An Eye for an eye, measure for measure, ill will; these are all ways of saying revenge, and it is clear that Shakespeare knows a thing or two about the concept of revenge. This theme is clearly illustrated all throughout Shakespeare’s renowned play, Hamlet. The plotting of revenge can be seen most clearly through the eyes of Hamlet, Laertes, and Fortinbras. All three of these men are seeking to avenge their fathers, but not all of them go about it in the same way. Shakespeare shows us how these men have different ideas on how revenge should be taken and when it should be taken.
The lesser known of these three is of course Fortinbras. He is a Norwegian prince on a mission to avenge his ...view middle of the document...
He comes all the way from Paris just to protest and revolt to avenge his father. Again just as Fortinbras had similarities to Hamlet, the reader can see that Laertes too shares some common ground with Hamlet. Both of them shared a love for Ophelia, both are scholars, and of course they both had a high respect for their fathers. Yet, unlike Hamlet, Laertes becomes a man of action after his father’s death, his words of agony and anger are proof of this as he exclaims,
“How came he dead? I’ll not be juggled with.
To hell, allegiance! Vows, to the blackest devil!
Conscience and grace, to the profoundest pit!
I dare damnation. To this point I stand
That both the worlds I give to negligence.
Let come what comes, only I’ll be revenged
Most thoroughly for my father” (4.5, 104-110).
Again we see a son willing to do anything to avenge his father and his name. He, like Fortinbras, takes matters in his own hands and we know that in the end Laertes does get his revenge, but at a price.
Last, but not least, is one of the most well known literary figures of revenge, the indecisive Hamlet. He is not a man of action like Fortinbras and Laertes, instead he is more methodical and indecisive. It is safe to say that Hamlet is an over thinker. Throughout the whole play we see Hamlet unable to take action and avenge his father’s murder. Shakespeare makes this even more apparent by providing two foils that can be compared and contrasted to Hamlet. With these two...