Posted at May 27, 2020

Revenge theme in William Shakespeare’s Hamlet

Revenge is a recurrent theme in Shakespeare’s play Hamlet. Not only the main character Hamlet desires to take justice into his own hands but also Laertes wants to avenge his father’s death.   

 While the primary character Hamlet seeks vengeance for his father’s death he is terrified of the repercussions. His unwillingness to pursue such a plot is apparent in several instances of the play.  Hamlet is seemingly at a crossroads on whether to revenge or not considering that revenge is not only a crime but labels him to what is termed in the narrative as a ‘beast’. However, with or without revenge one is taken as a mere ‘beast’ for being faced with such predicaments. Revenge as a wild justice is first incited by the ghost when it quoted, “…revenge his foul and most unnatural murder…”. The statement obligates Hamlet to take responsibility for revenging his father’s death. Shakespeare is using the ghost is able to incite a theme of conflict between the primary characters, Hamlet and Claudius, culminating in damaged relationships and quest for vengeance. The ghost was deliberate to ensure that Hamlet accepts his family’s obligation to revenge on behalf of the father and be the revenger for his family. 

Another instance, Shakespeare successfully uses the theme of vengeance on the death of Rosencrantz and GuildensternHamlet felt that his friends betrayed him by conspiring to behead him, “…such bugs and goblins in my life…no leisure bated, No, not to stay the grinding of the ax…My head should be struck off. 

Shakespeare adds to the theme of revenge when he introduces the character Laertes within the revenge plot. Quoting from the play, “…only I will be revenged…most thoroughly for my father…”. The sentiments are heard from Laertes after being convinced by Claudius to conspire against Hamlet. Shakespeare introduces this aspect of conspiring Claudius and credulous Laertes to help further the plot on vengeance. As would later emerge Claudius determination to revenge against Hamlet who threatened his reign ended up killing all the three of them in the very end. 

Therefore, revenge as emerging from the play Hamlet is attributable to acts committed by another’s persons and even the lack of it. The theme of revenge as reflective in the play seemingly develops throughout the play where these individuals seek to achieve the ideal way of planning their revenge.  


0 Comment on this Article

Add a comment