Revenge Symbolism In Hamlet

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Revenge has caused the downfall of many people. Its consuming and addictive nature causes one to act recklessly through anger rather than reason. The endless cycle of hate becomes one’s addiction, and like all tales of compulsion, it leads one to crash and then burn. Revenge is an emotion that is easily rationalized; one wrong deserves another. However, this is a very dangerous theory to live by. This is clearly evident in Shakespeare’s Hamlet seeing that revenge is the play’s most dominant theme. In Hamlet, Shakespeare implies that revenge is acceptable and is as normal as the sun rising by utilizing a wide range of literary techniques such as irony, symbolism, imagery, and characterization. He also points out that revenge is a threat that …show more content…
The most obvious example of revenge symbolism in the play is the Ghost of Hamlet’s Father, which represents the way Hamlet is haunted by his father’s memory. The Ghost of Hamlet’s Father “appears to demand vengeance, and to reveal secret crimes. It is neither useless, nor brought in by force, but serves to convince mankind, that there is an invisible power, the master of nature” (Bloom 29). The Ghost appears in the first scene to set the stage for the entire play. When he appears, he mentions everything Hamlet has been clandestinely contemplating in vivid detail and convinces Hamlet to embark on a path of revenge, which sends him into a spiral of madness. What finally convinces Hamlet to embark on this path of revenge is when the Ghost says, “If thou didst ever thy dear father love—” (1.5.23). In other words, the Ghost is implying that if Hamlet ever loved him, he would do this for him. How could Hamlet possibly refuse to fulfill his dead father’s wish? Consequently, his fate is …show more content…
Through the myths, Shakespeare replicates “situations similar to those experienced by the characters in the play, thereby highlighting the flaws of the characters and often foreshadowing their doom” (McCollum). Although these mirrors are not exact, they provide a deep and philosophical view of the characters. For example, Shakespeare provides a comparison of Hamlet to Hercules. In this mirror, Shakespeare uses the myth of Hercules “to create for Hamlet a kindred spirit in the hero” as well as “to reinforce Hamlet’s perceptions of himself and his life” (McCollum). Hamlet and Hercules can be considered as being similar because they are both confronted with overwhelming tasks—Hamlet with his father’s revenge; and Hercules with his place amid the gods. Both of these tasks cannot be accomplished without a tragedy.
In addition, Shakespeare utilizes irony to create the effect of revenge. When the Ghost tells Hamlet he wants him to avenge his death, Hamlet keeps this information to himself. Hamlet and the audience are the only ones aware of what the Ghost told him. As a result, no one understands why Hamlet acts strangely. The audience knows that Hamlet is faking his madness as part of his plot for revenge. This serves as an example of dramatic

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