The Effects of the Pursuit of Revenge on the Avenger in Hamlet

`The pursuit of revenge corrupts the avenger in `Hamlet'.'
How far and in what ways do you agree with this view of the play?

Revenge plays a central role in the Shakespearian tragedy, `Hamlet'. Causing the characters to act irrationally, emotionally and impulsively, it is strongly influenced by the new testament principle of an eye for an eye. Hamlet, Fortinbras and Laertes all seek retribution for the death of their fathers, acting irrationally in their pursuit for revenge. The notion that the pursuit of revenge corrupts Hamlet does have truth to it, as it does alter his character significantly throughout the course of the play in several ways. Most noticeable is how it affects his ...

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As with all revenge-tragedies, the story of `Hamlet' does not unfold unprovoked; a fatally flawed protagonist is given a motive to seek revenge. In Hamlet's case, it is the murder of his father; who's ghost gives him both motive and justification to act against Claudius, telling Hamlet `the serpent that did sting thy father's life now wears his crown.' By referring to Claudius as a serpent, he is referencing the biblical story of the garden of Eden, where a serpent tempted Eve, resulting in all the suffering and evil that has plagued mankind ever since. Spurring Hamlet on further, it suggests to him that by killing Claudius not only would he be avenging his father, but he would be doing a favour of retribution for all. Despite the mere action of his father telling Hamlet to `revenge his foul and most unnatural murder' obviously initiating Hamlet's mission, so did his longing for everything else Claudius robbed Hamlet of by taking his father. We are given the impression ...

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church, as he is unwilling to murder Claudius whilst he is praying. It is strongly suggested however that this is because he believes Claudius should confess, suffer and repent more before he is killed, as Hamlet says he must first wait until Claudius is in ` a more horrid hent' to murder him - not in a church speaking with God. As Claudius is praying, Hamlet concludes that he must be in a state of grace and therefore `a goes to heaven; and so am I reveng'd'. He would have succeeded in the physical act of avenging his father, but not the spiritual act. Claudius would not suffer like his father has in the afterlife - `confin'd' in purgatory until the `foul crimes...are burnt and purg'd ...

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The Effects of the Pursuit of Revenge on the Avenger in Hamlet. (2018, February 4). Retrieved January 22, 2019, from
"The Effects of the Pursuit of Revenge on the Avenger in Hamlet.", 4 Feb. 2018. Web. 22 Jan. 2019. <>
"The Effects of the Pursuit of Revenge on the Avenger in Hamlet." February 4, 2018. Accessed January 22, 2019.
"The Effects of the Pursuit of Revenge on the Avenger in Hamlet." February 4, 2018. Accessed January 22, 2019.
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Added: 2/4/2018 01:36:23 PM
Submitted By: cdonnelly
Category: Shakespeare
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 2259
Pages: 9

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