Essay on Discuss Hamlet as a Revenge Tragedy

1023 Words Sep 18th, 2011 5 Pages
2011

Discuss Hamlet as a revenge tragedy

Revenge has caused the downfall of many a person. Its consuming nature causes one to act recklessly through anger rather than reason. Revenge is an emotion easily rationalized; one turn deserves another. However, this is a very dangerous theory to live by. Throughout Hamlet, revenge is a dominant theme. Fortinbras, Laertes, and Hamlet all seek to avenge the deaths of their fathers. But in so doing, all three rely more on emotion than thought, and take a very big gamble, a gamble which eventually leads to the downfall and death of all but one of them. King Fortinbras was slain by King Hamlet in a sword battle. This entitled King Hamlet to the land that was possessed by Fortinbras because it was
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"…Hamlet, thou art slain…The treacherous instrument is in thy, unbated and envenomed…" Hamlet does indeed die as a result of wounds inflicted by Laertes, but it is the poisoned tipped sword that causes the demise of Laertes as well. King Hamlet ruled Denmark and was the father of Hamlet. He had been slain by Claudius, his brother, who had since laid claim to the throne. While Hamlet mourned, he encountered the ghost of his father, who made him aware that his death had in fact been murder, and the guilt lay squarely on the shoulders of Denmark’s new King. "The serpent that did sting thy father's life now wears his crown." Astonished, Hamlet swore vengeance for his father’s death. His efforts to prove his uncle’s guilt are hindered by his indecisiveness until he finally kills Claudius, while he himself is dying of poisoned wounds caused him by Laertes in their duel. "The point envenomed too! Then venom, to thy work…Here, thou incestuous, murderous, damned Dane, drink off this potion,-is thy union here? Follow my mother." This left the Claudius dead, and King Hamlet’s death avenged, but at a grave cost to Hamlet. It is the lack of thought used in exacting their revenge which led to the deaths of both Laertes and Hamlet. The plan Laertes devised with Claudius to kill Hamlet with the poisoned tipped sword would have been successful, had they thought that the sword might be used against them, and panned
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