Many of the characters in Shakespeare’s Hamlet have an unfortunate death from the results of their entire attempt to seek revenge. First Laertes ends up killing himself and Hamlet because the death of his father Polonius has maddened him, and convinced him he need to avenge Hamlet for his father. Secondly, Fortinbras is convinced he needs to take action to gain back the land that his father lost in the battle he was killed in with King Hamlet. Last, Hamlet is the one to blame for all who were woefully killed in the process of animus acts because of his procrastination to kill the murderer of his father; Claudius.
Because all of these men are angered from the death of their father and feel the need to get repayment from their murderers, Hamlet is primarily a tragedy of revenge. To begin with, Hamlet is essentially a catastrophe of revenge due to Laertes acts of anger after his father’s death. After Laertes hears of his father’s death, he travels back to Denmark immediately. At first Laertes assumes that the new king Claudius partook in the killing of his father, but later finds out the true person to blame is young Hamlet.
As the king and Laertes sit down to talk, he explains to the king “Let come what comes, only I’ll be reveng’d / most thoroughly for my father” (IV. vii. 26). This is only the beginning to his talk about how he is going to avenge the man that killed his father. Laertes goes on to explain to the king just how far he would go to get repayment for the loss of his father “to cut his throat i’th church” (IV. vii. 26). For Laertes to say that he would kill a man in a church is very serious because God plays a very large role in all of their lives, and murder is already a sin, but to kill a man in a church just makes it even worse.
Laertes and Claudius end up planning a very cruel way to kill Hamlet, they are going to trick Hamlet into having a duel with Laertes since he has always been jealous of Laertes skills in duelling. To ensure the death of Hamlet, Laertes is going to poison the tip of his sword so that even if he scratches Hamlet, he will die. Thus, proving Hamlet is overall a tragedy of revenge. Secondly, Fortinbras determined mind to get back the land his father lost in battle with King Hamlet contributes to the predominant theme of tragic revenge.
Fortinbras father was killed in battle fighting with King Hamlet, and lost the land that Denmark had gained. Old Fortinbras brother then took the throne, and told Young Fortinbras the he mustn’t try to get back the land that was lost. Then out of anger of the loss of his father. Fortinbras decides to take action to get the land back, so he and his soldiers peacefully travels into Denmark to discuss the land he wishes to regain. Fortinbras informs his captain soldier what to say to Hamlet when they encounter him “Tell him that by his license Fortinbras / craves the conveyance of a promis’d march / over his kingdom.You know the rendezvous” (IV. iv. 2-4).
Fortinbras believes that it is his duty to take back the land, and the only way to do that is take it from Hamlet because Hamlets father is the one who killed his father. Fortinbras captain approaches Hamlet and informs him the reason for their visit “We go to gain a little patch of ground / that hath in it no profit but the name” (IV. iv. 18-19). This quote tells us that Fortinbras does not want to take the land to benefit him and his people, but to gain back the land that was once his fathers to uphold his name.
The only way to keep his fathers name around in Fortinbras mind is to avenge Hamlet by taking the land from him. In conclusion, Fortinbras persistent mind to avenge for the land makes Hamlet mainly a calamity of revenge. Last, but certainly not least Hamlets procrastination to get revenge for his fathers murder by killing Claudius plays the biggest part in making Hamlet primarily a tragedy of revenge. Hamlets big misadventure on his way to seek vengeance starts when he meets with the ghost of his father King Hamlet.
The ghost explains how his father was killed then orders Hamlet to “Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder” (I. v. 25). After Hamlet gets these orders from the ghost he then sets his plans of revenge into gear. But Hamlet keeps stalling at every chance he gets to avenge Claudius, in the end just causing more of a catastrophe. After Hamlets encounter with Young Fortinbras he realizes that he must take action just at Fortinbras is doing, Hamlet then speaks to himself “My thoughts be bloody or nothing worth” (IV. iv. 66).
From here on the only thing on Hamlets mind is how he is going to kill Claudius, but other things such as his battle with Laertes gets in the way. Before Hamlet is finally able to put an end to this crazy plan to avenge his uncle, he is poisoned by Laertes sword during their duel. But luckily for Hamlet he was able to avenge Claudius before his own death, thus completing the task of avengement his father’s ghost has assigned to him. In conclusion Hamlets delay to kill Claudius makes Hamlet essentially a tragedy of revenge.
In the end, Hamlet is predominantly a tragic misadventure of revenge. Laertes clouded mind full of anger causing him to be blind to see the outcome of his acts, Fortinbras determination to get back his lost land and uphold his father’s name, and Hamlet stalling at every opening to kill Claudius all contribute to the theme of tragic revenge. All of these men have something in common; they were all blinded by the need to avenge the murderer of their father, thus causing more and more trouble for each of them to achieve that goal.