Summary Of Revenge In The Tragedy Of Hamlet

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Revenge can easily devour a person. It engulfs a person through its destructive nature resulting violent or abrasive behavior. This defense mechanism occurs when humans feel as if they have been wronged, hurt, or humiliated. Revenge is simply a weak attempt to transform shame into pride. In William Shakespeare’s 1603 tragedy, The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, his Elizabethan character—Prince Hamlet—originally seeks to avenge his father’s death however his sanity dwindles as he repeatedly tries to repress his anger and resentment for his uncle and new King of Denmark, Claudius. Hamlet’s waning sanity becomes more transparent as the play continues to evolve. The audience is able to track Hamlet’s rapidly deteriorating psychological …show more content…
After finding out from the Ghost King Hamlet himself—that his own brother murdered him, Hamlet plans to avenge his father’s death. Hamlet’s determination speaks volumes in his soliloquy. He speaks with multiple anaphoras, while his abrupt and exclamatory sentences articulate his growing inner tension. Hamlet declares his mission of vengeance saying “O fie, hold, hold my heart, / And you, my sinews. Grow not instant old, / But bear me [stiffly] up. Remember me!” from this point forward, Hamlet dedicates his own being to avenging his father’s death, making it his own dying wish (1.5. 93-5). However, due to Hamlet’s rapidly evolving mental state, he quickly shifts his focus to his mother, calling her, “O most pernicious woman,” cursing his mother’s actions (1. 5. 105). Hamlet’s last words this soliloquy echo his plan to avenge his father’s death. As notable critic, Rhodri Lewis states, “Hamlet begins promisingly enough: he makes plan his determination that he should remain bodily able to carry out the Ghost’s demands,” to avenge King Hamlet’s death, Hamlet’s language and sentence structure say otherwise (Lewis 610). The rapid shift in subject matter changes, language, and abrupt sentences all suggests that Hamlet is not stable, but rather is becoming more and more detached from who he once was. For example, Hamlet speaks in …show more content…
Prior to his disgruntled and violent psychological state, Hamlet was very suicidal. In his opening statement, “To be or not to be, that is the question,” (3. 1. 55) he contemplates committing suicide. Hamlet’s evaluates the pros and cons of death with a military extended metaphor. He shifts from a combative tone to a pitiful tone, suggesting that he is not only giving up on his path of vengeance but life in general. This dramatic shift from aggression to despair means that Hamlet is no longer psychologically stable. However, the audience cannot be sure of this considering he said he would pretend to be mad sometimes, but the audience can assume his is going mad since this happens before Ophelia enters. Critic James Hirsh states that, “By omitting all references to his personal grievances when in the presence of agents of his enemy, Hamlet tries to convey the impression that his disgust with life is merely the result of a generic melancholy temperament […] not any personal grievance” (Hirsh 36). This observation is important because in all his other soliloquies, Hamlet directly lists personal offenses made to him. Thus, this example could argue a case of sanity because Hamlet knows when he is or is not being observed. The

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