Hamlet Essay

Topics: Hamlet, Murder, Characters in Hamlet Pages: 5 (2053 words) Published: February 24, 2013
"An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind"-a quote once stated by a man known as Mahatama Ghandi (Quinones-Millet).

This statement can directly relate to William Shakespeare's most well known play, Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, for those who were involved in such revengeful scheming upon others ended up dying themselves (Farrell). For example, Hamlet, Claudius, and Laertes, all of Catholic faith, engage themselves in revengeful conduct throughout the entire play; all three of these characters end up dying as a result of their own revenge upon another. The lust for revenge begins when Hamlet discovers that his honorable father, King Hamlet, was not killed by a snake's poison, but by poison poured into his father's ear by the hand of his very own uncle. To make matters worse, Hamlet's uncle Claudius marries his mother two months after his father's death. Throughout Hamlet, revenge is portrayed as nothing more than infectious. Revenge brings each participating character to the very foot of their own downfall, often bringing others around down with them. The play revolves around a single concept-avenging a loved ones death (particularly a father's). In the play, Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, Shakespeare uses the misfortune of Laertes, Claudius, and Hamlet to convey that revenge does not resolve past issues, but instead causes such issues to multiply uncontrollably. Firstly, Shakespeare utilizes Laretes to illustrate how revenge often backfires when executed. After the unintentional murder of Laertes' father, a passion for revenge begins to burn deep inside Laertes' very being. For example, when Laertes says, "I am satisfied in nature,/ Whose motive in this case should stir me most/ To my revenge" (Shakespeare 5.2.244-247), he is referring to the honorable Shepard 2 reasoning behind his desire to avenge his father's death. Throughout the play, the concept of honor is directly related to revenge. Each character who indulges in revenge often looks at revenge as a requisite to regain their honor as a son, or person in general. Laertes, like various other characters within this play, finds avenging his father's death to be of the utmost importance. As the play continues, Laertes is told by the king that Hamlet is his father's murderer. Instead of acting upon the situation in accordance to his Catholic faith, such as, "[Turning] the other cheek, and [loving his] enemies" ("Catechism of the Catholic Church - The Fifth Commandment") Laertes locks in Hamlet as his target for revenge. Laertes maliciously states, "It warms the very sickness in my heart,/ That I shall live and tell him to his teeth,/ 'Thus diest thou' " (Shakespeare 4.7.55-57). After Laertes hears from Claudius that Hamlet is to blame for his father's death, Claudius and Laertes begin to plot a revengeful scheme to get rid of Hamlet, for they both share a common hatred for him. Revenge is often sought throughout the play; it never fails to lead to either death or misfortune. While evaluating Laertes' quest for revenge, it is vital to evaluate Laertes and Claudius' plan to obtain their revenge upon Hamlet. Their plan consists of a dueling sword fight between both Hamlet and Laertes in front of various members of Denmark. This duel is custom within Denmark, for it is a way for Hamlet, who murdered Laertes father, to repay him for his wrongdoing. Both Laertes and Claudius plan to get their revenge on Hamlet during the sword fight; nevertheless, they plan to murder Hamlet in such a way that nobody will suspect it to be intentional. By clearly evoking deceitful intentions within their plan for revenge, a sense of irony is established, for in the end, everyone knows who killed who. Knowing that what he is planning to do in order to avenge his father's death is wrong, Laertes proclaims, "Let come what comes; only I'll be revenged most thoroughly for my father" (Shakespeare 4.5.136-137). Laertes is willing to do anything to avenge his father's...

Cited: Quinones-Millet, Stephanie. "Gandhi Peace." Gandhi Peace. RIT. Web. 19 May 2012.
Farrell, Nancy A. "Hamlet.html." Hamlet.html. Shakespeare 's World. Web. 19 May 2012.
Delany, Joseph, and Charles Sloane. "Homicide." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 7. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. 22 May 2012
"Catechism of the Catholic Church - The Fifth Commandment." Catechism of the Catholic Church - The Fifth Commandment. Vatican. Web. 22 May 2012.
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