Is “Hamlet” primarily a tragedy of revenge
- Pages: 5
- Word count: 1008
- Category: Hamlet Revenge Shakespeare Tragedy
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In the play “Hamlet” written by William Shakespeare, is a play that revolves around tragedy and revenge and this revenge leads to Hamlets death and people that were close to him. Hamlet’s pursuit to revenge his father’s death blinded his morals and intelligence and lead to his untimely death. It can be argued that Hamlet is the most complex character Shakespeare has ever written, there has been many debates revolving around his insanity (real or fake). The progression of Hamlet is quite astonishing he begins as a young prince with the world in his hand, to a lunatic who becomes obsessed with revenging his fathers death.
The revenge theme is acted upon throughout the novel and is essentially what drives Hamlet. He believes that Claudius has killed his father (we later find out this is true), this begins his investigating. We can be easily fooled by Hamlets insanity but there is intelligence behind his every move. Revenge has essentially ruined his life. Revenge has made his relationships with the two women he loved gone sour (Gertrude and Ophelia) as well lead to their death. It has even made him question his own existence. His antics lead to the death of Polonius who was innocent, and his pursue for revenge leads to his mothers death. Revenge has the ability to take over ones ability to make proper judgment.
We have already established that revenge has made Hamlet act on anger rather then reasoning, he is of course not the only one. There were three fathers murdered in the play Fortinbra, Polonius and of course Hamlet. All of the sons have one thing in common revenge. The only one who does not die is young Fortinbra, Laertes and Hamlet killed each other. Hamlet was acting on impulse because of the vision of his fathers ghost and Laertes was acting on advice giving to him by Claudius. We can obviously point the blame at Claudius, he is essentially the root of all the problems.
Hamlets relationship with Ophelia and Gertrude are very much alike. Hamlet gets betrayed by everyone he has ever loved, with the exception of Horatio. Hamlets relationship with Gertrude already is unstable from the beginning of the play, but Hamlets pursue to kill Claudius has worsen their relationship. Gertrude in Act 3 scene 4 believes that Hamlet may even hurt her physically, this is a fairly important scene because it shows the betrayal of Gertrude to Hamlet when allowing Polonius to listen in on their conversation . It can be argued that Gertrude is blinded by what she is doing because she has lost her husband (Hamlet senior), this does not cross Hamlets mind because he is so furious that Gertrude has betrayed him.
Ophelia is Hamlets long lost love and it can be argued that because of Hamlet she committed suicide. Ophelia is clearly in love with Hamlet, but because Hamlet is forced to or naturally acting crazy she begins to believe that Hamlet no longer loves her. This is exactly what Polonius said to her in Act 1 scene 3 “Affection, puh! You speak like a green girl Unsifted in such perilous circumstances. Do you believe his “tenders,” as you call them?” (Act 1 scene 3 line 110). In act 4 scene 5 Ophelia walks in singing a song, she is clearly acting crazy. Claudius immediately stated that her madness stems from the death of he father (Polonius), it can be argued that it is because Hamlet has gone to England or a combination of both. She has lost her mind because the people she loved are now gone. Therefore Hamlets pursue for revenge has led to the betrayal and death of the two women he has loved, which can be looked as a tragedy.
Polonius is the first character to die in the present time, even though Polonius showed hate towards him it was only because Claudius. Because of Polonius’s position he is ordered to carry out the king and queens plans. There is no doubt that Hamlet is the one to blame, Hamlet was clearly not in the right mind state. We as well can point the blame toward Claudius, throughout the play he is constantly manipulating people. Polonius was blinded by the royal family, he did not know the whole situation. It is ironic how he is killed by someone from the royal family. This is what makes it a tragedy.
Suicide and Hamlets complex situation often intertwine with each other. Hamlet pursue for revenge has blinded him. The famous to be or not to be soliloquy is famous scene in the play. This is particularly important because it shows he may not be pretending to be crazy but rather actually insane. The vision of the ghost as well as his mother (Gertrude) marrying Claudius has made Hamlet extremely unstable. Hamlet finding out that Claudius killed Hamlet senior just fueled his desire to kill Claudius. Again it is very ironic that the only one who did not get killed was Horatio.
There is no doubt that revenge is a major them in the play Hamlet. Revenge was present in all aspects of the play, it essentially moved the play forward. It is ironic how revenge was pursued by Hamlet but in return died because of it. Hamlet is a very intelligent character but he was blinded by revenge. He is a tragic hero, but not only has he affected him selve, he has hurt the ones he loved. Gertrude and Ophelia were both shocked in the way Hamlet was behaving. It as well lead to Hamlet murdering Polonius. Even though he acted like a mad man, there are lines where it shows the moral Hamlet. When Laertes and Hamlet are about to duel, Hamlet first asks for forgiveness. This is especially important it shows how Hamlets understands that Laertes is doing the same thing he is doing. Is it really worth revenging someone if you sur come to the same feet they you were avoiding.