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How Does Shakespeare Examine The Themes Of Revenge in Hamlet.

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Introduction

How Does Shakespeare Examine The Themes Of Revenge in Hamlet The revenge tragedy established itself within Elizabethan theatre as a tremendously popular genre. The style of the play had gradually evolved from the works of Seneca, an ancient Roman playwright. Once translated these plays performed, steadily rose in popularity, with plays such as Middleton's 'The Changeling', Kids 'The Spanish Tragedy' and Tourneurs 'The Revenger's Tragedy' being most popular. The 'typical' revenge tragedy play has several important conventions within it, which are key to the genre. A five part structure of: Exposition, anticipation, confrontation, partial execution and completion, portray the central character - the revenger, discovering the deed he must avenge, wrestling with his conscience over the justification and validity of the act, then planning and eventually executing the act of revenge. Often Jacobean revenge tragedy often questioned the revengers' morality. How far does the task of revenge affect the revenger? How far does it taint the person? How can the audience be sure the protagonists' madness is not actually real? Is it possible that the conflicting morality suffered by him brings unto the revenger real madness and mental instability? The questions over morality are furthered by the death of the protagonist another generic feature. ...read more.

Middle

In its most insignificant form it leads Ophelia further into the madness, which eventually leads to her death. Also it demonstrates how the revenge plot has affected Hamlet "A bloody deed. Almost as bad as kill a king and marry his brother." He has killed, in cold blood and without provocation, the father of his love and yet seems to show little remorse. Can Hamlet still be seen as the hero of the play when he himself is placed in the same situation as Claudius? Polonius' death introduces a secondary revenge plot. Laertes now has to avenge his father's death, inviting the audience to compare Laertes and Hamlet as revenger. The alleged actions of Claudius have provoked a cycle of revenge plots, in which all involved are led to their deaths. The penultimate scene of the play affects the resolution of the three revenge plots. Hamlet and Laertes both achieve revenge, in doing they so they sacrifice their earthly bodies and possibly their eternal souls. Young Fortinbras revenge on Denmark for his country as he and his armies easily occupy, thus turning previous defeats on their head. Both Hamlet and Laertes at the beginning of the play were both well-liked and talented men; Hamlet had the possibilities of becoming king bestowed upon him. ...read more.

Conclusion

Shakespeare examines how religious theory can intervene with the naturalistic urges produces by pride and the ideas of blood ties. In Hamlet Shakespeare created a study of revenge, which can be read in numerous ways. In a modern context it can be seen as a study on sexuality and the violence, which can be produced from this. Also it can be read as a comment on the fallibility of religion, the bible teaches "eye for an eye" yet also teaches that vengeance is something only God can carry out. How can Hamlet be sure whether or not he should carry out the deed of killing his uncle if his religion fails to give a unified message? To its contemporary audience it could have been seen as a statement on desire for revenge, that it can only lead to a bloody end -what comes around goes around". However it could also have been read as a religious statement, that in following the ten commandments you are assured a place in heaven and that straying from this righteous path can only lead to damnation, no matter what the validity of your motives. ...read more.

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