Revenge in Hamlet

An analysis of the theme of revenge in William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, contemplating the various aphorisms Shakespeare considers regarding human nature.

This paper discusses how William Shakespeare?s version of Hamlet is one of the most well known revenge tragedies ever written and how it is still widely admired today. It considers how Shakespeare represents the pyschomacia an avenger must undertake when contemplating murder. It also examines how he manages to represent the god fearing opinion of the Elizabethan audience with Hamlet?s vacillation and his fright of God?s condemnation as well as the modern audience of today with Claudius?s eventual murder.
The main exploration of Hamlet’s revenge is in the soliloquies in the play. Here the audience gets to see past Hamlet’s antic disposition and into the bewildered mind of a confused avenger. Hamlet’s cerebration causes him to turn his raging emotional turmoil into unequivocal action Yet I like a John a dreams. Hamlet asks an actor to deliver a Pyrrhus speech to summon up his courage but all he can do is like a whore unpack my heart with words. Hamlet’s vacillation between the classical and Christian attitudes to revenge display how complex the action is. He wishes to live vicariously through a hero like Pyrrhus but fears God’s condemnation if he commits the act. The Elizabethan audience would frown upon the act of revenge and the modern audience would have a more mixed reaction.

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