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Explore the concept of revenge in Shakespeare's Hamlet.

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Introduction

Essay Title: Explore the concept of revenge in Shakespeare's Hamlet In the Elizabethan era revenge was an important issue; this was a popular theme in the theatre and a main plot of the day. Shakespeare's plays were in great demand by the public and had a great effect on the audiences who watched. Although most of the Elizabethan revenge plays were set in Italy or Spain the Elizabethan was still able to grasp the concept of the issues that were being raised in the play and was able to apply these issues to their daily living. Shakespeare was greatly influenced by the classical Roman dramatist Seneca; Shakespeare applied Seneca's ideas to his work. This is because the structure and the plot of Seneca's work were of such a high standard that Seneca became well known. Many revenge tragedies consists of a typical structure which, when analysed is found to be comprised of five parts which are as follows: Exposition - this is usually shown through the image of a ghost who motivates the character to take revenge. Anticipation - this is where a planning of the revenge takes place. ...read more.

Middle

He ponders over his eternal consequences after death. Claudius is aware of what Hamlet is trying to achieve and knows he is feigning his madness. Claudius knows the reason why Hamlet has been acting this way and is threatened by this, as he knows he stands a chance of losing every thing. Claudius decides to send Hamlet to England because he fears he is a threat to everyone because if his madness so he wants every one to believe. Claudius has ulterior motives. He plans later in the plot with Laertes to have Hamlet killed. When Hamlet returns home from England he argues that his reasons for revenge are well justified. Hamlet expresses his regret in actions towards Laertes, he acknowledges that Laertes is seeking revenge and he understands him as a fellow avenger. "That to Laertes I forgot myself, For by the images of my cause, I see The portraiture of his. I'll court his favours. But sure the bravery of his grief did put me Into a towering passion" (Act 5 Scene 2 Line 76- 80) The second plot, which is the sub-plot of the play, is with relation to Laertes who wants to seek revenge for the death of his father and sister at the hand of Hamlet. ...read more.

Conclusion

Hamlet experiences a tremendous down fall and recognises that there is satisfaction in getting revenge however, he continues to seek revenge. From a moral standpoint revenge is seen as an immoral act as it is seen as seeking personal justice which is socially unacceptable however, it is also a human instinct which requires a great deal of self control to gainsay . Some people resort to revenge based on the theory of "An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth" which they believe justifies their actions before God. Criminals still use this as a way of defending "honour" today even though seeking your own revenge is illegal. The plot in Hamlet draws us in to the play, which allows the reader to think deeply about the issues that have been raised about morality as the play questions moral goodness. This is where Hamlet comes face to face with the fact that we as humans are all going to die regardless of wealth or class. Although Hamlet was set in the Elizabethan era, the issues raised in this essay are still relevant to a contemporary audience. The issues were as relevant then as they are today. Natalie Williams 1 ...read more.

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