William Shakespeare's Hamlet As A Traditional Revenge Tragedy

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William Shakespeare’s Hamlet is one of the world’s most renowned plays, one which has stood the test of time over the course of 400 years, finding relevance even today. A complex and sophisticated work, Hamlet is a masterful weaving of the myriad of components that make up the human experience; it delicately touches upon such topics as death, romance, vengeance, and mania, among several others. Being so intricate and involuted, Hamlet has been interpreted in countless fashions since its conception, with each reader construing it through their own subjectivity. Some of the most popular and accredited methods of analyzing the work are the Traditional Revenge Tragedy, Existentialist, Psychoanalytic, Romantic, and Act of Mourning approaches.…show more content…
It is for this reason that it is easy to understand the tragedy and cost of Hamlet’s revenge. Though clearly embodying elements of a revenge tragedy, Hamlet can also be viewed as a work concerning existentialism. Throughout the play, the titular character, Hamlet, demonstrates a struggle with existential angst – the overwhelming awareness of the brevity and seeming meaninglessness of life (MacIntyre). Hamlet frequently reflects on the ultimate end to all life – death – and famously wonders if it’d be “nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or…to die;” his internal battle over his existence is one that can be seen throughout his many soliloquys and manic speeches. After the death of his father and his mother’s hasty remarriage to Claudius, Hamlet finds himself grappling with the reality of his world, feeling lost and without guidance. In the wake of his father’s ghost’s visit, Hamlet is seized by both dread and obligation. His duty to avenge his father is one which jars him; though he devotes himself to its accomplishment, the endeavor forces him to question his morality and fate. Hamlet’s dilemma causes him to lose connection with those around him, leaving him isolated with only his internal crises and quest for revenge. Hamlet’s desolate loneliness – a result of his perceived abandonments – fosters his philosophical ponderings on the usefulness and morality of living in the face of fate and destiny
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