‘Revenge is a confession of pain’ – Latin Proverb.
In the view of this statement compare and contrast the extent to which the playwrights demonstrate the idea that revenge arises from the pain of the aggressor.
In the view of this statement and in relation to ‘Hamlet’ and ‘The Duchess of Malfi’ it is important to define what pain actually is. Pain relates to grief in terms of Hamlet grieving for his father’s death. It also relates to suffering and injury – be that of the mind or body. There are instances in ‘Hamlet’ and ‘The Duchess of Malfi’ where the motivation for revenge may arise from the emotional pain of the aggressor; there are however acts of revenge shared in these plays that cannot be explained as a confession of pain but
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Hamlet is portrayed to be grieving heavily for his father’s death shown in Act 1 Scene 2 as he is ‘dressed in black’ and expresses to his mother ‘…all forms, moods, shows grief / That can denote me truly’. The choice of words used by the Prince such as saying that grief wholly ‘denotes’ him suggests that Hamlet is suffering emotionally from the loss of his father and is defined by his pain. The appearance of the Ghost in Act 1 Scene 5 only confirms the validity Hamlet’s grief and heightens the suffering he is experiencing turning it to rage and revenge after informing him that his father was murdered. Hamlet’s love and premature loss of his father induces him to take revenge fuelled by his pain; it is somewhat acting as a catalyst, and acts as a release for Hamlet to express his pain. For example, Hamlet exclaims whilst with the Ghost ‘I with… the thoughts of love / May sweep to my revenge’. This is bringing these two almost opposite and juxtaposed aspects of love and revenge together and transferring the energy of grief and pain into anger to aid his revenge. Bosola, similarly, establishes in Act 4 a genuine remorse for his crimes which allows him to devise his new action in avenging the Duchess’ death. ‘Oh sacred innocence that sweetly sleeps’; this is showing a change in Bosola’s character as he realises the value of the Duchess. Like Hamlet, Bosola in Act 4 Scene 2 is steered by his pain to instigate revenge after the death of a highly important and endeared