Hamlet’s Troubles With Revenge Argumentative Essay Examples
Revenge was a common theme in Elizabethan theatre (Bradbrook 3). In Hamlet,Shakespeare explores the theme of revenge and how hard and complex the process of revenge can be (Royal Shakespeare Company 2). Shakespeare’s exploration of the theme follows in the general format of revenge tragedies at the time, including the scene setting, among others (Koumakpai 71).
Shakespeare presents revenge as such a complex process and not as easy as one may think; it is not about deciding and doing. In Act I Scene 5, Hamlet promises his father he will revenge his murder. But even then, he laments the responsibility that his father’s murder has placed on his shoulders. He almost seems to regret that he made that promise to his father. First, there is the question of deciding how to go about it. It is not just a matter of killing but also of getting away with it. Besides, revenge involves inflicting the same pain as that inflicted upon oneself. In other words, Hamlet must think about getting away with murder.
In his reflections, Hamlet takes time to fulfill his revenge-promise to his father. While he is with his mother, his father’s ghost visits him, reminding him that he has not fulfilled his promise of revenge. Hamlet is under a lot of pressure. But he still continues to reflect longer, and after his meeting with Fortinbras, he marvels about humanity and death. It amazes him that people can easily kills one another over little issues or things like “little patch of land”. Hamlet seems to believe that murders should be justified by a bigger reason, like revenging the murder of a father perhaps. But at the bottom of it all, Hamlet is averse to any kind of killing, so that the implied justification of a ‘bigger reason’ is only a forced one- rather than something does ever so willingly.
Through this reflection in Hamlet’s mind, Shakespeare creates a juxtaposition between aspects of human nature, at least in relation to killing and murder. There are two groups of people: those who can kill easily over trivial things, and those who find it hard to kill even when there is some apparently good excuse or justification for it. An important theme that emerges here is that, perhaps, everyone has the capacity to kill. All they need is the right cue. For some, that cue can be as trivial as a small patch of land. For others, it has to be as big as the murder of a father.
Shakespeare also seems to be telling us something about individual nature. While the capacity to kill may be a human nature, how much that is true for an individual has to do with their own individual personality. Hamlet has trouble committing murder although it is expected of him, or at least if he did, many would understand his reason for doing it.
Hamlet finds that he has to make a conscious decision go on with his revenge. After his meeting with Fortinbras, he decides to put all his thoughts towards trying to be ‘bloody’. It is almost laughable because we know how, even then, he would still have trouble doing it.
Another important question is for whom revenge is done. In other words, for whom does Hamlet want to commit murder? One possibility is that he wants to do it for himself; that he feels the bite of injustice that came with the murder of his father. But another very important possibility is that he is doing it for his father: that he promised and now has to fulfill that promise; that his father expects it of him (such as through his ghost that presses Hamlet to fulfill his promise) ; that his father would revenge his father if he were murdered and his must now show he can do the same; and even that it is what everyone else would do.
Indeed, if Hamlet were to go on and fulfill his promise, it certainly would not be for himself. Time has passed and things have changed. When he made his promise, that was a moment of emotion and the promise came from deep with him; the promise was for himself. But now, after the passage of time, he does not feel the same, so that now he is only doing it for his father’s sake however much he hates just the thought of it. It has changed from the ‘I’ that it was at the moment that he made his promise to the ‘other’ (this ‘other’ being the father and his ghost), and now that he lacks that scathing emotional state that would have made the killing easy (as when he made the promise too his father), he must find another justification for killing his uncle. The search for this justification, according to Koumakpai (73), is what keeps him waiting. This search may have grown into what Shaw (93) says was depressive illness, what he says delayed his revenge.
Regardless, in the end, perhaps what Shakespeare says, especially through the juxtaposition cited above, that people who find it easy to kill do not need justification for killing. But those who have difficulty killing can still have doubts even if they have what may seem as sound justification- like revenge of a father’s murder. Maybe, at least to this stage, Shakespeare is offering hope for humanity. But the fact that Hamlet finally revenges kills all hope; that obligation may be the only cue it takes for that capacity to kill to come alive. Now, having given in to the ghost of his father, it seems Hamlet is fated to be subject to his father’s ghost forever. When he encounters his father’s ghost the first time, he cries “My fate cries out” (Shakespeare), his fate will most likely cry out forever.
Bradbrook, Muriel C. Themes and Convention of Elizabethan Tragedy. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 1960. Print.
Koumakpai, Taofiki. “Revenge Tragedy in Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Titus
Andronicus”. Revue:du CAMES, 7.1 (2006), 71-78. Print.
Royal Shakespeare Company. Themes in Hamlet. N.d. Web.
Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2003. Print.
Shaw, Brown. “Depressive Illness Delayed Hamlet’s Revenge”. Medical Humanities,
28.2 (2002), 92-96
Please remember that this paper is open-access and other students can use it too.
If you need an original paper created exclusively for you, hire one of our brilliant writers!
- Paper Writer
- Write My Paper For Me
- Paper Writing Help
- Buy A Research Paper
- Cheap Research Papers For Sale
- Pay For A Research Paper
- College Essay Writing Services
- College Essays For Sale
- Write My College Essay
- Pay For An Essay
- Research Paper Editor
- Do My Homework For Me
- Buy College Essays
- Do My Essay For Me
- Write My Essay For Me
- Cheap Essay Writer
- Argumentative Essay Writer
- Buy An Essay
- Essay Writing Help
- College Essay Writing Help
- Custom Essay Writing
- Case Study Writing Services
- Case Study Writing Help
- Essay Writing Service