most unnatural murder (I:5:25)” Hamlets journey to settle the scores then goes through many different stages on his way to resolution. At first, Hamlet puts on a tremendous performance, acting crazy in order to fool his family and acquaintances. Unfortunately for him, this acting eventually becomes reality as he actually becomes a little insane. After much internal struggle over whether or not to kill his uncle, Hamlet eventually realizes that he must venture over to the wild side to murder Claudius. By the end of the fourth act Hamlet grasps exactly what he has to do. After witnessing the Norwegian army marching through the country to fight for essentially nothing, Hamlet begins to believe that, “rightly to be great is not to stir without great argument, But...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document