Top-Rated Free Essay

Hamlet Essay

Good Essays
HAMLET ESSAY

A revenge tragedy was a popular form of writing during the Elizabethan age, in this form of writing the main character is directed by a ghost of his murdered father or son and the ghost inflicts retaliation, amongst a powerful villain. Revenge tragedies usually include the following; violence, bizarre criminal acts, insanity, a hesitant protagonist, and the use of soliloquy. Thus Hamlet becomes a Revenge of Tragedy it follows all the guidelines and in some cases go above and beyond.

Revenge tragedies have been pretty popular, because of the fact that everyone deep down can understand at one level, its something that we all understand and respond to even if it be imaginatively because we can’t carry out such a vengeance our selves. The basic outline in a revenge tragedy goes as follows: The avenger in this case Hamlet assumes the responsibility early on in the play to avenge the death of his father, and from there he spends much of his time overcoming obstacles, weather this may be uncovering the identity of the murderer or chasing the murderer or collecting clues that lead him to the villain. This may cause a whole lot of action and a whole lot of excitement, and then it concludes with the avenger taking out the act of revenge, however the revenge must be carried out in the most appropriate fashion, handing the villain over to the authorities may not be satisfying. This is a very old formula that still works today, it can sum up a number of western movies, and if it’s done well it can lead to a lot of success at the box office.

Hamlet is a very popular example of a revenge tragedy, yet still a very extreme case of a revenge tragedy, extreme in the sense that the web of revenge spiraled out of control, and caused a vary tragic ending with the lives of many key figures throughout the play lost due to revenge. Shakespeare may have tried to teach a lesson throughout the play using the theme of revenge, he may have tried to show that revenge is just a pointless act and can hurt and endanger the lives of many people.

The very theme of revenge starts in the beginning of the play, once Hamlet was notified of the ghost that resembled the late King Hamlet by Horatio. When Hamlet and the ghost met, the ghost spoke to him telling him that he was indeed the spirit of the late King Hamlet and his father. Hamlet was revealed that none other than his uncle murdered the late king and was ordered to seek revenge against Claudius, the man who took his throne and in the process taking his wife Gertrude. Hamlet then devotes himself to avenging the death of his father, but since by nature Hamlet is very thoughtful he delay’s the avenge of Claudius. However as he delays the revenge he goes through a deep state of depression and even madness.

The delay that the audience and Hamlet experience shows the hesitation of the protagonist, this is another quality one must look into, when determining weather a play is a revenge tragedy. However some critics have said that there is no delay, but for those that have argued that there is a delay they try to prove this by saying that if there was no delay, there’s no play and if the revenge is supposed to be the final action of the story the play will only last a mere five minutes. Hamlet also constantly calls attention to the delay he always worries about it, thus the issue of the delay is raised within the play itself. The theme of revenge continues after the play with in the play, at this point both Horatio and Hamlet were sold on the fact that Claudius did in fact murder Hamlets father, so as Hamlet goes to kill Claudius he finds him praying, and because he believed that killing Claudius while he was praying is going to result in him going to heaven he decides to wait. Hamlet then confronts his mother with Polonius hidden behind the sheets, and Hamlets hears a noise from the drapery he thought it was Claudius hiding so he moves up and stabs him through the fabric and kills him.

The death of Polonius caused Hamlets lover Ophelia to commit suicide and her brother Laertes the son of Polonius to come to Denmark from France seeking revenge for his father. Laertes was convinced by Claudius saying that the murder of Polonius was because of Hamlet’s madness and the blame should be on him. At this point in time the web of revenge now included Hamlet against Claudius and Laertes against Hamlet. Claudius then constructs a plan for Hamlets death and he uses Laertes desire for revenge against Hamlet as the main focal point, the plan was to have Laertes and Hamlet duel it out in a fencing match, however Laertes sword would be poisoned so that if he cuts him Hamlet would be poisoned but just incase Laertes was unable to draw blood Claudius devises a back up plan, he decided to poison a drink which he would then give to Hamlet to drink if he were to get the first or second hit of the match. However all of this backfired Hamlet won both the first hit and second hit of the match but declined the drink instead his mother Gertrude takes the drink and she slowly starts to die. Laertes eventually draws blood via a cheap shot at Hamlet but he was not effected immediately by the poison, Laertes is eventually wounded by his own sword and reveals to Hamlet that the Claudius is responsible for Gertrude’s death, Hamlet then goes after Claudius and stabs him with the poisoned sword and the rest of the poisoned drink Claudius then dies, and Hamlet dies right after he gets his revenge. From here Fortinbras enters and with one thing in mind to get revenge on his dead father who was killed by Hamlets father, as he walks in he sees the whole royal family lying dead on the floor.

Hamlet is therefore seen as a revenge tragedy due to the tragic ending to the story with almost every significant person dies due to the vengeance of the king.

Word Count: 1,056
Bibliography:
Mabillard, Amanda. "The Revenge Plot of Hamlet." 13APR2008 <http://shakespeare.about.com/od/studentresources/a/revengehamlet.htm>.

"Revenge Tragedy Criticsm." 13APR2008 <http://www.enotes.com/literary-criticism/revenge-tragedy>.

Glossary. Gale. 13 Apr 2008 <http://www.galegroup.com/free_resources/glossary/glossary_qr.htm#r>.

Johnston, Ian. "Lecture on Hamlet." 13APR2008 <http://www.mala.bc.ca/~Johnstoi/eng366/lectures/hamlet.htm>.

Gill, Roma. Hamlet. 2. Oxford, New York: 1992.

Bibliography: Mabillard, Amanda. "The Revenge Plot of Hamlet." 13APR2008 <http://shakespeare.about.com/od/studentresources/a/revengehamlet.htm>. "Revenge Tragedy Criticsm." 13APR2008 <http://www.enotes.com/literary-criticism/revenge-tragedy>. Glossary. Gale. 13 Apr 2008 <http://www.galegroup.com/free_resources/glossary/glossary_qr.htm#r>. Johnston, Ian. "Lecture on Hamlet." 13APR2008 <http://www.mala.bc.ca/~Johnstoi/eng366/lectures/hamlet.htm>. Gill, Roma. Hamlet. 2. Oxford, New York: 1992.

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Good Essays

    Hamlet Essay

    • 738 Words
    • 3 Pages

    Hamlet Essay Prompt: From the very beginning if the play, all the way until the end, the other characters are quick to notice Hamlet’s “antic disposition.” However, one of the major questions that critics and readers alike have grapples with is exactly how crazy is Hamlet and how much of his madness is feigned. In your opinion, what is the extent of Hamlet’s madness? Does he actually go crazy, or is he in control? Does it change throughout the play, and if so, where? Make your essay follows the…

    • 738 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Hamlet Essay

    • 636 Words
    • 3 Pages

    Hamlet Essay Perhaps the most important, dramatic, tragic, violent, and gory scene in Shakespeare’s Hamlet is one of the last scenes in which a duel between Laertes and Hamlet turns into the death scene of more than four major characters, including Gertrude, Claudius, Laertes and Hamlet. Traditional death scenes involve the death of just one character and in some cases that is dramatic enough, but this death scene is huge, involving the death of almost all major characters. This scene not only…

    • 636 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Hamlet essay: Topic 2 Andrew Vedder In Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet, the main protagonist Prince Hamlet is seen as being “mad” by many of his friends and family members. This however is not true. Hamlet was not truly mad, he is putting on a fake persona to trick people into believing it so they did not find out what he was truly up to. In the play many characters believe Hamlet to be mad, “I will be brief. Your noble son is mad. Mad I call it, for to define true madness, what is’t but to be nothing…

    • 544 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    Hamlet Essay

    • 411 Words
    • 2 Pages

    Hamlet Essay “No body, but he who has felt it, can conceive what a plaguing thing it is to have a man’s mind torn asunder by two projects of equal strength, both obstinately pulling in a contrary direction at the same time” -Laurence Sterne A majority of the characters in hamlet all face the problem of having conflicting feelings about their actions and desires. One of these characters is the new king of Denmark, Claudius. Claudius must choose between what is right and what is wrong, but his…

    • 411 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Good Essays

    Hamlet Essay

    • 946 Words
    • 4 Pages

    emotions, and passions in both positive and negative ways. I believe that Shakespeare’s Hamlet is a play based fully around the tragedy of not only the key character Hamlet, but also other characters with a lower status such as: Ophelia; Hamlet’s love interest, Gertrude; Hamlet’s grief driven mother, and Laertes; Ophelia’s exceedingly noble brother. In Arthur Miller’s Tragedy and the Common Man his thesis in this essay is that, the common man is as able to experience tragedy to the greatest extreme,…

    • 946 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Hamlet essay

    • 446 Words
    • 2 Pages

    is what prompts us to action. Hamlet Ready to die in an effort to escape what he is feeling after his father dies but cannot, as it is ungodly. “Oh, that this too, too sullied flesh would melt, Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew, Or that the Everlasting had not fixed His canon against self-slaughter! O God, God! How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable, Seem to me all the uses of this world!” (I.ii) This is Hamlets first soliloquy and our first look into Hamlet as a character and we are immediately…

    • 446 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Hamlet Essay

    • 725 Words
    • 2 Pages

    Hamlet Culminating Assignments Essay What do Othello, Julius Caesar, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet all have in common? They are all widely regarded as tragic heroes. "A tragic hero should be noble, yet flawed. His flaw(s) should in some way be responsible for his downfall. Overall, however, a tragic hero should be a morally good person." Many audiences consider William Shakespeare's Hamlet to be a tragedy. However, according to the above definition, this play's protagonist does not function as a tragic…

    • 725 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Hamlet Essay

    • 989 Words
    • 4 Pages

    Hamlet Essay 2 By: Caitlin McIntyre Human beings are multifaceted creatures. A human is made up of thousands of different elements, each one setting one person apart from another. One of these elements is one’s personality. Everyone is made up of thousands of personality traits, and therefore, it cannot be said that a person is good or evil and left at that. An animal follows three main principles of survival: eating, sleeping and breeding. In Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, the character of…

    • 989 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Hamlet Essay

    • 1800 Words
    • 8 Pages

    Topic: Why does Hamlet delay in taking his revenge? "No place indeed should murder sanctuarize; revenge should have no bounds." (iv, vii, 128-129). Revenge comes from intense hatred, anger and determination. Hamlet, the tragedy of the "melancholy" Dane was written by more than four hundred years ago by English playwright William Shakespeare, never seems to slow down, much less to stop and rest. The play itself demonstrates explicitly the dark side of human nature: dishonesty, betrayal, scheming…

    • 1800 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Good Essays

    Hamlet Essay

    • 975 Words
    • 4 Pages

    IV 11 January 2013 Hamlet Essay Hamlet, Laertes, and Fortinbras all have the same purpose in the play, and it’s to avenge their fathers. Hamlet is trying to avenge his father because his uncle had poisoned him to become king and take the thrown. Hamlet is also trying to avenge his father mainly because his mother thought it was fine to get with hamlets uncle little did she know that he had poisoned her husband. So now old Hamlets ghost is reappearing and telling hamlet to avenge him and kill…

    • 975 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays