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Hamlet - It's hard to define what revenge actually is.

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Introduction

Hamlet Essay It's hard to define what revenge actually is. I suppose Francis Bacon put it best in his essay about revenge, 'Revenge is a kind of wild justice; which the more man's nature runs to, the more ought law to weed it out'. In a 'Revenge Play', normally, the whole play is based on the revenge and it is combined with tragedy. In this case, they are combined to cause a big problem for Hamlet. In this essay, I will examine this problem. There are very different characters in Hamlet; they all seem to have their own problems. Hamlet's problem is the main focus of the play but we are also made aware of the other characters problems. At the end of the play, we see the finale in which all the characters come together to end the lives of others. They think that it will solve their problems. So, therefore I think that the characters are the main problem in this play. I think that Hamlet's character is unsuited to this play. He is not a 'revenger'. We can tell this in Act 1, Scene 5 when the ghost tells Hamlet to take his revenge on Claudius. He questions whether he should 'what else? And shall I couple hell?' if he was a revenger then he would rush to Claudius and kill him straight away. We can also see this in what Hamlet does. He tries to scare the king by acting out 'The murder of Gonzago' in a similar way to how Claudius killed Hamlets father. He does this so he can be sure that the ghost was telling the truth. ...read more.

Middle

Also, in the final scene of the play, she tells Hamlet about the poisoned drink so he would have revenge on Claudius before he died. 'No no the drink, the drink! Oh my dear Hamlet! The drink, the drink! I am poison'd'. We don't know whether Gertrude knew that Claudius murdered her husband or if she loved either of them, but her confusion in love proved to be a problem in this play. Another confused character in this play is Ophelia. She has comparisons to Gertrude in that she is confused in love. She doesn't know whether to obey her father of her boyfriend, Hamlet. In Act 1, Scene 3, Polonius tells Ophelia not to see Hamlet again against her will. 'I would not, in plain terms, from this time forth have you slander any moment leisure as to give words or talk to Lord Hamlet'. As Polonius is her father, Ophelia has no choice but to agree 'I shall obey my Lord'. This causes a problem for Ophelia. She thinks that she is in love with Hamlet but she can't be with him. I compared Ophelia to Gertrude before, but comparisons can also be made with Hamlet and Ophelia. Hamlet pretends to be mad and Ophelia actually goes mad. Mad with grief with the fact that the person she loved killed her father. This causes problems because Ophelia is so maddened with grief that she, unfortunately, drowns. In Act 4, Scene 5, we see how mad Ophelia is. She speaks complete nonsense 'They say the owl was a baker's daughter, Lord. We know what we are, but know not what we may be'. ...read more.

Conclusion

In the final scene of the play, when both Hamlet and Horatio know that Hamlet is about to die, Horatio is prepared to commit suicide so he and Hamlet could die together. He makes comparisons with himself to Pre - Christian Romans who preferred to commit suicide rather then live an ignoble life. 'I am more an antique Roman then a Dane, here's some liquor left'. In my opinion, wanting to die for you friend is the ultimate test of friendship. The main reason as to why Hamlet is a problem play is the character who started the whole main problem off through no fault of his own, the dead King, Hamlet. Claudius is more to blame, as he murdered him, but if the King had not died, and then come back to arouse suspicion that he had been murdered, then Claudius wouldn't be king, Gertrude would still be married to Hamlet's father, Hamlet and Ophelia would still be together and Hamlet, Gertrude, Claudius, Ophelia, Leartes, Polonius and King Hamlet 1 would all still be alive. So, therefore the main character and also the reason why Hamlet is a 'Problem Play' is Claudius. If he had not been so jealous of his brother, then no one would have died or gone mad or needed to carry out revenge (Hamlet's main problem). But, if Claudius had not killed King Hamlet 1, then the play would not have a story line, it would not be a tragedy and it would defiantly not be a 'Revenge Play'. If it wasn't for Claudius' actions, Hamlet the play would have no plot and Hamlet the character would have no 'raisond'etre'. English coursework 2002 1 ...read more.

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Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

3 star(s)

3 STARS ***

This is a good essay which shows understanding and knowledge of the play.
More social and historical context is needed when discussing female characters. The writer shows an understanding of dramatic techniques Shakespeare used and how the audience would respond to them.
At times the essay was in danger of merely summarising the intricacies of the plot and not focusing on answering the question.

Marked by teacher Katie Dixon 16/07/2013

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