• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Explore Shakespeares presentation of the theme of duty in Hamlet. In the course of your writing, show how your ideas have been influenced by your reading of the The Revengers Tragedy.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Transfer-Encoding: chunked Explore Shakespeare?s presentation of the theme of duty in ?Hamlet?. In the course of your writing, show how your ideas have been influenced by your reading of the ?The revenger?s Tragedy?. ?Hamlet? was written at a time of social divide as the instinctual urge to seek revenge for oneself or others, be it for filial duty or to defend ones honour. Duty in ?Hamlet? is strongly linked to revenge. However the renaissance that was taking place in Elizabethan England produced philosophers who disagreed with the desire for revenge, Bacon says that ?is a wild justice? and ?in passing it over, he is superior . This contradiction of society in terms of revenge and duty is seen in ?Hamlet? as Shakespeare presents duty as a very varied experience and revenge to be a destructive force. The idea of revenge is also explored in ?The Revenger?s Tragedy?, however it is a far more simple affair compared to Hamlet?s experience of it throughout the play. Vindice does not appear to face the emotional turmoil of revenge: his desire for revenge is disguised as duty. Shakespeare presents the theme of duty in ?Hamlet? through his use of characters and their friendship with Hamlet. Horatio is a character who is dutiful towards Hamlet in the fact that he supports Hamlet?s ideas and method on how to uncover Claudius? guilt. ...read more.

Middle

When Hamlet is presented with an opportunity to kill Claudius his does not kill him as he is praying and it would be ?base and silly, not revenge?, his decision to spare Claudius at this moment highlights Hamlet?s conscience as he believes Claudius is being purged of sin, so Hamlet wishes to kill him when he is ?drunk? or in his rage? so he will be damned. Hamlet is also concerned for himself as it would be damning on his soul to kill a man who is ?praying?, it would also be suspicious to other characters that the king died whilst on his knees praying privately. This concern shows a duty to himself. Hamlet?s delay is justified when compared to ?The Revenger?s Tragedy??s Vindice who gains revenge on the duke quickly. His revenge appears more like a murder to the audience ? he brags ?tis I Vindice, tis I!!?,compared to Hamlet?s eventual justice which is presented as an inevitable and just action. The righteousness of Claudius? death is due to its build up. Its climax is orchestrated by Claudius himself which creates a sense of conclusion and purging of corruption. It also provides Hamlet with a freed soul as his is not murdering Claudius but is simply reacting to his situation. ...read more.

Conclusion

Revenge is used by Shakespeare to present character?s sense of duty in ?Hamlet? as it is a continuing theme that is carried out by many characters. One similar trait of the revenging characters is that they all seek to avenge their father?s be it Hamlet, Laertes or Fortinbras. However Hamlet is the only character who delays. This is because of Hamlets awareness of his soul and wish to not emulate the corruption he want to destroy. Throughout the play Hamlet has been responsible for at least three rash deaths however neither of these are Claudius. Claudius is the only character Hamlet is cautious of killing despite the fact Claudius is the only person Hamlet is ordered to kill and wants to. This could be for several reasons, one being that Claudius is a father figure towards Hamlet and it is against Hamlet?s honour and thy Bible to ?kill thy father?. Another cause for Hamlet?s delay could be that Claudius represents Hamlet?s base desires as Claudius has the crown, power and his mother which many critics speculate that Hamlet has an ?Oedipus complex? which means Hamlet has sexual desires for his mother. These base desires could be preventing Hamlet and his duty from killing Claudius as that would represent killing his own desires. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Hamlet section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Hamlet essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Explore the presentation of revenge in 'Hamlet'.

    4 star(s)

    Rosencrantz and Guildenstern were given a direct order from their king, so to disobey would actually have been treason. Added to this was their ignorance of Hamlets situation due to both Hamlet and Claudius' deceit, which meant that they were unsympathetic with Hamlets mental instability and obsession with old Hamlets death.

  2. Marked by a teacher

    Explore Shakespeare's presentation of Claudius. Does he have any redeeming qualities, or is he ...

    4 star(s)

    There is an ambivalent feeling with Claudius as you cannot tell if he is happy or sad. However, these paradoxes do not cast him as a villain, as it is possible to be happy and sad simultaneously. He contradicts himself a lot, and this keeps us guessing whether he is a villain or not, "defeated joy".

  1. Discuss Shakespeares and Hamlets treatment of and ideas about women

    Readers should instead appreciate this traditional treatment of women, in not only allowing the men in positions of power to be focused on for the sake of theatrical entertainment and drama, but for also extensively juxtaposing with motifs of insanity, revenge, sin, and violence associated with the powerful male leads; King Claudius, the Ghost of King Hamlet and Prince Hamlet.

  2. Comparing the revengers Fortinbras, Laertes and Hamlet.

    (Lines 29-31). This statement from Hamlet quite early on is a complete contrast to what action Hamlet does actually take and the time it takes him to act. He speaks here of wanting to take quick revenge but in fact Hamlet waits and seeks evidence to prove that Claudius was responsible for his father's death.

  1. Explore Shakespeare's presentation of the relationships between parents and children in Hamlet.

    For him 'would it were not so, you are my mother' (15;4;3) showing that he destroys the filial bond of mother and son. The monosyllabic words of his language here, give his speech pace, which could suggest Hamlet's thoughts to be controlled by overwhelming emotion, making them irrational.

  2. Discussing Hamlet.

    However, when Hamlet plunges into thought about his own piteous self, the controlled pattern breaks up with abrupt exclamations: "And all for nothing!", and we see short-lined sentences: "For Hecuba!". Also, the sentence beginning "Yet I" and "O vengance!" breaks up the regular stressed syllable rhythm pattern.

  1. An Analysis of Hamlets Philosophy of Life and Death in William Shakespeares Hamlet

    He does not comprehend how so many people are willing to die for nothing, when for him dying is a very hard thing to come to terms with. Shakespeare uses this scene to show Hamlet that death is not as significant as he makes it seem, but rather insignificant in the big scheme of things.

  2. Criticism on Hamlet

    In Hamlet he seems to have wished to exemplify the moral necessity of a due balance between our attention to the objects of our senses, and our meditation on the workings of our minds, - an equilibrium between the real and the imaginary worlds.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work