Is "Hamlet" primarily a tragedy of revenge

Essay by johncooldude June 2006

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In the play "Hamlet" written by William Shakespeare, is a play that revolves around tragedy and revenge and this revenge leads to Hamlets death and people that were close to him. Hamlet's pursuit to revenge his father's death blinded his morals and intelligence and lead to his untimely death. It can be argued that Hamlet is the most complex character Shakespeare has ever written, there has been many debates revolving around his insanity (real or fake). The progression of Hamlet is quite astonishing he begins as a young prince with the world in his hand, to a lunatic who becomes obsessed with revenging his fathers death. The revenge theme is acted upon throughout the novel and is essentially what drives Hamlet. He believes that Claudius has killed his father (we later find out this is true), this begins his investigating. We can be easily fooled by Hamlets insanity but there is intelligence behind his every move.

Revenge has essentially ruined his life. Revenge has made his relationships with the two women he loved gone sour (Gertrude and Ophelia) as well lead to their death. It has even made him question his own existence. His antics lead to the death of Polonius who was innocent, and his pursue for revenge leads to his mothers death. Revenge has the ability to take over ones ability to make proper judgment.

We have already established that revenge has made Hamlet act on anger rather then reasoning, he is of course not the only one. There were three fathers murdered in the play Fortinbra, Polonius and of course Hamlet. All of the sons have one thing in common revenge. The only one who does not die is young Fortinbra, Laertes and Hamlet killed each other. Hamlet was acting on impulse because of the vision...