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Define Revenge In Hamlet Essay

1437 words - 6 pages

Revenge is one’s desire to retaliate and get even. Human instincts turn to revenge when loved ones are hurt. But, these misdeeds of taking upon revenge may lead to serious consequences. In William Shakespeare’s tragedy “Hamlet,” Fortinbras, Hamlet, and Laertes’s each show how their desire for revenge unavoidably leads to tragedy. The loss of their loved ones caused these characters in Hamlet to take action. Young Fortinbras has built an army to get back the lands his father lost to King Hamlet and Denmark. His actions can be compared to the measures Hamlet is willing to take upon Claudius. Hamlet wants to kill his uncle, Claudius, for killing his father to gain royalty status. Laertes has the same anger as Hamlet killed Polonius, Laertes’s father. Laertes uses all the power he has to get revenge on Hamlet. The corruption of these characters result the deaths of each major character.
Young Fortinbras was the first to lose his father, King Fortinbras, who was the King of Norway. King Fortinbras was killed in a fight against King Hamlet for the land of Denmark. "Lost by his father, with all bonds of law, to our most valiant brother."(I. ii. 24-25). Young Fortinbras wants to take revenge upon Denmark and reclaim what he believes is rightly his families’ (Tiffany). An army is raised to honor his father’s death and reclaim Norway’s lost states. Young Fortinbras’ actions can be explained as action with little thought. Although he directed an army to attack Poland, Young Fortinbras’ uncle, King of Norway, did not understand his reasons. But in the end, Prince Fortinbras gained possession of the Danish throne. Furthermore, Hamlet compares himself to Young Fortinbras. Hamlet’s soliloquy in Act IV describes Fortinbras as a “delicate and tender prince” who has taken action upon his thoughts and unlike Hamlet who hesitates on taking action. “Examples gross as earth exhort me:/Witness this army of such mass and charge/Led by a delicate and tender prince,/ Whose spirit with divine ambition puff'd /Makes mouths at the invisible event, / Exposing what is mortal and unsure/To all that fortune, death and danger dare,/Even for an egg-shell.” (IV.iv. 49-56). Hamlet admires Fortinbras as a man of action due to building an army and directing them for Denmark to avenge the death of his father. In the end, as Fortinbras successfully becomes King of Denmark, he says: “Take up the bodies. Such a sight as this/ Becomes the field,/but here shows much amiss./ Go, bid the soldiers shoot.” (V.ii. 403-405). Fortinbras tells the soldiers to clean up the dead bodies and then fire their guns outside honoring of Hamlet.
Laertes, a foil to Hamlet in the play, faces similar problems as Hamlet. Laertes learns Hamlet is responsible for the death of his father, Polonius by Claudius. But, in Act III Scene iv, Polonius was hiding behind the arras of the Queen Gertrude’s room and Hamlet killed him accidentally. Claudius took the opportunity to use his manipulative skills and convince...

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