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Righteousness of Revenge

What does Shakespeare say about the righteousness of revenge? In the play, Hamlet, Shakespeare uses different kinds of plots. The main plot is the righteousness of revenge. This element is used to discuss morals and immoral. Thus, characters wanting revenge on other characters. Shakespeare uses several characters to explain righteousness of revenge. Shakespeare believes in the righteousness of revenge as this is what most of Hamlet is based on. It is questioned by all characters. In the course of the play, Hamlet seeks revenge on his uncle Claudius, and yet dies as well.

Same as Laertes who avenges Hamlet for his father’s death and his sister’s madness, but ends up dying before Hamlet dies. However, Fortinbras wanted revenge on Denmark but did not act upon his actions in an aggressive way. Hamlet, concerns the purging, partly by revenge, of a corrupt society. 1 This shows that revenge can be an immoral act that can transform a one into a savage and selfish person. In short, Claudius committed regicide and now Hamlet wants to do the same, in order to avenge his uncle for his father’s death.

Trying to avenge is father’s death, Hamlet is caught in between the honor code, which he must kill his father’s murderer and his morality that forbids killing another human being. Hamlet’s task is not as simple as killing the king. His, rather, is the most profound kind of revenge imposed upon any hero. 2 Throughout the play, Hamlet’s character is revealed, showing how his morals do not allow him to take action upon his revenge. Shakespeare uses the character of Hamlet to represent righteousness.

Although Hamlet is eager to kill his uncle for what he did to Old Hamlet, he wants to avenge it in a ay that he will not be turning into a beast. Hamlet struggles to revenge his uncle, because he thinks that by doing so, will corrupt and destroy his morality. Hamlet emerges to have a deeply rooted disgust for any thought or action that is immoral, “… for there is nothing good or evil, but thinking makes it so. ” this is the greatest cause for the passage of time before Hamlet attempts to put his revenge into action.

Hamlet had opportunities to kill his Claudius; however he waited for the right moment. Since he wants to avenge Claudius the right way and is a od fearing person, Hamlet wants to make sure that it is not a devil that is trying to trick him “The spirit that I have seen may be the devil: and the devil hath power to assume a pleasing shape… “(II, ii, 596). This shows that he is not only a person that fears god “Angles and ministers of grace defend us! Be thou a spirit of health or goblin damn’d” (I, v, 39) but also did not want to act upon an action that was immoral.

For as mentioned in the previous paragraph, Hamlet despises immoral actions. Shakespeare shows Hamlet’s maturity, and thus Hamlet receives respect for editating on what he must do rather than if he had acted carelessly and killed without thinking. In other words, Hamlet wants to act in a vengeful manner yet with moral act. In Hamlet, Laertes and Hamlet seem to be very similar in disposition of behavior. One would think that the level of similarities would bring them together, however during the course of the play they are seen opposed rather than as compatriot.

Hamlet’s accidental murder of Polonius and his denial of his love to Ophelia, rages Laertes to avenge Hamlet for what he has done to his family. However, in Hamlet, Shakespeare portrays Laertes as a more of an immoral character compare to Hamlet. In the play, Shakespeare uses Laertes to symbolize immorality. The way Laertes avenges Hamlet for killing his father (Polonius) and causing his sister’s madness, leads his death first. “… I’ll not be juggled with; to hell, allegiance! vows, to the blackest devil! Conscience and grace, to the profoundest pit! I dare damnation:… (II, v, 128) according to this book, Laertes is willing to shed his blood for people to drink, he is willing to sacrifice himself in rder to avenge Hamlet for his father’s death, Polonius, and his sister’s madness, that Hamlet caused. Compared to Hamlet, the idea of not avenging Polonius’s death and his sister “… driven into desperate terms… ” (IV, vii, 26) is unthinkable to Laertes. He is driven by his anger and can see no other option than to kill Hamlet. Laertes will avenge Hamlet for his father, without foreseeing the horror of justice, and revenging his family’s down fall not knowing well the effects he will receive for murder.

Fortinbras, prince of Norway and son of the late King Fortinbras, King Fortibras was killed by Old Hamlet, Hamlet’s father and lost all his lands to him. There just like Hamlet and Laertes, Fortibras is put in the same situation where he wants to avenge his father’s death. His revenge is to take over Denmark and regain the lands of Norway that were lost to Denmark. In the beginning of the play, Fortibras is introduced as a character with material intentions towards Denmark, “So by his father lost; and this I take it is the main motive of our preparations. (Act 1, Scene 1, 104-105). This shows the courage Fortinbras has to take up arms against a country that had recently defeated his own. However, Fortibras seek revenge in the way that wins the crown and throne of Denmark without sacrificing his men or taking action in a violent way “But I do prophesy the’election lights on Fortibras, he has my dying voice” (V, ii, 349). Here Shakespeare, uses Fortinbras in the play, as a representation of righteousness of revenge in a way that sometimes revenge comes on its on.

Also he use him to represent revenge in the way that it is not necessary o act to it Shakespeare tends to use different characters to represent the righteousness of revenge in a way that will make the audience or readers think of revenge both ways, moral and immoral. Hamlet, Laertes, and Fortinbras are three young men who are placed in similar circumstances, that is, to avenge their father’s deaths. Shakespeare believes in the righteousness of revenge. Therefore Shakespeare believes in righteousness of revenge and that revenge can be a moral and an immoral act, in certain circumstances.

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