Themes of Love and Revenge in Shakespeare's Hamlet Essay

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Themes of Love and Revenge in Shakespeare's Hamlet

Love is one of the most powerful themes in Hamlet, but a superior force - REVENGE, drives Hamlet's love. Revenge of his father's murder. Hamlet is confused and melancholic over the fact that his mother married his own uncle and so quickly after his father's death. Even though he does not immediately suspect foul play in his father's untimely death, he is in a state of shock. As Kenneth Muir states, "He (Hamlet) is profoundly shocked by Gertrude's marriage to his uncle in less than two months after her first husband's death, although he has no conscious suspicion that his father has been murdered or that his mother had committed adultery." The ghost scene seems to fuel Hamlet's
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Paul Cantor states that "Hamlet continually hesitates to act because he will not allow himself to be swept away by his passions. His intellect is constantly leading him to deny meaning to the very acts he feels impelled to perform."

To clear any uncertainty as to whether or not Claudius murdered his father, Hamlet decides to set him up. Hamlet plans a "mouse trap" for Claudius in which he sets up a play, for the King and Queen, to be a murder tragedy. Hamlet hopes to see Claudius's reaction towards the murder scene in hope of establishing his guilt. "The Play's the thing Wherein I'll catch the conscience of the king." (II, ii, 589-591) The play works but Hamlet does not "sweep to his revenge". Why not, is he worried about Ophelia being caught up on his attempted murder? William Hazlitt states, "When Hamlet is most bound to act, he remains puzzled, undecided, and sceptical, dallies with his purpose, till the occasion is lost, and finds out some pretence to relapse into indolence and thoughtfulness again." This is most likely the reason why Hamlet does not take advantage of the opportunity to kill the king when he is at his prayers. Hamlet can not have his revenge perfect as he wishes, so he declines it altogether. "He kneels and prays, And now I'll do't and so he goes to heaven, And so am I reveng'd: that would be scann'd. He kill'd my father, and for that, I his sole son, send him to heaven. Why this is reward, not revenge. Up sword and know thou a more horrid
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