March 29, 2018
Webster’s dictionary defines revenge as: to avenge (oneself or another) usually by retaliating in kind or degree. Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, uses the theme of revenge often throughout the work. Revenge plays an important role in developing characters such as Hamlet, Fortinbras, and Laertes. Throughout the play these men look for revenge for the death of their fathers. Each character is controlled by the desire for revenge throughout the play. Each promise that they would attain vengeance, they then acted towards avenging their fathers.
“Ghost. Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder. Hamlet. Haste me to know ‘t, that I, with wings as swift As meditation or the thoughts of love, May sweep to my revenge.” (Shakespeare 1.5.33-37) Hamlet, in this section of the play, is eager to kill to avenge his father. This is before Hamlet realizes his uncle is the one to blame for his demise. Shortly after this Hamlet discovers that Claudius, his uncle, killed his father. Just as the ghost, hamlets father, instructs him to Hamlet decides to seek revenge and kill Claudius. Before Hamlet kills Claudius he wants to be sure he was the murderer by trapping him in an attempt to obtain a confession from Claudius. Hamlets desire for revenge drives him mad. This makes the author question Hamlet’s reason and sanity. While attempting to kill Claudius, Hamlet accidently kills Polonius. In the end Hamlet does avenge his father by killing Claudius.
“Laertes. How came he dead? I’ll not be juggled with. To hell, allegiance! Vows, to the blackest devil! Conscience and grace, to the profoundest pit! I dare damnation. To this point I stand, that both the worlds I give to negligence, Let come what comes, only I’ll be revenged Most thoroughly for my father.” (4.5.148-154)
Victor Beard English IV Ms. Newman March