Hamlet & Revenge

January 3, 2017 General Studies

Revenge is defined as “retaliation for an offence or injury-. The offence or injury imposed on Hamlet is the murder of his father by his uncle. .

In one aspect, Hamlet is successful as a play about revenge because it closely follows the dramatic conventions of revenge in Elizabethan theatre. The general elements include a quest for retribution (often at the prompting of the ghost of a loved one), scenes involving real or feigned madness, scenes in graveyards and scenes of death. These actions produce counter-attacks, such as in Hamlet, where the protagonist hesitates to follow the convention, thus producing our time delay. .

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Firstly, Hamlet is obliged to avenge his father’s murder: “if thou didst ever thy dear father love revenge his foul and most unnatural murder-. Using guilt to lure Hamlet into killing Claudius, the Ghost describes Old Hamlet’s murder in detail, therefore influencing Hamlet to hate Claudius passionately as the true horror of the murder is revealed: .

“And in the porches of my ears did pour.

The leperous distilment; whose effect.

Hold such an enmity with blood of man.

That swift as quicksilver it courses through.

The natural gates and alleys of the body,.

And with a sudden vigour it doth posset.

And curd, like eager droppings into milk,.

The thin and wholesome blood. So did it mine.”” I.IV.

Claudius’ usurpation of the crown and Hamlet’s final act of revenge in killing Claudius fulfills the conventions of an Elizabethan revenge tragedy. .

During the play, Hamlet seems to display a complete lack of interest in the crown. He seems more disturbed that his uncle is sleeping with his mother. The shock Hamlet receives on the death of his father and on the remarriage of his mother, activates, as Fluchere tells us, “disquieting interrogations about the peace of the soul, and the revelation of the ghost triggers vicious responses to these-. Fluchere situates Hamlet’s drama “within the raptures of a bruised and isolated perception and according to this perception, Hamlet appears as the quintessence of a moral and metaphysical instability that some associate with modernity-.


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