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The Theme of Vengeance in Shakespeare's Hamlet Essay

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Vengeance. A vicious, violent way to make oneself feel better about an offense against them. Throughout the tragedy of Hamlet revenge is a recurring theme, amongst all of the characters. Whether this revenge is in physical form, or mental form, it is equally hurtful. Mahatma Ghandi said, “An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind.” Ghandi is literally saying that if one person commits a revengeful act, it will create a continuing reaction of bitterness and violence throughout everyone. This quote is highly significant throughout the duration of Hamlet, as it portrays almost precisely, both the plotline of the story, as well as the conclusion. From the murder of King Hamlet to the murder of Prince Hamlet the tragedy is filled with violent acts of revenge.
The theme of vengeance is apparent within the tragedy before the tragedy even begins. King Fortinbras is defeated by King Hamlet, leaving Prince Fortinbras orphaned. This naturally brings about bitterness between Prince Fortinbras and King Hamlet. Prince Fortinbras is angry, within reason. His father was just killed, his lands stolen, and now he is the person to whom all of the duty is left. These feelings lead Fortinbras to a state of angered reactions. He prepares an army to march into Poland and Denmark to recover the lands that his father had lost. He takes action, leaving the rest of his life behind, and marching over to get retaliation against the man who killed his father. He sets his mind on what he has to do, and sets off, away from his home, in a strong, purposeful manner. When Fortinbras prepares to march through Denmark, his address to King Claudius is direct, purposeful, and unemotional.
“Go, Captain, from me greet the Danish king.
Tell him that by his lice...


... middle of paper ...


...Scene 2, Lines 361-363) Laertes is the only man within the play to catch on that a continuing cycle of revenge will help no one and nothing that eventually it must stop. And with the death of Laertes and Hamlet, the world goes blind. All that was left of the three families has been buried in the ground.
“An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind,” Ghandi said, in an attempt to show how revenge will not end once it has begun. Throughout Hamlet this theme is addressed, extremely clearly, and the conclusion, the death of so many characters, many due to revenge, shows how a world filled with extensive revenge cannot exist as a world at all. Hamlet is a deep philosophical story, however, the theme of revenge lies just below the surface, if you look at all of the deaths, you may see that there was a high degree of hatred, bitterness, and anger throughout Denmark.


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