Theme of Revenge in Hamlet

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The first thing to be said in Hamlet as on any other Shakespearean play, is that their plots (as its plot) are never the figment of the creative imagination of the poet dramatist. Particularly all the plots of the plays are literary translated from either conical or various histories of the England or the continent. Similarly is the case with the plot of this tragedy. It is taken out of twelfth century history of Denmark, written by a literary historian, Saxon Grammaticus by name. Although the plot of the play is almost completely borrowed, the excellent and matchless characters is characteristically Shakespearean.

From chronical point of view this play is portrait the history of English literature. It hails from the period of James the first, when such dark tragedies like Hamlet, Othello and King Lear were passionism in the history of English literature. Out of all the Shakespearean tragedies Hamlet remains an option of Seneca concept of ravage tragedy. We know that Seneca the younger the 1st century Roman dramatist and dramatic critic, defined and ideal revenge is to be the one in passion of the following attributes:

  1. The theme of revenge.
  2. Ornate diction and flowery language.
  3. The introduction of the super natural elements.
  4. The introduction of a hero which is head and shoulder’s above the rest of the characters.
  5. The introduction of what the French call “the confidante” one of the major characters of the tragedy in which hero has absolute faith.

As a student of Shakespeare’s drama, we know, that all the five mentioned characteristics are of an ideal revenge tragedy as demanded by that dramatic critic par excellence. Seneca The Younger presented this tragedy in their totality. The language is so serious and ornate that Hamlet’s words melt into music as he speaks to anybody or on any theme. Just take one example Hamlet eulogizes the renaissance concept of humanism. This humanism glorified man as the cost of God(as we say in philosophy) British society became anthropocentric instead of remaining as hitherto it was ethnocentric.

To say that the theme of this tragedy is the theme of revenge is to call a spade a spade. Next in place is the introduction of the super natural elements. We have the ghost of Hamlet’s father which appears many times as a minor character. Finally about the introduction of Hamlet. To say that he is living legend is to say nothing commendable about him. hamlet’s character has been so lovingly portrayed and has made sublime, that it has transcendent the complexity, the multi faced and multi dimensionality of life itself. We find our self small to find the complexity of his character. Last but not the least in place is the confidante, the writer present Horatio, no doubt inferior but all the same a dynamic carbon copy of hero himself.

We can define Hamlet as a tragedy which believes in eye for eye, a hand for hand pr by a revenge tragedy which means a tragedy which is on moral and spiritual grounds. Hamlet has strong motivating factors for seeking revenge. First motivating factor was the ghost of his father commending him to revenge his most foul and unnatural murder, the second is the marriage of his mother with his uncle. Than there is the obvious fact that is his birth right of being the king of Denmark.

The first cause seems to us is the fact that ghost appeared to hamlet for the first time in IV scene of the first act. Logically enough we can question. Why not ghost appeared earlier before his son? Obviously it could never have been appeared in the first scene of the first act, because no where doe Shakespeare introduce the hero of the play in the very first scene. The second scene has been reserved for the royalty. It would been mere humorous conjecture to if say that delay seems to be common characteristic oh Hamlet’s family. Why? Simply because delay is the product of over reflection is the un alienable right of a scholar, fool hardly courage equally right of a thoughtless person. Hamlet’s reaction of watching his father’s ghost was so natural.

The second question in this natural query could only have been asked by a mind which was essentially scholarly and skeptical. Although Hamlet does display essential piety of the ghost, nevertheless his first over all reaction to the witness the ghost was the on conviction and acceptance. Addressing Horatio he tells him that he has sworn to revenge the most foul murder of his father.

A few words may be said here about the belief in super naturalism of the Elizabethan age. So it can be justified in saying Hamlet’s first reaction to the ghost is of implicit belief in its objective existence. Nevertheless he goes on the conjecture that something is grossly wring with the state of affairs in his country. This appearance also gives hamlet a chance of realization how great a personality he possess.

Later Hamlet started to disbelief the appearance of ghost. He seemed to have a very unusual personality . He first made decisions impulsively, but when future clogs his path, his decisions evaporate into a moral vapor of discourse and discussion. Very wisely Hamlet than plans of putting on entire dispion with a view to see without being seen.

Secondly, also very wisely Hamlet cecoets a ouse trap which s a play in a play telling a story perfectly identical to the one told by the ghost about his murder. He concludes by observing. “The play the things, where in I will watch the conscience of the king”. And through that mouse trap he made Claudius an obvious criminal.


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Theme of Revenge in Hamlet. (2021, Jun 20). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/theme-of-revenge-in-hamlet/

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