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Essay about Theme of Revenge in Shakespeare's Hamlet

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For a play to be considered a revenge tragedy, revenge has to be a prevalent theme throughout. Revenge needs to be intertwined in character interactions, and have a strong hold on the driving force of the plot. The desires of Hamlet, Laertes, and young Fortinbras each exhibit how the plot of Hamlet, by William Shakespeare revolves entirely around revenge.
The theme of revenge starts off very early in the play, when Hamlet speaks with the ghost of his deceased father. When the ghost tells Hamlet how Claudius murdered him, Hamlet is infuriated and overtaken with feelings of responsibility to right the wrong that has been done; to murder Claudius. The effects of this experience on Hamlet are portrayed clearly in the following quote, "And so I am revenged. That would be scanned: A villain kills my father, and for that, I, his sole son, d this same villain send to heaven;" (p. 161, 3.4). This quote clearly exemplifies Hamlets feeling toward this event. Being his fathers only son, he feels completely responsible for his fathers vengeance. This takes deep roots in Hamlets persona and steers his life down paths that would otherwise have been avoided. This lead him to insanity, whether an act or not- and also led to the destruction of his life and those he loved.
“How stand I then, that have a father killed, a mother stained, excitements of my reason and my blood, and let all sleep.” This quote shows that Hamlet’s tragic flaw is his inability to take action. He desires to seek revenge for his father’s murder but cannot bring himself to do so. These indecisive thoughts of revenge shape Hamlets character and his life as a whole. Constantly within his mind Hamlet struggles with this issue of revenge. Storms of internal conflict rage pe...


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... he dead? I'll not be juggled with. To hell, allegiance! Vows, to the blackest devil! Conscience and grace, to the profoundest pit!” (Act IV scene 5). After we see Laertes extremely strong and fervent portrayal of the need for revenge, the plot begins to unravel quickly. King Claudius sets up a plan with Laertes for the murder of Hamlet, and Laertes accepting any revenge he could get- sided with the king. Laertes then has a “fencing” fight with Hamlet, except Laertes ends up stabbing Hamlet with a poisoned sword. Right after he is stabbed, Hamlet takes the sword from Laertes and also stabs him. Then, as Laertes tells Hamlet it was all Claudius’s idea, Hamlet kills him in a fit of fury and violence, right before he falls to his death. Although it took the lives of five people to this point, Hamlet and Laertes each got the revenge they both sought out for their fathers.


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