Theme of Revenge in "Hamlet" Essay

880 Words 4 Pages
“If you seek revenge, dig two graves.” This ancient Chinese proverb explains the mood in Hamlet, a play, written by Shakespeare. The theme of revenge is seen throughout the play as each character extracts one form or another of revenge from a person who has wronged them. In the play the characters Hamlet, Laertes, and Fortinbras all desire revenge for a lost father; however, their motivations for murder differ. Hamlet is unlike the other two characters in the way that he uses reason and logic before he acts and decides to kill his uncle, Claudius, because he is aware of the consequences. For example, when Hamlet is trying to determine how he can prove Claudius the murderer, after conversing with the players about the play, following …show more content…
Laertes does not think about his actions or reason through them as Hamlet does, but reacts indecisively and quickly to his father’s death with no concern for the results. For instance, when Laertes finds out about his father’s death, when he barges into the castle Elsinore, and demands to see the king, when Claudius convinces Laertes that he did not kill Polonius, answering Claudius’ question whether Laertes would kill even a friend to avenge his father, Laertes answers, “None but his enemies.” (IV, v, 165) The fact that Laertes would kill his own friend to avenge his father shows that he does not care for the consequences that would follow murdering your friend. He is hot headed and does not stop to think, so he does not realize he is being manipulated. Another instance, following the discussion between Claudius and Laertes aforementioned, Claudius starts to flatter Laertes into killing Hamlet for him, as Claudius questions Laertes commitment to avenging his father, Laertes declares, “ To cut his throat i’ th’ church.” (IV, vii, 144) Laertes confesses with this line that he does not believe in the consequences of the after life. He has no regards for the eternal condemnation that taking a life results in. Fortinbras is the in between man of the three characters involved in revenge, because although he is quick to react, he reasons through his decisions later on. To exemplify this, in the after Claudius hearing of Fortinbras impending attack,
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