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Discuss Shakespeare’s treatment of revenge in the way Hamlet’s revenge quest is presented in the play.

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Introduction

Some critics have suggested that Hamlet delays taking revenge because he is temperamentally unsuited to the task. Others attribute the delay to real problems to do with revenge. Discuss Shakespeare's treatment of revenge in the way Hamlet's revenge quest is presented in the play. In Shakespeare's 'Hamlet' revenge is the main theme, and the subject is the foundation for everything else in the play. The revenge quest is introduced in Act1, though does not take place until Claudius' death in act 5. During this time Hamlet contemplates his task, whilst affecting the lives that entwine around his. There are many arguments as to what Shakespeare is presenting to his audience in 'Hamlet', is it a play about a man's character, or is it a moral debate? This is perhaps why the play has remained popular throughout the centuries, inspiring intelligent and ridiculous discussions over the true understanding of Shakespeare's 'Hamlet', and countless interpretations of the play. Although Hamlet's final line was 'the rest is silence', the affect of the play has been far from that. Hamlet is presented the revenge quest by the ghost of his dead father, and Hamlet immediately and continually questions the authenticity of the spirit. This can been seen as one of Hamlet's delay to perform the revenge by over analysing the situation. He asks if the ghost is 'a devil' who 'abuses me to damn me'. ...read more.

Middle

After the success of the 'mousetrap' play, Hamlet declares, 'I'll take the ghost's word for a thousand pound.' This seems to have solved Hamlet's reason for delay, as he seems determined to kill Claudius as shown by his soliloquy in act three, scene three. A main way Shakespeare presents Hamlet's character, and his 'tragic flaw' is through the use of soliloquies. The long speeches help Shakespeare reveals his character to the audience, and thus leaving him open to judgement. As Shakespeare continually uses soliloquies for Hamlet in the play's structure, and this shows us that the writer wanted us to know what is going through Hamlet's mind. Hamlet finds Claudius at prayer, which again provides him with an excuse to delay the murder. It shows Hamlet's character failing again, as he over-examines the scene. He wants to catch Claudius in a moment 'that has no relish of salvation in it', as he thinks if he kills Claudius whilst confessing his sins, Claudius will go straight to heaven. This demonstrates how Hamlet does not base his moral decisions purely on instinct. His intelligence provides a problem when decision making, but is it really a character fault to think before doing? Many suggest in Hamlet's case it is, as his procrastination begins to affect the lives around his. Hamlet says 'And now I'll do't - and so a goes to heaven, and so am I revenge'. ...read more.

Conclusion

This argument can be applied to 'Hamlet'- what are the problems with revenge? Many suggest that the play itself is a moral debate over this subject- 'is not so much a revenge play, as a play about revenge'. Evidence that supports this theory- many revenge stories the structure and characters Contrast of Hamlet's character with Fortinbras and Laertes-foils. Shakespeare thinks revenge should be thought over- praising Hamlet, cussing Laertes Revenge tragedy had become a popular theme in Elizabethan theatre, and although plays such as Thomas Kyd's 'Spanish Tragedy' and Marlowe's 'Jew of Malta' provided excellent drama, the story's used a repeated structure. Perhaps Shakespeare was trying to provide some reality to the character- who cannot be seen as truly hero or villain, and a normal person can relate to. This is Shakespeare's approach to tackling the real problem with revenge. Hamlet's problem with revenge is it an endless cycle of violence. If Hamlet plots and conspires does he become Claudius? Does not base his moral decisions on instinct, intelligent. .Bacon 'a kind of wild justice' Hamlet's final revenge is not actually initiated by him; it is his response to Claudius poisoning his mother. In 1796 Goethe suggested that Hamlet's revenge quest was, 'a heavy deed placed on a soul which is not adequate to cope with it.' Others plots- role reversal. Focus on the fall of a hero rather than on execution of a pledge to revenge. ...read more.

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