The Theme of Revenge in Hamlet
In Hamlet, revenge is often integrated into multiple events and is a predominant theme in the play. The play begins with a ghost walking through the ramparts of Elsinore Castle in Denmark on a dark, chilly night. The ghost is soon revealed to be Hamlet’s deceased father, King Hamlet, whose sibling Claudius has acquired his position of authority and and married the lord’s widow. Gertrude and Claudius stress over Hamlet’s unpredictable behavior and endeavor to find it’s root. The presence of the dead King’s ghost signifies the start of the catastrophe in the wake of convincing Hamlet to avenge his passing, and everything later self-destructs in Denmark. Hamlet’s need to retaliate for his dad’s homicide is the major thing that drives the play. The demise of his family and the lady he adores, Ophelia, his own passing, and the annihilation of the royal position of Denmark are caused by the destructive path Hamlet decides to take. During the Elizabethan era, a phantom’s presence implied that it was there for vengeance.
In Act 1 Scene 5, Hamlet finally gets around to greet the ghost after being confronted by Barnardo and Francisco. Whenever the ghost and Hamlet enter, the ghost tells Hamlet not to pity him, but to instead listen to his requests. The ghost, who is revealed to be Hamlet’s late father, requests that he avenges his father’s “most unnatural murder.” He tells Hamlet that everyone in Elsinore was told that a poisonous snake bit him when he was instead sleeping in an orchard. However, this was all a lie and it was in fact Claudius who murdered him, and King Hamlet proceeds to tell his son, “don’t corrupt your mind or do any harm to your mother.” He exits, and reminds Hamlet to remember him.
“Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder.” (25)
Hamlet looks for vengeance once indeed because of his assurance that Claudius is his father’s murdered and he could complete his retribution by killing him in Act 3, Scene 3. Hamlet’s first chance to murder Claudius that he considers is when Claudius is admitting to god. Before that, King Claudius speaks to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern and requests that they help exile Hamlet because his frenzy was dangerously increasing. After the King was left alone in the room, Hamlet slips unobtrusively into the room and aims to kill Claudius. However, he sees that Claudius is in the process of prayer, and decides not to execute him now because he would go to heaven instead of hell.
Another vital moment that depicts revenge is in Act 4, scene 7. In the wake of discovering that Prince Hamlet executed his father, Laertes decides to retaliate for his father’s demise by endeavoring to kill Hamlet. Whenever Hamlet returns to Denmark, Claudius and Laertes construct an arrangement to execute the homicide of Hamlet. Claudius theorizes that if Hamlet could be enticed into a duel with Laertes, it might give Laertes the chance to execute him. Laertes concurs, and they sort out an arrangement. Laertes plants to use a sharpened sword rather than a dull fencing blade, and he additionally suggests to poison his sword, so that even a scratch from it will murder Hamlet. On the off chance that Hamlet prevails in the duel, Claudius will consequently offer him a poisoned cup of wine to drink from in celebration. However, as soon as they get done arranging it, Gertrude enters with catastrophic news: Ophelia has drowned in the river overwhelmed with despondency from the death of her brother.
In Act 3, Scene 3, Hamlet goes to confront his mother, Gertrude, about his feelings toward her. Polonius hides behind the woven artwork in their room planning to stay inconspicuous and tune in on in their private discussion. Hamlet reveals to Gertrude that she’s caused him torment by wedding Claudius in the wake of King Hamlet’s demise; Gertrude cries out fearing for her life and Polonius screams for help, drawing attention to the tapestry where he’s hidden. Hamlet speculates it’s Claudius, and rushes to wound Polonius through the tapestry. This scene just goes to demonstrate how motivated Hamlet is to avenge his father’s death, since he erroneously slaughtered Polonius rather than Claudius.
Literary Techniques and Effects
Hamlet utilizes various soliloquies to uncover his internal sentiments, feelings, and emotions. He reflects on the meaning of life and his arrangements to kill Claudius or his craving for vengeance. His ‘To be or not to be’ soliloquy explicitly discuss the grief that he suffers from the death of his father two months prior and and mother, who has double-crossed and overlooked his father’s memory. He talks about pondering suicide and having sentiments of barreness. Another soliloquy of Hamlet occurs in Act 3, Scene 3, when Hamlet decides not to kill Claudius while he is praying, claiming that it would send him to heaven. By incorporating soliloquies, the secret thoughts and intentions of Hamlet are revealed, making his future actions more clear. Foreshadowing also plays a crucial role in revenge. Whenever Hamlet’s father came to him as a ghost in the beginning of the play, this caused a rage within Hamlet that foreshadows his revenge.
Through the use of soliloquies and foreshadowing, revenge stands as a predominant theme in Hamlet as it is the main root of all the unfortunate events that take place.
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