Two Graves

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The theme of revenge is ever present throughout Shakespeare's play, Hamlet. Shakespeare shows this theme through the use of three different characters: Hamlet, Fortinbras, and Laertes. They are all in a similar situation because each of their fathers have been killed and they all feel that they should seek revenge against the murderer. All three characters are foils for each other because of their different views on revenge and how quickly they take revenge. Vengeance does not always come out the way people want it to, and often leads to more than one death as stated by ancient philosopher Confucius: "Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves." This shows what can happen when you choose to seek revenge. Hamlet keeps procrastinating the revenge he wants to take against Claudius, Laertes wants to take revenge instantly, and Fortinbras shows the rational part of revenge. These three paths show the different possibilities and what can happen as a result of these paths. There are mostly two different ways to view Hamlets path of revenge. Many critics say that Hamlet fails to take revenge throughout the majority of the play because he either wants to make sure that Claudius actually did kill his father, or that is simply procrastinating because he does not want to take revenge before thinking about every consequence of his actions. Even thought the ghost of his father, King Hamlet, appears before him at night and tells him that his uncle, Claudius, killed him, "The serpent that did sting thy father's life / Now wears his crown" (1.5.39-40) Hamlet does not necessarily believe him and wants to be one hundred percent sure. Hamlet even says that he will act mad in order to be sure: "To put an antic disposition on" (1.5.172) This shows the lengths that he is willing to go in order to get vengeance. Even though Hamlet is willing to go to these lengths he still
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