Hamlet is a play by William Shakespeare that tells the story of a young man who seeks revenge after his father’s death. Hamlet’s uncle, Claudius, has killed his father and married his mother. Hamlet is torn between his desire for revenge and his need to honor his father. The play explores the theme of revenge and its costs. Hamlet ultimately decides to take action, but it comes at a great cost. The play is a tragedy, and Hamlet is one of Shakespeare’s most famous works.
In William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the subject of revenge is so prominent that it might be regarded as a distinct personality. The vengeance in Hamlet is crucial to the development of Laertes, Polonius’ son, Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, and Fortinbras, Prince of Norway. Revenge is an unjustifiable evil that drives people to act irrationally rather than rationally due to their anger.
Hamlet is a play written by William Shakespeare that very closely follows the dramatic conventions of revenge in Elizabethan theater. All revenge tragedies originally stemmed from the Greeks, who wrote and performed plays about avenging a death. These plays were very popular during Shakespeare’s time and Hamlet is one of many examples of Elizabethan revenge tragedy.
Laertes is driven by the need to avenge his father’s murder, Hamlet seeks revenge for his father’s murder and Fortinbras plots to reclaim land that was rightfully his father’s. Each character has a strong motivation for revenge, but it is Hamlet who takes the longest to act on his desire. Hamlet struggles with indecision, which allows Laertes and Fortinbras to take matters into their own hands. Hamlet’s Hamartia is his delay in seeking revenge, which allows the other characters to enact their own revenge plots.
While Hamlet spends the majority of the play pondering whether or not he should take his father’s life, Laertes immediately sets out to avenge Polonius’ murder. He does not hesitate to kill Hamlet when he has the opportunity, which ultimately leads to his own downfall. Fortinbras also acts quickly to reclaim what is rightfully his. He leads an army into Denmark even though it means going through Hamlet’s kingdom. Fortinbras’ quick action is contrasted with Hamlet’s inaction, highlighting the theme of revenge.
The theme of revenge is prominent in Hamlet, driving the plot forward and leading to the downfall of several characters. Hamlet’s delay in seeking revenge causes him to miss opportunities and allows other characters to take matters into their own hands. In the end, Hamlet’s indecision leads to his own death, as well as the deaths of Laertes and Fortinbras. Revenge is a destructive force that can only lead to more violence.
The concept of revenge has deep roots in history. It goes way back to the time of Hammurabi, when he wrote “An eye for an eye” (which means that if someone does you wrong, you should do them wrong in return). Revenge is just a chain of bad actions set off each time by a repaid act of evil.
Anyone who comes looking for it will be conquered. In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, while there is a theme of vengeance, it is divided into two distinct elements. There’s Laertes’ aggressive seeking for revenge, as well as “Hamlet’s internal conflict to take action.”
Hamlet’s inactive state is “paralyzed by his own conscience.” (Bloom, Harold. Hamlet. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1987. Print.) Hamlet is unable to take action and avenge his father because he is afraid that if he does he will become a murderer like Claudius.
Laertes on the other hand is not bound by the same issues as Hamlet. Laertes wants to revenge his sister’s death and Hamlet’s killing of Polonius but he also has no qualms about becoming a murderer himself in the process as long as Hamlet meets his demise. Hamlet throughout the play is tortured by indecision which effectively stalls his revenge. Even when Hamlet has the perfect opportunity to kill Claudius while he is praying, Hamlet does not do it because he believes that Claudius will go to heaven if he kills him then.
Hamlet says, “Now might I do it pat, now he is praying; / And now I’ll do’t. And so he goes to heaven; / And so am I revenged. That would be scann’d: / A villain kills my father; and for that, / I, his sole son, do this same villain send / To heaven.” (3.3.74-79) Hamlet cannot kill Claudius here because Hamlet himself would be damned and sent to hell. Hamlet’s revenge is further complicated by the fact that he wants Claudius to suffer as his father did and feel pain and remorse for what he has done.
Throughout the play Hamlet debates with himself whether killing Claudius will actually avenge his father or not. Hamlet wonders if he will simply be sending Claudius off to heaven where Hamlet’s father currently resides. Hamlet also does not want to kill his mother because she is still alive and Hamlet loves her, even though she did remarry soon after Hamlet’s father’s death. In the end, Hamlet’s indecision leads to his own downfall when he is killed by Laertes with a poisoned sword. Hamlet’s revenge is only completed when he himself is killed and cannot continue the cycle of revenge any longer.
Laertes is ready to avenge the death of his only remaining family almost immediately. Laertes, who has gone on an adventure for his own personal education, returns home and learns that his father was murdered by a sword on a tapestry while away. When he gets there, Laertes discovers his deluded sister Ophelia so engrossed in her “Hey nonny, nonny” song that she’s completely oblivious to what’s going on around her.
Hamlet’s soliloquy, Hamlet expressed his internal conflict between killing Claudius while he is praying or waiting for him to commit a sin so his death will send him to hell. Hamlet’s uncle, King Claudius killed Hamlet’s father and married Hamlet’s mother.
In the play Hamlet by William Shakespeare, the theme of revenge is present throughout. The plotline is driven by revenge; Hamlet wants to avenge his father’s murder, and Laertes wants to avenge his father’s murder and his sister’s suicide. The theme of revenge is also evident in Fortinbras’ quest to reclaim land that was lost by his father. All of these characters take revenge for different reasons, but ultimately it is their desire for revenge that motivates them to take action.
Hamlet is the son of the late King Hamlet and Queen Gertrude. Hamlet’s father was murdered by his uncle Claudius, who then married Hamlet’s mother and took the throne. Hamlet is very upset by these events and wants to take revenge on Claudius. Hamlet is also troubled by the fact that his mother has quickly remarried after his father’s death.
Hamlet pretends to be mad in order to fool Claudius and gain access to him so that he can kill him. However, Hamlet continually delays taking action against Claudius, which leads some to question whether he is truly mad or just feigning madness. Hamlet’s delay in taking revenge ultimately leads to his own death, as well as the deaths of many others.
Laertes is another character who takes revenge in Hamlet. Laertes’ father, Polonius, was killed by Hamlet. Laertes then seeks revenge against Hamlet for his father’s death. However, unlike Hamlet, Laertes does not hesitate to take action against Hamlet. He quickly goes to Claudius and arranges for a duel with Hamlet. In the duel, Laertes wounds Hamlet with a poisoned sword and Hamlet stabs and kills Laertes with the same sword. Both Hamlet and Laertes die as a result of their actions.
Fortinbras is the Prince of Norway and is another character motivated by revenge in Hamlet. Fortinbras’ father was killed by Hamlet’s father during a war between Denmark and Norway. As a result, Fortinbras wishes to take revenge against Denmark by invading the country. However, he is stopped by Hamlet and does not succeed in his quest for revenge.
The theme of revenge is present throughout Hamlet and motivates the actions of several characters. Hamlet, Laertes, and Fortinbras all seek revenge for different reasons, but it is their desire for revenge that leads to their downfall. In the end, only Hamlet succeeds in taking revenge, but it comes at a great cost.