Revenge Theme In Hamlet

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In the play Hamlet, by William Shakespeare, revenge is possibly the biggest theme topic in the entire play. A large part of the revenge that is spoken about, comes from Hamlet and his desire to get vengeance against the current King, Claudius, for murdering his father. There are many speeches that convey the idea of revenge within the play, but I have gathered two of them that I feel represent the theme in a way that explains why it occurs so often. The first of the two speeches is orated by a ghost who is supposed to portray Hamlet’s father. He speaks of how he is “doomed for a certain term to walk the night” (I.v.10) and must be avenged of his death. He tells Hamlet to therefore find a way to get revenge against Claudius. After the story …show more content…
In the next speech, we see what Hamlet feelings are. He believes that he must hurry up and somehow get retribution on Claudius. Through these two speeches, we are able to see why revenge is such an important theme to the story and what it means towards the characters. The ghost, is the main contributor to Hamlet wanting to retaliate against Claudius. He introduces the story of how Claudius had murdered Old Hamlet and that had commenced Hamlet’s desire for revenge. The ghost speaks of how he lives terribly because of how he had died and that he needs to be avenged in order to live a better afterlife. Therefore, because Old Hamlet cannot physically get revenge on Claudius, he sends out Hamlet to become sort of the middleman and get revenge both for himself and for his father because he is unable to do it by himself. The ghost also uses guilt in his speech in order to successfully get Hamlet to get revenge for him. He states that “If thou didst ever thy dear father love...Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder.”(I.v.23-25). Basically, he is saying that if Hamlet …show more content…
In this next speech, Hamlet shows how he needs to get a hold of himself and progress with revenge. He eventually says that ”...all occasions do inform against me, And spur my dull revenge!”(IV.iv.31-32). Essentially, he is stating that everything that is happening to him is a sign that he needs to act fast and hurry up with whatever he is going to do with revenge, in this case he decides murder is the best option. His speech shows that Hamlet will become a nobody if he does not act upon his father’s murder. Although nobody else would know that Old Hamlet was murdered, Hamlet would have a guilty conscience and would think that not avenging his father’s death is very cowardly and worthless. Obviously, the setting and time period do have an effect on what Hamlet believes, as a sane person would not go towards such extreme measure just to get revenge. At that time, it would have seemed that if someone you knew had killed a relative or friend, the best way to counter it, is to murder them back. It clearly shows that revenge, for Hamlet, is what will protect his honor and keep him from becoming a coward, although he does “miss” opportunities to kill Claudius. Hamlet actually believes that murder or any sort of violence is the best way to go forward with his plan of revenge. He even states in his speech that “My thoughts be bloody, or be nothing worth!”.

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