Duality of the Revenge in the Play Hamlet

Whilst an audience would feel Hamlet must follow his visceral feelings and exact a bloody revenge, there is also the moral issue that both a viewer and Hamlet must wrestle with in order to make a decision over whether the death of a murdering, incestuous Uncle is necessary. From the time the audience hears of his intentions they feel sympathetic towards his cause even though he is to commit a chilling crime. This is best explained by Francis Bacon, the writer of Of Revenge who states that revenge is a kind of wild justice and the most tolerable sort of revenge, is for those wrongs, which there is no law to remedy.

There are surely no greater wrongs than killing a brother and a King in one fell swoop, but there are other motives for this revenge, primarily honor. It is the ghost of Hamlets father whom fuels revenge in the early stages of the play, he urges Hamlet to abandon all nature, a euphemism for morality, and kill Claudius in order to release the spirit from purgatory in a similar manner to Claudius the ghost asks Hamlet to turn his love into actions:

Ghost: If thou didst ever thy father love

Hamlet: O God!

Ghost: Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder

However Hamlet is an introspective character who does not know whether to trust the ghost of his father, which, according to Sir Walter Murdoch leads to intense psychological pain through his obsession for gathering information to prove or disprove Claudius guilt.

However it can also be argued that Hamlet, despite his desire to extract revenge against Claudius, is also actively looking for means with which to relieve himself from the stress and protect his morale and religious principles that harboring this obsession causes him, even if seeking psychological refuge in such ways might mean forfeiting this endeavor. This would relieve him from an impossible dilemma and free him from the feeling of cowardice.

An example of this fixation of proving the murder of his father is the re-enactment of the crime through the play within the play in order to catch the conscience of the King. This is undertaken by Hamlet, as he does not wish to be seen as a coward, but at the same time wishes to find out if the ghost was simply a hallucination triggered by his hatred of his Uncle. He proves his Uncles guilt through the watching of facial expression and his reaction afterwards is of strong elation:

O good Horatio, Ill take the ghosts word for a thousand pounds. Didst perceive?

Very well my lord

Upon the talk of poisoning?

I did very well note him.

Aha! Come, some music; come the recorders.

For if the King like not the comedy.

Why then, belike he likes it not perdie

However this is also a good example of procrastination, Hamlet is aware that he is caught in a situation, where he is to abandon his morale values, either his honor, or his visceral directions, which will label him murderer if he honors his father, or coward if he does not, his morality and religion appear to hold him back.

Normally the role of the avenger is cursed, he must sully his hands in order to purge the court although with reference to religion, it would appear that the Gods are on his side, Hamlet is struck by the fortunes of fate, for example the coincidental meeting with the players or the finding of the commission heading to England, this prevents Hamlet from dying at the hands of two friends. A parallel can be drawn here with Tourneurs The Revengers Tragedy, where Vindice encounters many happy coincidences; every stage of his journey is blessed with the divinity of chance.

Whilst some critics argue that Hamlet was paralysed by the pale cast of thought in order to increase the duration of the play, it must be stated that it provides an interesting contrast with the impulsive Laertes. Some see his revenge as ideal, for he explicitly dismisses the highest obligations that rule human conduct and these morals are usurped by revenge, in a similar way to Claudius claiming the throne:

To hell allegiance! Vows to the blackest devill

Conscience and grace to the profoundest pit!

I dare damnation. To this point I stand,

That both the worlds I give to negligence,

Let come what comes, only Ill be revenged

Most thoroughly for my father

These two characters differ on one major aspect, thought. Whilst Hamlet intricately plots and studies Claudius in order to make sure the Ghost was not a hallucination brought about by his hatred of his Uncle. Laertes acts swiftly in order to prevent the intrusion of morality.

This is the main downfall of an avenger, thought, Hamlet was able to act quickly in order to dispose of the lives of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern as well as the unfortunate Polonius, without consideration of the moral implications, similarly with Laertes who when asked how he would transform his hatred more than in words he replies to cut his throat ithe church. However, Hamlet, in comparison, is a deeply introspective character who wishes to be spared from the agonizing possibility of engaging in a crime that violates many moral, political and religious principles according to Sir Walter Murdoch.

The protestant Elizabethan people as a whole, although deeply religious, would view the matter in a similar fashion to Laertes, that justice should be brought about through the death of the villain. One might consider that Shakespeare based Laertes upon Queen Elizabeth, who proved that she was not prepared to reason with moral implications until after she had exacted revenge.

For example in dealing with the Essex rebellion she had a personal friend killed, Lord Essex, in order to ensure that somebody paid for her inconvenience. The people were particularly keen on watching people pay for their misdoings Marchette Chute, author of Shakespeare of London writes:

Apart from the excellent shops, the great single magnet was the law courts During each of the law terms, especially the autumn term of the michaelmas, the population of London swelled like the tidal flow of its own Thames

This is evidence that the courts were a source of great pleasure and that the fate of the criminals was of interest to the people of London, where Shakespeare lived. In Hamlets case it would have been viewed as an unavoidable inevitability that Claudius would be killed due to the strong bond between families. He gave his word to his father and a fathers wish was to be exacted perfectly.

G.B.Harrison states that there was a significant sense of loyalty and devotion amongst families, if Hamlet had not killed Claudius he would have been viewed in a similar light to Polonius whom abandoned his integrity by discussing his sons exploits with somebody outside the family, he accused his own blood of visiting brothels which were frowned upon, although quite popular amongst the Elizabethan people.

Politically the play would have had many references to Shakespearean England, where the court was dominated by corruption and plotting in a similar manner to that of Denmark in Hamlet. This is highlighted through the treatment of the Duke of Essex, along with many other high-powered figures.

Hamlet takes up a stance equal to that of the Queen, as both were attempting to purge the court, yet Hamlet does not have the strength to do so. The ruthless Laertes would have been viewed as a stronger character than the methodical Hamlet for his cowardice would not appeal to the values of the Elizabethan man, Laertes crime would be seen as acceptable, due to the similar stance taken by political figures such as the Queen whom would almost certainly exact revenge upon the incestuous villain Claudius.

On the other hand a modern audience would take a completely different stance, Laertes sudden rage, is seen as a veil that overshadows all reasonable thought according to Sir Walter Murdoch, this is perceived nowadays as a crime of murder as the title suggests. However, Hamlets procrastination is not seen as cowardice but more as a consolidation of the Christian doctrine. George Bernard Shaw states in Back To Methuselah:

He has evolved into the Christian perception of futility and wickedness of revenge and punishment, founded on the simple fact that two blacks do not make a white.

Although Hamlet asks himself Am I a coward? this would seem to appeal more to an Elizabethan audience who would be able to empathize more with the necessity of killing his Uncle, and would view his hesitation as a form of cowardice. An audience watching the play today however would be sympathetic with Hamlets desire but the moral standards applied in the twenty-first century would view the crime as murder and his procrastination would not be cowardly. In this manner, as the title suggests it is a cursed spite as he would be scorned upon by both audiences, but at the time Shakespeare wrote the play the audience would welcome Hamlets need to fulfill his promise to his father.

Calculate the price
Make an order in advance and get the best price
Pages (550 words)
$0.00
*Price with a welcome 15% discount applied.
Pro tip: If you want to save more money and pay the lowest price, you need to set a more extended deadline.
We know how difficult it is to be a student these days. That's why our prices are one of the most affordable on the market, and there are no hidden fees.

Instead, we offer bonuses, discounts, and free services to make your experience outstanding.
How it works
Receive a 100% original paper that will pass Turnitin from a top essay writing service
step 1
Upload your instructions
Fill out the order form and provide paper details. You can even attach screenshots or add additional instructions later. If something is not clear or missing, the writer will contact you for clarification.
Pro service tips
How to get the most out of your experience with MyhomeworkGeeks
One writer throughout the entire course
If you like the writer, you can hire them again. Just copy & paste their ID on the order form ("Preferred Writer's ID" field). This way, your vocabulary will be uniform, and the writer will be aware of your needs.
The same paper from different writers
You can order essay or any other work from two different writers to choose the best one or give another version to a friend. This can be done through the add-on "Same paper from another writer."
Copy of sources used by the writer
Our college essay writers work with ScienceDirect and other databases. They can send you articles or materials used in PDF or through screenshots. Just tick the "Copy of sources" field on the order form.
Testimonials
See why 20k+ students have chosen us as their sole writing assistance provider
Check out the latest reviews and opinions submitted by real customers worldwide and make an informed decision.
Business and administrative studies
Thank you for your hard work
Customer 452773, October 19th, 2023
Human Resources Management (HRM)
excellent work
Customer 452773, July 3rd, 2023
Business and administrative studies
excellent work
Customer 452773, March 12th, 2023
History
Don't really see any of sources I provided, but elsewise its great, thank you!
Customer 452697, May 8th, 2021
English 101
IThank you
Customer 452631, April 6th, 2021
Human Resources Management (HRM)
excellent job
Customer 452773, June 25th, 2023
Leadership Studies
awesome work as always
Customer 452773, August 19th, 2023
Nursing
thank you so much
Customer 452749, June 10th, 2021
fin571
EXCELLEN T
Customer 452773, March 21st, 2024
Nursing
Impressive writing
Customer 452547, February 6th, 2021
Humanities
Thank youuuu
Customer 452729, May 30th, 2021
Business and administrative studies
excellent job thank you Your Score 166.25/ 175- A 1. Current Culture 15% of total grade 18.37 Criterion "1. Current Culture" has textual feedback Criterion Feedback I see interesting points, though, in general they are not about the culture.
Customer 452773, June 4th, 2023
11,595
Customer reviews in total
96%
Current satisfaction rate
3 pages
Average paper length
37%
Customers referred by a friend
OUR GIFT TO YOU
15% OFF your first order
Use a coupon FIRST15 and enjoy expert help with any task at the most affordable price.
Claim my 15% OFF Order in Chat
Close

Sometimes it is hard to do all the work on your own

Let us help you get a good grade on your paper. Get professional help and free up your time for more important courses. Let us handle your;

  • Dissertations and Thesis
  • Essays
  • All Assignments

  • Research papers
  • Terms Papers
  • Online Classes
Live ChatWhatsApp