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 revenges of his father's murder, but also, as we will discuss later this scene confuses Hamlet.
Hamlet's revenge of his father's murder is successful, but very costly. Hamlet pays the ultimate price of his mother's, his sweetheart Ophelia's, his friend's and his own life to accomplish this revenge. Hamlet's revenge for his father's murder begins just after the ghost scene, were Hamlet meets his fathers ghost and is told of the murder.
Hamlet's father tell him to revenge his murder "Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder" (I, v, 25). Hamlet's response is to swear "that I, with wings as swift As meditation or the thoughts of love, May sweep to my revenge."(I, v, 29-31). Hamlet is now determined, even inspired to a rapid revenge.
Hamlet is confused with his fathers death and is suspicious of foul play, but even after the ghost scene Hamlets seems to be vacillating between actuality (Was his father murder by his uncle?) and manic depression. Hamlet even goes as far as considering suicide. "...
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...ve his final revenge. "Hamlet's revenge has led him to wanton and meaningless slaughter. He may have ultimately won the battle within himself, but he dies with the blood of eight men on his hands, five of them innocent victims, helpless bystanders who were pointlessly struck down because they came between two mighty opposites. Hamlet's revenge has led to the destruction of two entire families and to the abandonment of the State to a foreign adventurer."
Hoy, C. HAMLET William Shakespeare, New York, 1963
Prosser, E. HAMLET & REVENGE, Stanford, 1971
Wilson, J. What happens in HAMLET, New York, 1964
Muir, K. SHAKESPREARE Hamlet, London, 1983
Cantor, P. Landmarks of World Literature SHAKESPEARE Hamlet, New York, 1989
Farnham, W. HAMLET PRINCE OF DENMARK, New York, 1985
Mercer, P. HAMLET and the Acting of Revenge, London, 1987
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