Hamlet Revenge Essay Essay, Research Paper
Hamlet Revenge Essay
Revenge causes one to act blindly through anger, rather than through reason. It is based on the principle of an eye for an eye, but this principle is not always an intelligent theory to live by. In William Shakespeare s Hamlet, Young Fortinbras, Laertes, and Hamlet were all looking to avenge the deaths of their fathers. They all acted on emotion, but the way the characters went about it was very different. Because of this, it led to the downfall of two, and the rise of one. The heads of the three major families were each murdered, the eldest sons of these families swore vengeance, and two of the three sons died while exacting their acts of vengeance, while the third rose to power.
All of the three eldest sons had one thing in common. All three of the murders affected the sons of the deceased in the same way; it enraged them. For people during this time, revenging the murder of one s father was part of one’s honor and had to be done. All three of the sons swore vengeance and then acted towards getting revenge for the deaths of their fathers. Because of all of this, revenge is a major theme in Shakespeare s Hamlet. Fortinbras took his revenge out in a proper way and rose to power in the end. Both Laertes and Hamlet, however, used force to accomplish their revenge. The lack of thought used in exacting their revenge led to the deaths of both Laertes and Hamlet.
When Laertes found out about his father’s death, he immediately returned home and confronted the king with accusations of the murder of his father. When Claudius tells Laertes that Hamlet was responsible for his father’s death, he decides to kill Hamlet to avenge the death of his father. He and King Claudius concoct a plot to kill Hamlet by having Laertes duel with Hamlet and using a poisoned sword. However, they had not thought that something could have gone desperately wrong with their plan. What if Hamlet was by far the better swordsman, or what if Hamlet managed to get the sword away from Laertes without it being used against him first? With Laertes believing the King’s accusations that Hamlet had murdered his father on purpose, he was in a blind rage and would not listen to Hamlet’s explanation and apology. He fights Hamlet and wounds him once with the poisoned tipped sword; but unfortunately, their swords are switched, and Hamlet also wounds Laertes with the sword. Because Laertes did not think clearly when fashioning his plan with Claudius, it brought about his downfall and death.
Hamlet was deeply sorrowed by his father’s death. He spoke to the ghost of King Hamlet and this ghost stated that his father’s death was a murder by the hand of his uncle, who was now his stepfather, King Claudius. Hamlet was astonished, and after using the play to find out if the ghost was telling the truth or not, swore vengeance for his father’s death. Hamlet could have killed King Claudius while he had his back to him in the chapel, but he thought that he shouldn t because he didn t know if Claudius was asking for forgiveness and renouncing the dastardly action of murdering his brother, and Hamlet s father, King Hamlet. He chose to wait until Claudius was purged of all goodness and prayer, and then strike him down into a world of eternal damnation. Hamlet waits until he can kill his uncle while he is performing a sin. Unfortunately for Hamlet, the sin is Claudius plan with Laertes to poison his own son-in-law, Hamlet! Although some could make an argument that the reason that Hamlet did not kill Claudius earlier was because he was being intelligent and did not want him to have a chance to go to heaven, this theory cannot be totally true. If Hamlet was indeed a thinking man as so many critics have called him, then he did not use that powerful brain of his in this situation. Hamlet would know Claudius personality. He would know that all that Claudius was after is land, money, and power, and that he would never try to take back his actions. He would realize that even if the king tried to be forgiven for the murder of his brother, his thoughts of power and greed would never let him have a chance to go to heaven. This situation in the chapel shows how revenge causes Hamlet to experience a lack of intelligence, if only for a short time. Because he did not think clearly about how and when to kill Claudius, Hamlet is eventually killed.
Because of the vengeance that both Laertes and Hamlet take, revenge is a major theme in Hamlet. It seems ironic that the three characters who were involved with all of the revenge (Claudius, Laertes, and Hamlet) all died from the same sword. Revenge was the driving force behind both Laertes and Hamlet, but both of them also approached their downfall because of it. Their lack of thought behind their plans not only eventually killed them, but Laertes lack of thought also killed his partner in the conspiracy to kill Hamlet, King Claudius, which realized Hamlet s revenge. All in all, many critics believe that the tragedy of Hamlet is when Shakespeare really developed the thinking man in the form of the character of Hamlet. However, neither Hamlet, nor Laertes for that matter, thought clearly or intelligently when plotting their revenge, and this led to their deaths.