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The Hypocrisy Of Revenge Essay

1039 words - 5 pages

In today's society, the media often portrays revenge as an acceptable option. This is not outright stated, but rather implied. Characters often seem to think that revenge is the only way to get closure from a bad experience, and when this is acted on, negative consequences are not shown. Rarely is the fact that vengeance is hypocritical and wrong brought up. People need to wake up and realize that revenge is always hypocritical and illogical. As Christ said, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” (John 8:7)
The play, Hamlet, illustrates the hypocrisy of revenge. In this play, the prince Hamlet has just lost his father. While everyone thinks the death was accidental, Hamlet's dead father appears to him and tells him that his brother, Hamlet's uncle, murdered him. He commands Hamlet to avenge his death, yet not to harm his mother, because God and her conscience will punish her. Already, there is hypocrisy shown here - the dead king trusts God to take care of punishing his wife, yet commands his own son to to murder his uncle, rather than following what God says, “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God; for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord." (Romans 12:19) He says, “But howsoever thou pursuest this act, [revenge on his uncle] Taint not thy mind, nor let thy soul contrive Against thy mother aught. Leave her to heaven And to those thorns that in her bosom lodge To prick and sting her.” (Act I, Scene V, Page IV)
God tells us also, “Judge not, lest you be judged.” (Matthew 7:1) Three characters disobey this command, Hamlet's father, Hamlet, and Laertes, a friend of Hamlet's. Hamlet's father does so by judging that his brother, Claudius, ought to die and commanding his son to murder him. Hamlet does so by obeying his command. Later, Hamlet kills Polonius, Laertes' father, in an attempt to kill his uncle. This leads to how Laertes disobeys the command – in anger at Hamlet, he resolves that he will kill him in retribution. The irony of this is that, going by the Hamlet's “logic”, Hamlet would have to allow Laertes to kill him.
Later in the play, Claudius has discovered that Hamlet knows what he did. Despite an earlier attempt at repentance, he becomes obsessed with keeping his secret and saving himself from Hamlet's vengeance, no matter the cost to other people. He tricks Rosencrants and Gildenstern, friends of Hamlet's who want to help him. He sends them to England with Hamlet, and gives them a message to give to the king. What he does not tell them is that the message says to kill Hamlet immediately. By doing so, he shows no concern for the fact that he is using Rosencrants and Gildenstern, for the souls of the English King and whoever would been commanded to kill Hamlet, and obviously, for Hamlet himself.
The irony of revenge is that it often hurts the...

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