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Morality And Revenge In Shakespeare's Hamlet

790 words - 3 pages

Hamlet’s Denmark as described as being a prison, “[a] goodly one, in which there are many confines, wards, and dungeons, Denmark being one o’th’ worst” (Shakespeare 1724, 241-242) sets the setting, which illustrates that Denmark is a dystopia in which people are enslaved. The world of Denmark is a world of injustice, revenge, . Hamlet’s world exudes Denmark’s injustice, revenge, and most importantly, its immorality. Hamlet, though argued to be a play centered and focused on the act of vengeance, is actually a play about morality and the consequences of poorly thought out and impulsive actions.
Act I Scene V of William Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, reveals not only the cause of the former King’s death, the basis for the play, but also the issue of morality that will arise throughout its entirety. The Ghost reveals the true cause of death:
“’Tis given out that, sleeping in mine orchard,
A serpent stung me. So the whole ear of Denmark
Is by a forgèd process of my death
Rankly abused. But know, thou noble youth,
The serpent that did stink thy father’s life
Now wears his crown” (Shakespeare 1712-1713, lines 34-40)
Hamlet is now aware that Claudius, brother of the former King of Denmark, poisoned Hamlet’s father in order to usurp him and claim the crown for himself. Hamlet’s father instructs Hamlet:
“Let not the royal bed of Denmark be
A couch for luxury and damnèd incest.
But howsoever though pursuest this act,
Taint not thy mind” (Shakespeare 1713, lines 82-85)
By the Ghost asking Hamlet to, “[r]evenge his foul and most unnatural murder,” (Shakepeare I.V. 25 p.1712) save Denmark’s reputation, yet instructs Hamlet to keep his mind untainted and free from corruption. The Ghost is putting Hamlet in a morally confusing situation.
Moreover, Hamlet is distraught over the death and murder of his father, and is also unable to fathom the idea that his mother married his uncle so quickly after her husbands’ death, “[t]he funeral baked meats / [d]id coldly furnish forth the marriage tables” (Shakespeare 1704, lines 179-180). After Hamlet learns the true cause of his fathers’ death, he spirals into a state of uncertainty and struggles with what his fathers’ ghost bade him to do. Hamlet is a moral and honest man trapped in the damaged, immoral and deceitful Elsinore, Denmark. Hamlet wears his heart on his sleeve, and exhibits this by acting according to his feelings, while still in...

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