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What do you think is the importance of Shakespeare(TM)s presentation of the theme revenge in Hamlet for the audiences then and now?

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What do you think is the importance of Shakespeare's presentation of the theme revenge in Hamlet for the audiences then and now? Well, we can begin by acknowledging that Hamlet is a revenge play. It is also important to consider the audience today and how they felt about revenge. The story is based upon the need to revenge a murder in the family. In a typical revenge plot, there are no authorities to appeal to, either because the original criminal is too powerful (e.g., has become King) or those in a position to act don't know about or believe in the criminality of the original villain. Hence, the central character has to act on his own, if any justice is to occur. However, although it seems like Hamlet follows the traditional revenge plot at first after a short period of time the audience will realise that there is something that differentiates Hamlet from other conventional Elizabethan plays of the same plot and theme. Today's audience may understand why Hamlet is resulting to revenge but may not consider it to be the right thing to do. The Elizabethan audience who would have first paid to view this play would have been very used to the format of revenge plays; they were exceedingly popular during the 16th and early 17th centuries. There were also two views in the time of Shakespeare. One view is the protestant and the other is catholic view. Today's audience would think that the idea of ghost even existing is absurd, let alone the Ghost actually asking to seek revenge for his death. ...read more.


These characters and their peaceful, although uneasy, atmosphere contrasts with the chaos and havoc formed by this single task set upon the "heart of Denmark", the Prince Hamlet. In this scene, the angry Ghost of Hamlet's father, who has been doomed to walk the worldly empire for the rest of perpetuity, provides enlarged thirst for vengeance to "Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder" into the vulnerable weak shell of his mourning son. Hamlet is compelled to satisfy this plea for his love, loyalty and honour towards his father, idolizing him in earlier scenes as a Greek god "Hyperion", thus deciding to let "the thoughts of love... sweep to my revenge." He decides then to dedicate his life to revenge and "wipe away all trivial fond records" in order for "thy commandment all alone shall live". However he is still reluctant to avenge so at the end of the scene he concludes that "the time is out of joint" due to the disruption of the natural order caused by Claudius' regicide thus by punishing Claudius, he is cleansing the kingdom of Denmark. He amends the task set by the Ghost to this noble "purging of evil" quest by committing regicide, appointing himself with the role of providence to justify his actions. This is a common step for avengers to take, as they feel as though they have been wronged and take it upon them to punish justly. He feels alone being the only one that knows Claudius, instead of being punished for his murder, gets a new wife, and becomes King; what he doesn't realise is that ...read more.


Laertes' revenge also fits his character, judging by his father and sister, their family would seem "silly" and emotional, and no reason involved in judging things at all, and therefore needs no other push than hearing about Hamlet killing his father that makes him goes for it. Hamlet though, seems too reasonable, almost passionless. Personally I would consider him as the opposite from Laertes. He seems to have more passion towards his mother's new marriage than the death of his father, and as the Ghost brings up the revenge for his death, Hamlet does not decide to kill Claudius, he decides to stall. This also seems kind of odd, if he would really love his father, he would want to revenge his murder, if he wanted to revenge his murder, he would do it, even knowingly that the punishment for killing the King is also death, this is very odd especially after hearing him talk about suicide and how he didn't necessarily care if he died. The theme revenge is being developed throughout the play, Hamlet's desire for revenge, Laertes desire for revenge. These 2 characters lost their father and wanted to seek revenge, but these 2 characters have very different personality, Laertes is brave and tends to act before he thinks. Hamlet however is in the middle; he has the personality of Laertes but also is witty, he seldom acts before thinking. Hamlet's wit could be seen throughout the play, from setting up the mousetrap to escaping Claudius' evil ploys. His foolishness can be seen when he stabs Polonius and his strength when he won Laertes in the fencing match. All these 3 characters have their mind set to revenge for their late father. ...read more.

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