“Hamlet” has been described as an anti-revenge tragedy. To what extent do you agree with this? Examine the extent to which the play adopts, alters or rejects the conventions of revenge tragedy.
To say Hamlet is a an anti-revenge tragedy would be to deny the whole picture, instead it can be said Hamlet is a double tragedy, for one thing it adopts a certain characteristic few other plays have and can do- it reveals Shakespeare himself.
Hamlet the prince of Denmark is perhaps the pivotal point around which an argument can be evolved into justifying the dualistic revenge tragedy that emerges. It is above all a play that is complex, not to mention highly intriguing. The way in which Hamlet is an anti-revenge tragedy is not a simple matter, but a matter that carries with it underlying even subtle complexes that cannot be determined easily. It is a matter that must be approached with caution.
Réné Girard states “…If we assume that Shakespeare really had this double goal in mind, we will find that some unexplained details in the play become intelligible and that the function of many obscure scenes becomes obvious…”
Seneca the stoic Greek philosopher gives the certain and used rules, which classify a revenge tragedy. Hamlet does maintain these rules up to an extent, to the audience’s eye it is a complete revenge tragedy inducing catharsis, although what can be seen from Hamlets subconscious driving actions, his actions and thinking process will dissolve this idea; instead it is possible to deduce from Hamlet himself a play that shudders the idea of a strict revenge tragedy. Girard points out that double goal in hamlet can be seen within some scenes, this is an agreeable point right from the beginning of play when the ghost reveals itself and serves as the catalyst for “revenge tragedy”.
From the meeting with the ghost and from the death of Claudius within Hamlet there is always a delay for revenge. It is not a straightforward commitment, but a commitment...
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