Discuss Hamlet as a Revenge Tragedy

Topics: Hamlet, Characters in Hamlet, Death Pages: 3 (1016 words) Published: September 24, 2011

Discuss Hamlet as a revenge tragedy

Revenge has caused the downfall of many a person. Its consuming nature causes one to act recklessly through anger rather than reason. Revenge is an emotion easily rationalized; one turn deserves another. However, this is a very dangerous theory to live by. Throughout Hamlet, revenge is a dominant theme. Fortinbras, Laertes, and Hamlet all seek to avenge the deaths of their fathers. But in so doing, all three rely more on emotion than thought, and take a very big gamble, a gamble which eventually leads to the downfall and death of all but one of them. King Fortinbras was slain by King Hamlet in a sword battle. This entitled King Hamlet to the land that was possessed by Fortinbras because it was written in a sealed compact. "…our valiant Hamlet-for so this side of our known world esteemed him-did slay this Fortinbras." Young Fortinbras was enraged by his father’s murder and sought revenge against Denmark. He wanted to reclaim the land that had been lost to Denmark when his father was killed. "…Now sir, young Fortinbras…as it doth well appear unto our state-but to recover of us, by strong hand and terms compulsative, those foresaid lands so by his father lost…" Claudius becomes aware of Fortinbras’ plans, and in an evasive move, sends a message to the new King of Norway, Fortinbras’ uncle.

      The king forbade Fortinbras to wage an attack against Denmark, and instead suggested he attack the Poles to vent his anger. Fortinbras agreed to the plan, but had no intentions of following it. Polonius was King Hamlet’s advisor and the father of Ophelia and Laertes, both of whom respected and loved him, despite his arrogant demeanour. Young Hamlet murdered Polonius accidentally, thinking him to be the king eves dropping on a conversation between Hamlet and his mother. "How now! A rat? Dead, for a ducat, dead!" Laertes returned home immediately after hearing of his father's death and confronted the King, accusing him of the...
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