Text Analysis of Hamlet and Man on Fire

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“Revenge is a dish best served cold.” Through a close analysis of language, form and content, show how the theme of revenge is explored through both William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet and the film Man on Fire, directed by Tony Scott.

The aphorism that revenge is a ‘dish best served cold’ expresses the act of revenge as being most satisfying when pursued in a state of emotional impartiality, being idyllically a well-considered process. This type of imperturbable demeanor is portrayed through both Shakespeare and Scott’s central characters, Hamlet and Creasy. Over time Hamlet transfigures from a highly emotional state to a temperament which is extremely methodical and emotionally stale. This mentality leads to a course of self-imposed blockades that ultimately result in the deferment of his revenge. Creasy, contrastingly, begins in an emotionless and detached state, a façade consolidated through his apparent want to die. However, this icy stature is chiseled away by Peta when he is assigned as her bodyguard. Upon Peta’s kidnapping Creasy is enraged, with reason exchanged for an intense and tremendously emotional approach for revenge. Hamlet’s first soliloquy clearly exhibits the magnitude to which his emotions have informed and consumed his thoughts. Even before knowing the reasons behind his state, it is established that Hamlet has a wish to die, a point pushed by the expression of ‘too too solid’ in the opening sentence. This repetition of ‘too’ expresses Hamlet’s dismay at his own permanency, an idea consolidated in the following line with the words ‘thaw’, ‘resolve’ and ‘dew’ contrasting to make a depiction of evanescence. This remarks that he does not wish to live long . Hamlet also shares a rather resentful view of the world and this is represented through the use of decay imagery. When Hamlet depicts ‘how weary, stale, flat and unprofitable’ the world appears to be he wholeheartedly believes that there is no worth in the world and that it possesses things...
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