Revenge in Hamlet by William Shakespeare Essay examples

Revenge in Hamlet by William Shakespeare Essay examples

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In William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the focus of many of the characters in the play is to be (or not to be) avenged. Both Hamlet and the minor characters surrounding him revisited the theme of revenge frequently. Shakespeare’s use of secondary characters highlight the important theme of revenge and specifically how a mind set strictly on revenge can corrupt the actions and thoughts of an individual and bring about their destruction. The minor characters of Laertes, the Ghost and Fortinbras display this maxim perfectly. Through their experiences with revenge, two meet their end and the other meets success.
The first character to meet his doom was Laertes. His father’s death and sudden burial alarmed Laertes and he realized that his family’s honor needed to be avenged. Laertes immediately became engulfed in his revenge and this leads to his own untimely demise. In act one, Laertes returns to Denmark to celebrate the new king’s coronation, but once that was over, he asked for the king’s and his father’s permission to return to Paris:
‘Yet now I must confess, that duty done,
My thoughts and wishes bend again toward France
And bow then to your gracious leave and pardon’ (Shakespeare 1.2.54-56)

Laertes did not want to stay away from Paris more than he had to; showing the importance of what he was doing there, but when Laertes heard the news of his father’s sudden death he stops everything he was doing in Paris and headed for Denmark. This journey was not made to mourn, but it was made to revenge. When Laertes returns to Denmark, he collects the citizens from around the palace and forms a mob to help him storm the castle. “‘Than young Laertes, in a riotous head/ O’erbears your officers…’” (4.5.100-101) As can be seen in the firs...


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...ras only wanted revenge, he would be elated that he did not need to use force to carry out his plans, but this was not the case. Fortinbras was the only character to totally succeed in their revenge and this is because he was able to think and act without the influence of a burning need to get revenge.
Revenge, like any other intense feeling, can be over powering if left to be the sole focus. Laertes, the Ghost and Fortinbras all have this in common, they all sought revenge and they all succeeded, but the most successful was Fortinbras. While the Ghost and Laertes held the unhealthy obsession that abetted more destruction to them than who they were trying to kill, Fortinbras exercised self-restraint and controlled his revenge and this resulted in his success.



Works Cited

Shakespeare. William. Hamlet. Ed. Roma Gill. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 2009. Print.

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