Hamlet as a Revenge Tragedy Essay

Hamlet as a Revenge Tragedy Essay

Length: 1283 words (3.7 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Hamlet as a Revenge Tragedy

Revenge tragedy was a brief sub genre of tragedy at the end of the
sixteenth century, despite some clashes with the teachings of the
church. In a revenge tragedy a crime, normally murder, has gone
unpunished, because the criminal has too much power and cannot be
reached by the law. This fact is revealed by a ghost to someone
closely connected with the victim, laying on him the responsibility to
revenge the crime. The revenger is usually an outsider who lacks
access to the criminal, who is at the centre of a completely corrupt
court. Poison plays a large part and methods of killing are intricate,
insidious and imaginative. The revenger dies at the end of the play,
as he has gone against religion by taking the power of revenge from
God. There will be many other deaths as the corrupt court is cleansed.
Revenge tragedies contain visual references to death such as
graveyards, bones and skulls. Most revenge tragedies have an Italian
setting and Machiavellian characterisation.

One example of a revenge tragedy is 'The Spanish Tragedy' by Thomas
Kyd (c1590). This play has a revenger lacking access to the criminal,
finally carrying out the revenge by intricate means and dying in the

'Hamlet' is a play, which is essentially about seeking the truth. From
the very beginning Hamlet is trying to find the truth about life and
death. The opening scene of the play begins to suggest many questions,
such as the reasons why Hamlet's father died, which are to be
answered. Hamlet continues throughout the play to seek the truth and
reasons for people's actions. He is a deep thinker. This
characteristic becomes...

... middle of paper ...

...t' is very much a play of three dimensional characters. The deep
psychological character studies and universal themes of matters such
as truth, lies, life and death make it a timeless piece, which has
outlived other revenge tragedies. To call 'Hamlet' merely a revenge
tragedy is to look at a single aspect of this multi-faceted drama. In
most revenge tragedies the revenger is a fairly simple character but
in 'Hamlet' we find a depressed man, a philosopher and a character who
is heavily religious presented with a dilemma in which his duty
conflicts with his qualms. Hamlet is the character who makes this play
what it is. The central character who should be cold and devious is
one who longs for death and debates which is worse, killing himself or
killing Claudius.


Jenkins, Harold (ed.), 'Hamlet' (1982)

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Hamlet Is Revenge Tragedy Or Not? Essay

- In this essay I will be writing about whether Hamlet is a revenge tragedy or not, I will have an introduction which will introduce the meaning of a revenge tragedy, then I will have a main body of text in which I will explain why Hamlet is a true revenge tragedy and finally I will have a conclusion. “What is a revenge tragedy?” Well a revenge tragedy is when a character takes vengeance for a murdered victim, the character is usually a family member of the avenged victim. A Revenge tragedy conventionally results in the death of both the murderer and avenger....   [tags: Hamlet, Revenge play, Characters in Hamlet]

Strong Essays
1584 words (4.5 pages)

Essay about Hamlet Is A Revenge Tragedy

- Hamlet is a revenge tragedy which focuses primarily on Hamlet’s desire and attempt to avenge his father’s death. Prince Hamlet, the protagonist of the play, is mourning the loss of his father and bitterly regretting that his mother, Queen Gertrude, has married his uncle Claudius. The ghost of his father appears to reveal that he has been murdered by Claudius and urges him to take revenge. The play essentially centers in the character of Hamlet himself. As a prince of Denmark, he acts the part of madness with power; however, he is so often indecisive and hesitant; his weaknesses are too apparent as he avenges his father’s death....   [tags: Hamlet, Characters in Hamlet, Gertrude]

Strong Essays
1298 words (3.7 pages)

Hamlet- A Revenge Tragedy Essay

- Hamlet is one of Shakespeare’s most well-known tragedies. At first glance, it holds all of the common occurrences in a revenge tragedy which include plotting, ghosts, and madness, but its complexity as a story far transcends its functionality as a revenge tragedy. Revenge tragedies are often closely tied to the real or feigned madness in the play. Hamlet is such a complex revenge tragedy because there truly is a question about the sanity of the main character Prince Hamlet. Interestingly enough, this deepens the psychology of his character and affects the way that the revenge tragedy takes place....   [tags: Hamlet Essays]

Strong Essays
717 words (2 pages)

Hamlet As A Tragedy Of Revenge Essay

- In William Shakespeare 's play, Hamlet is defined as a tragedy of revenge. Whose leading motive is to seek out vengeance for his father 's murder. The ghost of Hamlet’s father tells him two things: Not to kill his mother and to seek revenge on his father 's brother Claudius. He has multiple opportunities to seek his revenge however he is hesitant about his decision. Despite that Hamlet 's rejection of women because of his mother 's misdoings leads to Ophelia’s death. Hamlets implicit duty is to kill Claudius for the sake of his father (Prosser)....   [tags: Hamlet, Characters in Hamlet, Gertrude, Mother]

Strong Essays
1058 words (3 pages)

William Shakespeare 's Hamlet - Revenge Tragedy Essay

- A revenge tragedy is a style of drama, popular in England during the late 16th and 17th centuries, in which the basic plot was a quest for vengeance and which typically featured scenes of carnage and mutilation. The first, and perhaps most popular of the revenge tragedies, is Shakespeare’s Hamlet, in which two characters, Hamlet and Claudius, take revenge on each other, each having different motivations to do so. Hamlet defined the outline that every proceeding revenge tragedy would follow which included the development of major characters as avengers and the avenged, the structure of the play, and the question of morality in every aspect of the play create a thrilling story for the audien...   [tags: Hamlet, Gertrude, Tragedy, Characters in Hamlet]

Strong Essays
1111 words (3.2 pages)

Revenge in Hamlet and The Revenger's Tragedy Essay

-     In this study of revenge and revengers in two Elizabethan revenge tragedies the two plays I shall look at are Hamlet, by William Shakespeare, and The Revenger's Tragedy, by Thomas Middleton. I shall look first at the playwrights' handling of the characters of the revengers, and then at the treatment of the revengers by other characters in the plays. Although having similarities in their underlying themes, and in their adherence to conventions, these two plays present contrasting pictures of the figure of the revenger; Hamlet offering a far more complex treatment of its main character, and The Revenger's Tragedy appearing, in comparison, limited by the author's social message, and lacking...   [tags: Elizabethan Revenge Tragedies]

Strong Essays
3225 words (9.2 pages)

Essay about Revenge and Vengeance in Shakespeare's Hamlet

-      Speculation about whether the Shakespearean drama Hamlet satisfies the requirements of an Elizabethan revenge tragedy is discussed in this paper, with considerable critical commentary. Richard A. Lanham in “Superposed Plays” comments on the lesser revenge tragedy within the greater revenge tragedy of Hamlet: Now there is no doubt about how to read the Laertes play: straight revenge tragedy, to be taken – as I’ve tried to imply in my summary – without solemnity. We are to enjoy the rants as rants....   [tags: Hamlet, The Revenge Tragedy]

Strong Essays
1908 words (5.5 pages)

Shakespeare's Hamlet - A Clear Revenge Tragedy? Essay

- Hamlet – a Revenge Tragedy?        Most of the revenge-tragic aspect of the Shakespearean play Hamlet is explicitly presented. Some is disguised as straight tragedy, for example, Ophelia’s insanity and death; and some is implied tragedy found in the history of verbal allusions.   In the essay “An Explication of the Player’s Speech,” Harry Levin discusses the implied tragic dimension of the “Hecuba” soliloquy:   But the lyrical note can prevail no more than the epical, since Shakespeare’s form is basically tragic; and here his classical model is indicated when Polonius, introducing the Players, warns: “Seneca cannot be too heavy.” From “English Seneca read by candlelight,” according...   [tags: Revenge Vengeance]

Strong Essays
1970 words (5.6 pages)

Revenge and Vengeance in Shakespeare's Hamlet - Typical Revenge Tragedy

- Hamlet as a Typical Revenge Tragedy       Shakespeare’s Hamlet very closely follows the dramatic conventions of revenge in Elizabethan theater. All revenge tragedies originally stemmed from the Greeks, who wrote and performed the first plays. After the Greeks came Seneca who was very influential to all Elizabethan tragedy writers. Seneca who was Roman, basically set all of the ideas and the norms for all revenge play writers in the Renaissance era including William Shakespeare. The two most famous English revenge tragedies written in the Elizabethan era were Hamlet, written by Shakespeare and The Spanish Tragedy, written by Thomas Kyd....   [tags: GCSE Coursework Shakespeare Hamlet]

Free Essays
2712 words (7.7 pages)

Essay on Revenge and Vengeance in Shakespeare's Hamlet - Pure Revenge Tragedy?

- Hamlet – the Revenge Tragedy?         A baffling array of considerations relevant to the revenge aspect of Shakespeare’s tragic drama Hamlet make an essay on this topic an interesting experience.   Ruth Nevo in “Acts III and IV: Problems of Text and Staging” explains the uncertain place which revenge occupies within the hero’s most famous soliloquy:   And conversely, because self-slaughter is the ostensible subject of the whole disquisition, we cannot read the speech simply as a case of conscience in the matter of revenge – Christian revenge and the secular sanctions and motivations of honor....   [tags: Essays on Shakespeare Hamlet]

Strong Essays
1945 words (5.6 pages)