Revenge in Hamlet and Frankenstein

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Dictionary.com states that revenge is “to exact punishment or expiation for a wrong on behalf of, especially in a resentful or vindictive spirit.” The novel, Frankenstein, and the play, Hamlet, are two works of literature that revolve around the notion of revenge. The main conflicts of the stories are Prince Hamlet attempting to avenge the murder of his father and Frankenstein’s monster hunting down Victor Frankenstein for abandoning him in an empty and lonely existence. The novels use other themes to tie together the underlying theme of revenge, such as death, madness, and learning and “un-learning.” Death is a source that fuels the yearning for revenge in both stories. Prince Hamlet is obviously pushed to revenge when he figures out that King Claudius murdered his father. In Act 1, Scene 5, the Ghost urges Hamlet to “revenge his foul and most unnatural murder” to which Hamlet replies: “Haste me to know’t, that I, with wings as swift/ As meditation or the thoughts of love,/ May sweep to my revenge.” (Act I, Scene 5, p.29) May I add that this occurs before the name of the murderer is revealed; Hamlet swears to extract revenge in a timely fashion simply based upon the knowledge of corrupted death in his family. And Hamlet certainly follows Hammurabi’s Code (“an eye for an eye”) when revenge comes to mind. For Hamlet, it is death and only death that can avenge his father’s murder. While Hamlet’s tragic flaw is his inability to act on these emotions (one could easily argue that King Claudius’ death comes as a result of his own plot backfiring), it is death that inspires the powerful and conflicting emotions of revenge within Hamlet. The monster in Frankenstein does not turn to revenge immediately, unlike Hamlet. Instead, he attempts to exist alone at first; when his residence at the cabin falls through, the monster then turns to Victor for a cohort, attempting to offset his miserable existence with both solitude and companionship. Because Victor ultimately...
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