Revenge; a Wild Justice

Topics: Hamlet, Characters in Hamlet, Gertrude Pages: 7 (1379 words) Published: May 14, 2013
Revenge: a Wild Justice

Lily Sanchez

Advanced Placement English Literature and Composition Instructor Charles M. Deford 18 January 2013

In a society, revenge can often be manipulated in a way to create order and justice where rule of law is weak. Similar

situations arise when characters from the play Hamlet do the same in the midst of the royal court. In the Shakespearean

play, “Hamlet”, revenge is sought in a place where morals were weak, thus resulting in tragic repercussions instead of justice. Throughout the play, multiple characters experience loss in a way that leads to a desire for revenge, causing the innocent to suffer. In Hamlets pursuit of revenge, Ophelia is affected

very deeply in the process after her father Polonius is killed. “Oh, this is the poison of grief” (4.5 49). Many can see the

very apparent transformation within Ophelia because of the grief she is dealing with. Hamlets’ desire to enact revenge on

Claudius killed Polonius because he accidentally mistook him for Claudius. The grief of losing her father overcomes Ophelia, and

the “poison” of it changes her so that she literally becomes “mad” with grief. start when he Horatio becomes an innocent victim from the the ghost of Old Hamlet. Horatio


becomes a person of confidence to Hamlet who informs him of any plans made, allowing him to get full understanding of every tragic event. ”If thou didst ever hold me in thy heart/ Absent

thee from felicity a while,/ And in this harsh world draw thy breath in pain/ To tell my story” (5.2 43-46). After seeing all

the destruction and havoc, Horatio pleads to Hamlet to allow him

to end his life as he cannot take any more of the tragedy.


his dismay, Hamlet uses Horatio’s love for him to guilt him into living and telling his story as it truly was. Hamlet knows the

pain Horatio is in and asks him to endure the pain for a while and stay in this harsh world. Horatio agrees, but he knows he

will have to carry the horrific memories for as long as he lives. as well. Not only do the innocent suffer in consequence, but die Polonius, Gertrude, and Ophelia’s life came to an end The innocent became victims and lives were

because of revenge.

tragically lost in the pursuit for revenge. The deaths that occurred in the process also became “casual slaughters”. After the death of Polonius, Hamlet shows no

remorse for his actions by making jokes about the whereabouts of Polonius’s body when Rosencrantz, Guildenstern and Claudius

question him about it.

Hamlet eventually gives in to admitting

where the body is at, noting that the smell of the body would lead them anyways. “He will stay till ye come” (4.1 39), Hamlet

jokes that there is no rush to recover the body as it will stay where it is until it is retrieved. another human being, Hamlet By joking about the death of to lack any remorse or


sympathy for human life. his mother “Indeed this

Right after the death he also tells counselor/Is now most still, most

secret, and most grave/ Who was in life a foolish prating knave” (3.4 219-221), as if Polonius’s death was justified because of

his foolish and talkative nature. shows a futile attempt to keep

In act 5.2, Claudius also Gertrude from drinking the

poisoned tea “Gertrude, do not drink” (5.2 286). after she disregards his command,

His reaction

was a very nonchalant one Not

because he deliberately allowed his wife to poison herself.

much thought was given by Claudius on the fact that his wife’s death was soon a reality, other than “it was too late”. Later,

when Gertrude is dying from the poison, causing her to collapse unto the floor, Claudius claims “She swoons to see them bleed” (5.2 304). Claudius attempted to cover up his tracks from

everyone in the court by deceiving everyone into thinking that blood drawn from the scuffle made the queen faint, and that she would indeed be alright. The way these...
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