The Morality Of Revenge In William Shakespeare's Hamlet

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Register to read the introduction… Hamlet is not sure of the Ghost's account, not sure that the phantom is indeed the spirit of his father, or that of a demon. In order to prove that Claudius is a murderer, Hamlet plans to reveal the King's guilt through means of a play:

I'll have grounds

More relative than this-- the play's the thing

Wherein I'll catch the conscience of the King. (2.2.603-605)

Hamlet urges Horatio to observe the King's reaction to the play so he can be sure of his guilt and positive that the ghost is truly the spirit of old Hamlet. Before the mousetrap, Hamlet reveals to Ophelia his animosity towards his mother:

Hamlet.O God, your only jig-maker. What should a

Man do but be merry, for look now how cheerful my

Mother looks, and my father died within two hours.

Ophelia. Nay, 'tis twice two months my lord.

Hamlet. So long? Nay then let the devil wear black,

for I'll have a suit of sables. O heavens, die two

months ago, and not forgotten yet? Then there's
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The difference here is that Hamlet must remain silent about his thoughts for revenge until he has reason. At this point in act one, Hamlet has only the anger for his mother and no just cause to kill the King, until finally the Ghost reveals that he was murdered. Only then must Hamlet become his father's avenger and a hero like Pyrrhus, who serves as a model for the Prince. Pyrrhus too hesitates in his revenge, he must find rage within himself in order to do the deed, but for Hamlet what remains is his illusion that he must identify with his father and avengers of the ancient past in order to fulfil his task.

Hamlet's character has a lot in common with the other 'sons' in the play, namely Fortinbras and Laertes. Hamlet and Fortinbras are alike because both share their father's name, both have lost their father, and both must seek revenge for the patriarch. What differs is that Fortinbras is quick in his decision and gets things done. The Prince has more trouble distinguishing himself from Laertes, the son of Polonius. Hamlet sees Laertes as a mirror of himself because each have lost their father brutally. Hamlet then finds the will to act because he identifies with Laertes' similar

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