Hamlet – Revenge and Betrayal Essay

Hamlet remains timeless in its appeal to audiences today. In the context of your critical study, does this statement resonate with your own interpretation of hamlet?

When a person seeks revenge, they stop for no obstacles until this vengeance has been reached. When the vengeance is fuelled by anger, it drives the seeker of revenge to a point of no boundaries and can often be the response of deceit or betrayal. In William Shakespeare’s tragedy-play “Hamlet”, this idea of revenge is conveyed to be very apparent, which to this day reflects a timeless response of anger and deceitful actions.

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In Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet, the idea of revenge is seen as the central motive in which the character Hamlet possesses, in which all other ideas or concepts stem from.

The play Hamlet tells the story of how the main character, Hamlet, is approached by the Ghost of his father, the late king of Denmark, telling him the events of his murder committed by his own brother (Claudius) in order to claim the throne.

The Ghost asks Hamlet to “Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder” (Act 1, Scene 5), which Hamlet responds by saying “Haste me to know ’t, that I, with wings as swift as meditation or the thoughts of love, may sweep to my revenge”. The irony with this is that later on in the play Hamlet procrastinates taking revenge on his uncle, Claudius, because he is uncertain that he actually committed this crime. Shakespeare uses this idea of irony to portray how Hamlet is not truly revengeful because of his lack in belief of the ghost. However, although Hamlet does not act quickly in his revengeful plot because of this uncertainty, he is determined to find an answer on whether the Ghost is right or wrong because of the anger he feels towards Claudius. In Act 5, Scene 2, Hamlet speak to Horatio expressing the built-up anger he feels towards Claudius stating “Does it not, think thee, stand me now upon—He that hath killed my king and whored my mother, Popped in between th’ election and my hopes, Thrown out his angle for my proper life”. The use of Rhetorical Question shows how Hamlet knows there is nothing in the way of his plot to kill Claudius now, because of the acts he caused towards him, and that his plan of revenge is unstoppable. With this, Hamlet remains timeless In its appeal to audiences today due to the relatable concept of revenge which the play is based on. The act of Betrayal by a person proves that they are willing to destruct the trust in a
relationship in order to attain their own needs.

These actions of betrayal or deceit are what fuel and result in further revengeful events. In the play Hamlet, betrayal between characters is a commonality and shows the constant deceit and lies the characters portray against each other. The first act of betrayal in the play is Claudius’ murder of his brother, the king, in order to claim his wife and throne. When the Hamlet first meets the ghost, he is told “Thus was I, sleeping, by a brother’s hand Of life, Of crown, Of queen at once dispatched, Cut off even in the blossoms of my sin,”(Act 1, Scene 5). Shakespeare uses Anaphora with the word “Of” in this quote to clearly show what the former king was robbed of in the act of Claudius’ betrayal. In response to this, Claudius proves that he was willing the murder his own blood to reach his own desire of being the king of Denmark. Claudius’ “right-hand man”, Polonius, is just as betraying as Claudius is. As an offside to the play’s storyline, Polonius has plans on betraying his own son in a plot to slander him in order to find if he has committed bad deeds. “Marry, sir, here’s my drift: (And I believe it is a fetch of wit) You, laying these slight sullies on my son As ’twere a thing a little soiled i’ th’ working—Mark you, your party in converse, him you would sound, Having ever seen in the prenominate crimes the youth you breathe of guilty, be assured”(Act 2, Scene 1).

These hypocritical actions show how untrusting, deceitful and corrupted Polonius really is, and how he is willing to betray his own family because of this personality he portrays. Polonius’ plot contrasts similarly with Hamlet’s plot to set up Claudius in proving his guilt in murdering the king. Hamlet says to Horatio “There is a play tonight before the king. One scene of it comes near the circumstance which I have told thee of my father’s death.I prithee, when thou seest that act afoot, even with the very comment of thy soul observe mine uncle. If his occulted guilt”(Act 3 , Scene 2), which shows how, like Polonius with regards to Laertes, Hamlet is trying to set the king up to prove his guilt of the deceitful actions he made. This is significant because Hamlet’s betrayal towards Claudius is because of the betrayal he committed towards Hamlet’s father, which in turn, was the initial destruction of the trust in any relationship they may have once had. This idea of Betrayal within hamlet is considered a timeless foundation point for most revengeful responses or destroyed relationships. In conclusion, William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet remains timeless in its appeal to audiences today due to it’s ever-lasting concepts which are still considered relatable to the present day. The actions of Betrayal and Revenge within the play reflect similar reactions of those involved to this day, which in result makes the play of Hamlet so appealing.

Cite this Hamlet – Revenge and Betrayal Essay

Hamlet – Revenge and Betrayal Essay. (2016, Aug 08). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/hamlet-revenge-and-betrayal/

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