Theme of revenge in Shakespeare's Hamlet

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The Theme of Revenge in Shakespeare's Hamlet

The Play Hamlet by William Shakespeare revolves around a constant need for vengeance; all beginning with the murder of Hamlet's father, who is killed before the play ever begins. The type of justice that seems to be prevalent here is and eye for and eye mentality, where killers must be killed. The plot twists and turns as people continually try to manipulate each other as a means to an end. Unfortunately for the characters involved in this complex circle of revenge, they become so caught up in their plans and schemes that they end up on a crash course for disaster. The play ends with the entire royal family of Denmark in ruin.

The play begins with the appearance of Hamlet's deceased father appearing as a ghost. Hamlet speaks to him and learns of his murder at the hands of his own uncle, Claudius, who is now married to his mother.

The ghost cannot rest in peace until he has closure from his murder, which would require the murder of his murderer. Hamlet becomes his tool with which to extract his revenge. Hamlet however does not immediately extract this vengeance on his uncle, but rather waits until he is certain in his own mind that what the ghost has told him is true. In the process of gathering his evidence he kills Polonius, a loyal family servant. He also alerts Claudius to the fact that he knows the truth about how his father died. Claudius, in the interest of preserving his own life, devises a plan where he uses Polonius' son Laertes to kill Hamlet by offering him a chance to avenge the death of his father.

Throughout this play it seems that Hamlet is quite intelligent. He devises a scheme to...