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Hamlet and revenge

In Shakespeare’s play, the protagonist, Hamlet, is faced with the mission of avenging his father. He decides to act mad as part of his plan to kill Claudius and avenge his father. As the plot of the play rises, his madness becomes more and more believable. The readers know that Hamlet is acting mad because of the soliloquies said by him.

Hamlet plays mad because it helps work his plan without any character becoming suspicious. This is first mentioned when he asks Horatio and Marcellus not to make comment to his “antic disposition (1.5.192).” As Hamlet acts mad, this allows him to talk to everyone else that is not in a manner of a prince. When Hamlet talks to other character, he sometimes makes fun of them, and talks to them in a manner a prince wouldn’t. Although his acting backfires during his speech to Gertrude, Hamlet is able to severely criticize her for her actions because she thinks he is insane. During the play he also makes many sexual references and even makes sexual remarks towards Ophelia such as “That’s a fair thought to lie between maids’ legs (3.2.125).” His convincing insanity act gives him the chance to release some anger upon Ophelia for abandoning him.

Upon Polonius deciding to “take leave” of Hamlet, Hamlet replies, “You cannot, take from me anything that I will more willingly part withal (2.2.233).” Another example of Hamlet’s madness is when he blames Youssef 2 his madness for killing Polonius. If he was actually mad, would he be able to know that he is mad and consciously know what he is doing is wrong and mad. The way Hamlet “controls” his madness by redirecting attention from his plan and blames the fact that he is insane because of his father’s death. This allows only himself to know what he is truly thinking, does not require him to answer any questions as to why he might be acting strange, and allows him to continue to plan his assault on Claudius. His plan to maintain an appearance of a madman is a smart one, and the fact that he does a good job in his portrayal only makes him more clever, not more insane.

On the other hand, Hamlet acts perfectly sane when acting insane is unnecessary. When he talks to Horatio about watching Claudius for signs of guilt during the play, he says “Give him heedful note, for I mine eyes will rivet his face, and, after, we will both our judgments join in censure of his seeming (3.2.87).” His words to Horatio are those of a sane man. Horatio is one of the few people to whom he does not need to prove he is “insane,” and as such, he does not try. Also, when he is explaining to the players how to act, he is surprisingly organized and natural sounding. For example, he asks “You could, for a need, study a speech of some dozen or sixteen lines, which I would set Youssef 3 down and insert in ‘t, could you not (2.2.565)?” His question is direct and simple as all his instructions are, and it seems that the player not only understands completely, but also is comfortable with Hamlet and what he asks. It is much more plausible that a sane man could play an insane one, than an insane man could play a sane one, and so reason would deem Hamlet sensible.

Additional proof that Hamlet must be sane is that even in his “madness” he is clever in his speech, and has a full understanding of the situations around him. He plays his madman character almost too well, and each phrase he utters appears to be an attempt towards conveying his madness or confusing his adversaries. Not one of his remarks, although said with hidden meanings, made to Claudius for example, is a normal statement that would not be considered insane. When he talks to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, not only is Hamlet clever enough to realize their true purpose for visiting, he tells them he is not really mad – in a manner that would be considered insane! “I am but mad north-north-west. When the wind is southerly, I know a hawk from a handsaw.” (2.2.401). Hamlet is able to toy with his two friends through his illusory madness and, thus, free from their questioning, able to maintain the secrecy of his thoughts and goals.

Later, he is even able to have them killed in his place using his father’s seal, through the method cunning for even a sane man, let alone an insane one. In fact, Hamlet, in the same conversation with Polonius mentioned above, is so creative in his responses made to convey a countenance of madness that Polonius remarks on their ingenuity. “Though this be madness, yet there is method in’t (2.2.223).” Hamlet’s wit and role-playing of a madman combine to make too witty of an exaggerated madman, for him to actually be insane.

Youssef

Most importantly, Hamlet does not think as a person who is mad would. When he sees Claudius praying he thinks very logically, and realizes that he will not attain full revenge if he kills Claudius and sends him to heaven. “Now might I do it, now he is a-praying, and now I’ll do’t. And so he goes to heaven, and so am I revenged…A villain kills my father, and for that I, his sole son, do this same villain send to heaven (3.3.77).” His thoughts to himself are common sense, follow a logical Youssef 5 progression, and are in no way jumbled or erratic in nature. He is a sane man acting only for the audience around him. In each of his soliloquies, he thinks through the same inner debate a sane man would. For instance, he realizes that his father’s ghost may have been a devil in disguise and so he plans to watch the king during the play he has engineered for his own means. “I’ll have these players play something like the murder of my father before mine uncle. I’ll observe his looks; I’ll tent him to the quick…The spirit that I have seen may be a devil…(2.2.623).” Hamlet even goes further to ask Horatio to watch with him in case he is biased. A madman would not have had the foresight, reason, or possibly even care, to think in this very organized fashion. Even when questioning whether “to be or not to be (3.1.64)” Hamlet is sane in his thinking. He measures the “pros and cons” of his situation, and although at this point he appears mad to most everyone, he is most definitely sane in thought.

Hamlet can be considered no worse than a determined and possibly single-minded man, who was made so by his father’s murder and his request for revenge. His madness is maintained because it allows him to continue with his plans. This madness is not, however, sustained when guard is unnecessary. Maybe Hamlet thought too much, but he thought as a sane man would. He commits no actions without reason, and he is far too astute and organized to be proclaimed mentally unstable. Hamlet’s portrayal of a madman is also very complex because it allows not only his points to be made, but in a believably insane way, which contrasts greatly with the expected ramblings of a truly insane person.

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StudyBoss » Entertainment » Hamlet and revenge

Hamlet And Revenge

Revenge has caused the downfall of many a person. Its consuming nature causes one to act recklessly through anger rather than reason. Revenge is an emotion easily rationalised; one turn deserves another. However, this is a very dangerous theory to live by. Throughout Hamlet, revenge is a dominant theme. Fortinbras, Laertes, and Hamlet all seek to avenge the deaths of their fathers. But in so doing, all three rely more on emotion than thought, and take a very big gamble, a gamble which eventually leads to the downfall and death of all but one of them.

King Fortinbras was slain by King Hamlet in a sword battle. This entitled King Hamlet to the land that was possessed by Fortinbras because it was written in a seal’d compact. “…our valiant Hamlet-for so this side of our known world esteem’d him-did slay this Fortinbras. ” Young Fortinbras was enraged by his father’s murder and sought revenge against Denmark. He wanted to reclaim the land that had been lost to Denmark when his father was killed.

Now sir, young Fortinbras…as it doth well appear unto our state-but to recover of us, by strong hand and terms compulsative, those foresaid lands so by his father lost…” Claudius becomes aware of Fortinbras’ plans, and in an evasive move, sends a message to the new King of Norway, Fortinbras’ uncle. The king forbade Fortinbras to wage an attack against Denmark, and instead suggested he attack the Poles to vent his anger. Fortinbras agreed to the plan, but had no intentions of following it.

Polonius was King Hamlet’s advisor and the father of Ophelia and Laertes, both of whom respected and loved him, despite his arrogant demeanour. Young Hamlet murdered Polonius accidentally, thinking him to be the king eves dropping on a conversation between Hamlet and his mother. “How now! A rat? Dead, for a ducat, dead! ” Laertes returned home immediately after hearing of his father’s death and confronted the King, accusing him of the murder of his father.

Once Claudius told Laertes that Hamlet was responsible for his father’s death, he and Claudius concoct a scheme to kill Hamlet using a poison tipped sword. Hamlet, thou art slain…The treacherous instrument is in thy, unbated and envenom’d…” Hamlet does indeed die as a result of wounds inflicted by Laertes, but it is the poisoned tipped sword that causes the demise of Laertes as well. King Hamlet ruled Denmark and was the father of Hamlet. He had been slain by Claudius, his brother, who had since laid claim to the throne. While Hamlet mourned, he encountered the ghost of his father, who made him aware that his death had in fact been murder, and the guilt laid squarely on the shoulders of Denmark’s new King. “The serpent that did sting thy father’s life now wears his crown.

Astonished, Hamlet swore vengeance for his father’s death. His efforts to prove his uncle’s guilt are hindered by his indecisiveness until he finally kills Claudius, while he himself is dying of poisoned wounds caused him by Laertes in their duel. “The point envenomed too! Then venom, to thy work…Here, thou incestuous, murderous, damned Dane, drink off this potion,-is thy union here? Follow my mother. ” This left the Claudius dead, and King Hamlet’s death avenged, but at a grave cost to Hamlet. It is the lack of thought used in exacting their revenge which led to the deaths of both Laertes and Hamlet.

The plan Laertes devised with Claudius to kill Hamlet with the poisoned tipped sword would have been successful, had they thought that the sword might be used against them, and panned accordingly. Laertes himself is at fault for his death for believing Claudius’ accusations that Hamlet had murdered his father. If not for his own blind rage, Laertes may have listened to Hamlet’s explanation and apology for the murder of Polonius and could have avioded his early demise. “I am satisfied in nature…to my revenge…I stand aloof…and will no reconcilement…But till that time, I do receive your offer’d love like love, and will not wrong it.

Instead he chose to fight Hamlet. He and wounds him fatally with the poisoned tipped sword, however, their swords become switched, and Hamlet inflicts the same wounds on with as those that had been inflicted on him. It is by these wounds that Laertes dies. Hamlet’s opportunities to kill his uncle were plentiful. However, his rage over-rided his intelligence and he waited; hoping to catch Claudius at a time he was committing an act of sin to strike him down, forcing him to spend eternity in a world of eternal damnation.

Now might I do it pat, now he is praying;…A villain kills my father; and for that, I, his sole son, do this same villain send to heaven. ” Unfortunately for Hamlet, the only sin Claudius commits is the poisoning of his own nephew. Young Fortinbras was the only character in the play who exacted his revenge without dying. He regains his fathers land, without use of violence, simply because Hamlet, Laertes and Claudius had all killed each other. His patience saved his life; Hamlet and Laertes’ haste had caused their deaths. Hamlet named him new ruler of Denmark before he dies, making him the new King of Denmark.

A fitting end to Fortinbras’ intelligent, thought out plan to exact revenge for his father’s death. Revenge can be an invaluable tool to amass success and wealth, or it can be a fatal flaw that guarantees immanent death. It is a dangerous emotion, which can easily consume, however it can be used to great satisfaction. Perhaps it is these qualities that lead us to allow ourselves to act on its impulses. The lessons learned by both Hamlet and Laertes are something that should be remembered. Revenge is not to be taken lightly. When acted on this is one emotion that can definitely come back to haunt you.

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