Revenge In Hamlet And Othello

Decent Essays
Across his many works, William Shakespeare commonly uses revenge not only as a motive for individuals but as a driving force for the entire plot. This appears in both Hamlet, in which the hero seeks revenge for the murder of his father, and Othello, in which the villain seeks revenge for the promotion of the less-qualified Michael Cassio. Though Shakespeare portrays these characters conversely, their ends and means mirror each other. Readers can draw parallels between Prince Hamlet and Iago: they both have a desire for revenge, a meticulous methodology, and the intellect needed to tie together their plans. Using their intellect, both Prince Hamlet and Iago form elaborate plans, manipulate those around them, and, after much suffering, achieve their goals. At the discovery of his father’s murder, Hamlet quickly springs into planning how to “revenge [King Hamlet’s] … most unnatural murder” and builds his plan around the opportunities presented by the arrival of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, the play put on by the acting troupe, and young Fortinbras’ desire to cross Denmark’s borders (I.v.25). As Eric Levy, an emeritus professor at University of British Columbia, writes, the “mental awareness” that Hamlet possesses eventually “exceeds his own unaided cognitive powers,” causing the spiral of madness that ultimately brings the play to its violent end (9). Before this madness overtakes him, however, Hamlet devises the plan to verify Claudius’ guilt and prepare the perfect
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