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I’ll concentrate on the play Hamlet and, in particular, the theme of revenge tragedy. I’ll use a text-based medium because it’s the most efficient at conveying precise and accurate information. The play’s cast appears to be in Denmark, where the play begins with King Hamlet’s death. Claudius, the king’s child, ascends to the throne right away and marries Gertrude, the late king’s wife and mother of Prince Hamlet (Bloom). Prince Hamlet, the play’s protagonist, is summoned to Denmark to attend his father’s funeral. He was in Germany for academic reasons. If he just realized that it’s sometimes easier to let go rather than cling, he’d be happier.
He comes to learn, through the ghost of his father, that Claudius, his uncle is behind the demise of his father. The ghost further tells him to avenge“ so art thou to revenge, when thou shalt hear,” Hamlet now aware of the injustices done to his father becomes determined to get his father’s death avenged, but his process of vengeance only yields tragedy (Bloom).

I have the expectations that Hamlet will avenge his father’s death and take the throne as he is the rightful heir of the kingdom. Nonetheless, the play defies my expectations as Hamlet becomes pre-occupied in many activities which makes him drifts from his role of vengeance and had to self-consciously brings himself back into his position (Zinkin). His decision also to act insanely to conceal his intentions indicates to me that avenging for his father by killing Claudius would be hard to achieve as I first anticipated.

Hamlet is in love with a girl named Ophelia whose father, Polonius, thinks that Hamlet’s insanity is coming from the overwhelming love for Ophelia. He, Polonius and Claudius start spying on the conversation of the Hamlet and Ophelia. Dramatic irony prevails here as I know that Hamlet is just acting insane, but Polonius and Claudius know little of it. However, Hamlet conversation with Ophelia makes me doubt if indeed he is sane and in control of his emotions anymore. In fact, at this point he could not differentiate between talking to other characters and himself (Alexander). What transpires in scene one act four makes me believe he is still in control of himself and his emotions. He brings up a skit which he has constructed it to resemble Claudius murder of his father, to be performed before the king and queen and catch their conscience. From the performance of the skit, Claudius conscience betrays him and this confirms to Hamlet that truly his uncle is the one who murdered his father.

In act three scenes three, an opportunity for Hamlet to kill Claudius and avenge the death of his father present itself when Hamlet sees Claudius praying in the garden. Claudius is using the allusion of “the primal eldest curse” the curse that resulted after Cain killed Abel. The action of killing the king haunts him, and he cannot forgive himself, but he still feels satisfied because of the gain he got (Alexander). He uses the words; rank, cursed hand, possessed, bad mood and to set an evil, which presents how he uses diction. Claudius is not praying, but Hamlet thinks so this present dramatic irony. Hamlet, therefore, procrastinate his decision to kill Claudius because he thinks that killing him at that moment will take him directly to heaven.

Hamlet goes to his mother’s chambers to talk about his father’s death. He is arrogant, rude and commanding to his mother, “come, come, and sit down; you shall not budge.” While in the chamber, he sees a shadow spying on them and without hesitating thought that it was Claudius and stabs the shadow. Unfortunately for him, it was Polonius (Alexander). His failure to organize his thought and actions only leads to more tragedy.

Claudius tells Laertes that Hamlet has killed his father. Laertes vows he would “cut (Hamlets) throat I’ the church.” Laertes in seek of vengeance invites Hamlet in a friendly sword fight, but he had poisoned the blade of his sword. During the fight, Hamlet gets injured, but the poison is slow. Claudius fascinated by this gives him a glass of water to drink but Hamlet refuses and his mother, Gertrude drinks it (Bloom). As they continued their fight, Gertrude dies as the glass was poisoned and Laertes get injured by his sword. He narrates all the events to Hamlet who takes the sword and orders Claudius to drink the poison. All the four of them dies.

It’s disappointing as Hamlet, yes he accomplishes his vengeance, but the loss experience is too much as even he dies. It could have been much better if he could have abandoned his revenge mission as he could still be alive, be with his love Ophelia, his mother and maybe with time become the king. Even the deaths of Polonius and his son Laertes could not have occurred if he had abandoned his vengeance.

Works Cited

Alexander, N. Poison, play, and duel: a study in Hamlet. Taylor & Francis, 1971.

Bloom, H. Hamlet: Poem Unlimited (p. xx156). New York, NY: Riverhead Books, 2003.

Zinkin, L. “Malignant mirroring.” Group Analysis, 16(2) (1983): 113-126.

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