March 26th, 2013
Question Number One
The question “Does Shakespeare ultimately believe that revenge is an acceptable action?” suggests that many of the main characters—both protagonists and antagonists—are motivated by revenge to the point where it is fatal. In other words, Shakespeare creates a deep revenge tragedy with Hamlet and it is up to the reader to see if the revenge enacted by some of the characters is justified or not. In my opinion, Shakespeare did not think revenge was an acceptable action in the play. Examples to support my viewpoint are pervasive throughout the text of Hamlet.
To start off, three characters who are motivated by revenge in the play would be Hamlet’s revenge to kill Claudius, Laertes exacting revenge on Hamlet for killing Polonius, and Fortinbras plotting revenge to get his land back. Each of these three characters plots revenge because they feel that there have been many injustices against either them or someone close to them. For each of these three characters, exacting revenge isn’t always successful, with the exception of Fortinbras, who arguably is the only character to have gotten a benefit from exacting revenge.
It is interesting to note that for each of the main characters that exact revenge, none are committed to in. Throughout the play, Hamlet is unable to avenge his father’s death even when he has the chance moves the plot ultimately to the deaths of Polonius, Laertes, Ophelia, Gertrude, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, all of whom are because Hamlet was unable to avenge his father’s death in time. For example, Hamlet is extremely skeptical of the ghost saying that he is King Hamlet and that he was killed by Claudius and because of this, Hamlet sets out to prove that this ghost isn’t a demon. However, as seen in Act 3 Scene 2, Hamlet organizing a play to see if Claudius is guilty does delay Hamlet’s revenge quite substantially, seeing that this drives the plot even further, with...