Revenge Themes in Hamlet Essay

1048 Words Oct 19th, 2006 5 Pages
In the play ‘Hamlet' written by William Shakespeare in Elizabethan times, the theme of revenge is a constant throughout the plot. Not only does it underlie almost every scene, but it also has a major effect on the story as a whole. Two of the main revenge plots within the play are Hamlet's aim to avenge his father by killing his uncle, the king Claudius, and Laertes' aim to avenge the murder of his father by killing Hamlet. These two revenge plots play a major role in presenting to the audience the theme of revenge.

There are many reasons why Hamlet's revenge plot is important to the development of the play; most are specific to the story-line. Hamlet is set upon revenge because of instructions from a ghost, which has taken his
…show more content…
Another major revenge plan in the story is that of Laertes'. Laertes hears of his father's murder whilst he is studying in Paris and rushes back to Denmark to avenge his family's honour. A comparison is to be made here between the different actions of Laertes and Hamlet. Hamlet, as stated above, procrastinated and waited until he was absolutely convinced of what he had to do. Laertes, on the other hand, heard about his father's death and his sister's madness and returned straight away to Denmark to seek revenge. The difference between the two is very easy to define, possibly made so by Shakespeare, and we can see Hamlet's torment when he compares himself to such people as Fortinbras and Laertes, as he calls Fortinbras "a delicate and tender prince".

Another major development in the plot due to Laertes' revenge scheme is most notably the death of Hamlet. It is because of Laertes' grudge against Hamlet that the main protagonist is killed. Hamlet is stabbed in a scuffle by Laertes with a poisoned sword. In this way Laertes' quest to revenge the dishonour placed upon his family by Hamlet does in fact lead to Hamlet's death. It is only when he is dying that Laertes in fact sees that it is Claudius who is at fault concerning all the deaths which are occurring, "The King, the King's to blame".

To conclude, both Hamlet's and Laertes' revenge plots have massive

Related Documents