The Need for Revenge: Hamlet and The Butcher Boy

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Revenge is considered by many, sought by some, and carried out by few. It consumes the avenger and what is left is madness. The theme of revenge is depicted in many works of literature. Two great examples of this theme would be The Butcher Boy by Patrick McCabe and Hamlet, Prince of Denmark by William Shakespeare. In Shakespeare’s play the character of Hamlet is looking to avenge the murder of his father King Hamlet and in McCabe’s novel the character of Francie Brady seeks for revenge for almost everything that has happened to him, from the death of his mother to the loss of Joe’s friendship. Often the question of whether revenge is justified arises. In Hamlet’s case I see revenge as being justifiable because his motivations are strong,…show more content…
In comparison to Hamlets motivations for revenge in The Butcher Boy Francie seeks revenge for all that is wrong with his life, and he expresses all his anger towards the Nugent family, particularly Mrs. Nugent, even though she was not the direct cause. After Mrs. Nugent verbally attacked Mrs. Brady, all of Fancie’s anger, frustration and disillusionment was pinpointed towards the Nugent family. He went after them with pure vengeance on his mind. She says, “What else would you expect from a house where the father’s never in, lying about in pubs from morning to night, he’s no better than a pig… Pigs-sure the whole town knows that!” (4). Anything that happened from then on could somehow be traced back to them. The Nugent family seems almost perfect to him and part of him I believe wants that stability. Even in his fantasy world he imagines Phillip saying, “He wants to be one of us. He wants his name to be Francie Nugent. That’s what he’s wanted all along” (64). Perhaps another motive for revenge is that Francie feels anger towards the Nugent family because they are a representation of what he cannot have. In contrast to the Nugent his family is broken; his mother is constantly in and out of a mental hospital because she attempts to commit suicide and has an alcoholic father who abuses his mother, which is far from ideal. Despite feeling sympathetic towards Francie because he has gone through a lot, I do not believe his revenge was

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