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Hamlet By William Shakespeare Essay

1683 words - 7 pages

The expression “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” is never taken literally in the modern day, as it only exaggerates the idea of payback or karma, but this saying took a whole new meaning in the famous tragic-revenge play of Hamlet, written by William Shakespeare in 1601.What is so appealing about this masterpiece, to audiences of many decades, is the fact that revenge plays a rather large role throughout the play, motivating not only characters but developing an extensive plot. Revenge is the dominant theme that is intertwined into every character’s actions, forcing some to act out of blind anger and emotion instead of thoughtful reasoning. Senseless, emotional retaliation took hold of Fortinbras, Laertes, and Hamlet; consuming their lives with the obligation to take vengeance on the people who killed their fathers. Revenge almost led to the downfall of all three men and is an emotion that is rationalized to easily. Shakespeare develops the plot by using revenge as the backbone to the story, showing characters like Fortinbras and Laertes fulfilling their vengeance easily while Hamlet hesitates murder with every prime opportunity. However glorious revenge may seem, it is a very dangerous theory to live by, as clearly represented in Hamlet.
Hamlet features many plots but revenge is the main strategy that is developed throughout the entire play. Plots emphasizing revenge often focus on the protagonist seeking retaliation against the antagonist for a real or imagined injury (Kramer). Revenge is often an easy plot to develop throughout a play because vengeance is naturally wanted but a challenging goal to achieve. In a revenge tragedy more focus is placed on the act of vengeance than on a meaningful examination of the character’s motives (Kramer). The hero of the story should also display moral justification for the punishment and seek the revenge privately, with little to no other character’s knowing of the task (Kramer). Revenge is so intriguing in the famous play because Hamlet’s morals and want for the truth distract him from avenging his father’s death. Hamlet is known as one of the best revenge plots in history and is among the most powerful and influential tragedies in English literature. The real beauty of the play lies in Shakespeare's art of characterization, the powerful dialogues of Hamlet, and the creative twist on a tragic revenge play.
Shakespeare’s Hamlet follows very closely to the dramatic conventions of revenge in the Elizabethan theater ("Introduction to Elizabethan Revenge Tragedy and Hamlet ). All revenge tragedies originally stemmed from the Greeks, who wrote and performed the first plays. Aristotle, a Greek philosopher, believed plot was the most important aspect of revenge and defined it in a tragedy as "The noble actions and the doings of noble persons" (“Hamlet As A Tragedy”). Explained by this definition, Hamlet should be a noble person, who does noble things. Aristotle would have critiqued in Shakespeare’s...

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