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Hamlet Research Paper

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The Revenge Amongst the Characters of Hamlet

"But that the dread of something after death, The undiscover'd country, from whose bourn No traveler returns, puzzles the will, And makes us rather bear those ills we have, Than fly to others that we know not of? Thus conscience does make cowards of us all, and thus the native hue of resolution is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought"(Shakespeare pg.124). Revenge causes one to act blindly through anger, rather than through reason. It is based on the principle of an eye for an eye, but this principle is not always an intelligent theory to live by. Fortinbras, Laertes, and Hamlet were all looking to avenge the deaths of their fathers. They all act on emotion, and this leads to the downfall of two, and the rise to power of one. Since heads of the three major families were each murdered, the eldest sons of these families swore vengeance, and two of the three sons died while testing their acts of vengeance. This is the lesson that each must learn in order to realize that revenge always the right choice, when someone disrespects your family or yourself.

The bet of a life and land, which would be given up after the fencing match of old Fortinbras' and old, Hamlet ends in Fortinbras' death. Young Fortinbras is the first one of many in the plot of revenge, enraged by the death of his father, he thinks that the only way to get revenge is to go and overtake Hamlet's territory. So as he felt that way, he assembles a rebel army to take the lands and bestow as much damage as possible. Horatio, Hamlet's best friend, tells Hamlet of what Fortinbras is about to do, "As it doth well appear unto our state, but to recover of us by strong hand and terms compulsatory, those foresaid lands so by his father lost..." (Shakespeare pg.10). Claudius sends two messengers, Cornelius and Voltemand, to Norway in hopes of persuading the new King of Norway. Fortinbras' uncle hears of this stupidity of his nephew and stops him in his tracks, to prevent a full out war from occurring. So Fortinbras promises his uncle that he will not invade Denmark and will instead use his aggression on Poland. "This is the use of Fortinbras expressing his anger but not using it in a way which could harm his country, and compensating by allowing him to express himself" (Bloom pg 49). Fortinbras' uncle may have saved his life right there because he very well could have been killed in his attack against Denmark this also saves a lot of heartache between the two countries. This also shows that Fortinbras is a very strong character, he assembles his army he gets ready to avenge his father but when he is told to think twice, he does.

Oooh, Ahhh, is heard while the watchmen are at point. They look for the strange sound and nothing is thought of it except that it was a ghost. Marcellus one of guards hints that this may reveal something very big as he states, "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark" (Shakespeare pg 124). Although deeply sorrowed by his father's death, Hamlet did not consider payback as an option until he meets with the lost of his father. His ghost tells him that he has been killed unjustly and with his rights still on his soul. "One moment he pretends he is too cowardly to perform the deed, at another he questions the truthfulness of the ghost" (McConnell pg 157). The ghost then tells Hamlet, "to revenge his foul and most unnatural murder" (Shakespeare pg.124). However, upon his father's command, Hamlet reluctantly swears to retaliate against Claudius. Hamlet does this not because he wants to, but because his father makes it clear that it is his duty as a son. Hamlet promises to prove his love and duty by killing Claudius. Hamlet is very unsure of himself though he needs time to think things over and let things settle in his mind. But Hamlet then changes and reveals his anger and disgust in thinking why would he not avenge his father that loved him so much. To display this he says, "why, what an ass am I! This is most brave, that I, the son of a dear father murdered, prompted to my revenge by heaven and hell, must like a whore, unpack my heart with words and fall a-cursing like a very drab" (Shakespeare pg 118). Hamlet still is very hesitant though he really doesn't want to rush into it he wants the absolute truth. So to do this he sets up some arrangements as he asks to watch a play and the actors come to his castle to put it on. As the actors were at the castle Hamlet talks to one of them in private and asks them to put on a play called "The Murder of Gonzaga". Hamlet knows of this play and knows that there is a murder in the play much resembling the murder of his father. Hamlet says, "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."(Shakespeare pg 118). Claudius goes to see the



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